On 28 and 29 May 2022, 250 attendees from 30 organisations gathered physically and online at the 4th edition of the IMU Humanitarian Conference 2022 which was held in conjunction with the 30th anniversary celebrations of IMU.
Themed “Restoring Humanity: The Whole Society Approach in the Pandemic Era’’ the conference focused on the need for and the importance of multi-sectorial and integrative approach to humanitarian missions to meet humanitarian needs and achieve inclusive and sustainable recovery. This includes the promotion of human welfare, improving lives, reducing suffering and the advancement of social reforms. The conference brought together key experts and champions to the table with exciting discussions on protecting the most vulnerable, mitigating risks of violence and neglect, protecting sustainable development, promoting peace, community building and resilience.
The conference was graced by YBhg Dato’ Dr Mohd Fikri Ujang, Director for Medical Development Division who was representing YB Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Health, Malaysia while the keynote address was made by YBhg Dato’ Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus, President of MERCY Malaysia. The opening ceremony of the conference also saw Prof Abdul Aziz Baba, Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive Officer of IMU; Prof Khoo Suan Phaik, Dean for Community Engagement and Organising Chairperson of the conference, and Prof Nazimah Idris, Medical Director of IMU Healthcare and Chairperson of the Scientific Committee, as well as Senior Management, staff, and students of IMU.
“As a foremost healthcare university, saving lives is our top humanitarian priority. We are also committed to build longer-term and sustainable community that is resilience to the impact. IMU as “Pulse of the Community” is in line with the overall direction of the university’s community engagement, not limited to just providing service and aid to marginalised communities working collaboratively with stakeholders in partnership is key in order to bring about desired changed, with mutual benefits and in the wider perspective, to contribute to a more sustainable world”, said Prof Abdul Aziz.
“There is no successful whole of society approach without a well-coordinated, well-led, well-resourced, integrated and trusted system. There is a need for collaborative works to be seen from the top level down to small villager community level. Multidimensional collaboration is the key to success. Furthermore, the whole society approach should not be applied inter-organisational or between institutions. It is also important within an organisation itself such as integration within our healthcare system. Private sector, civil society and academia like IMU need to be activated and play its roles as a credible policy advocate through research and development to keep the government on track. Today, where are we now? Are we still working together? We still need to continue to work together. The future of integration is the only way to go for humanity”, said YBhg Dato’ Dr Ahmad Faizal Perdaus.
IMU’s action on delivering humanitarian needs was being showcased through IMU Cares – Pulse of the Community video as well as a photo gallery. Thirty notable speakers who are key experts from various organisations had also shared their knowledge and expertise on various topics including the science of humanitarian missions, building resilience, supporting mental health needs and gender-based health.
The conference also saw participation from a variety of notable humanitarian organisations presenting their initiatives through booth exhibition such as MERCY Malaysia, IMAM Response & Relief Team – IMARET, Malaysian Red Crescent, Tzu-Chi Malaysia, The Lost Food Project and Islamic Relief Malaysia.
This year, our future humanitarian leaders from local and international universities were being one of the main spotlights of the event whereby the conference provide a platform via a forum and a debate session for them to discuss and voice out their thoughts on the current humanitarian situation.
Dr Susheela Balasundaram from United Nations Humanitarian Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) delivered the closing plenary with a focus on the current humanitarian needs globally as well as forging humanity with fortitude and compassion. The conference ended with a huge success in raising the awareness, urging the conference attendees to act together to meet humanitarian needs in the future.