Manila, Philippines (23 November 2021) – The Asian Institute of Management (AIM) through its Zuellig School of Development Management (ZSDM) celebrated the inauguration of the Vinod Thomas Scholarship on 9 November 2021. 

The Vinod Thomas Scholarship is the first scholarship specifically for the Executive in Disaster Risk and Crisis Management (EMDRCM) program at ZSDM. It was made possible with the generosity of benefactor Professor Vinod Thomas, PhD, Distinguished Fellow in Development Management, and the joint efforts of Professor Marqueza Reyes, EMDRCM Academic Program Director, Professor Jamil Francisco, Head  of ZSDM, and Jikyeong Kang, AIM President and Dean, who initiated this program. 

During the ceremony, Thomas provided an overview of the scholarship, highlighting the importance of supporting work to help communities overcome risks, threats, and crises. “We are in a world today that is beset by one crisis or another, and the sense is that risk and uncertainty are growing. It’s so important for us at this point to focus for a minute, salute and encourage work that builds resilience, or making a contribution to making this growing danger more understandable and more manageable.” Present during the ceremony were faculty, team members, and students. 

In her message, Kang reiterated her gratitude for the scholarship to support AIM students. “He realized there are a lot of deserving candidates who simply could not afford to enroll in our programs. One of the challenges at AIM is that we have fantastic programs, but just the way AIM operates… it means our operation costs is pretty high… I cannot thank Vinod enough for being so generous and understanding of the challenges of this program.”  

Anna Liza Gaspar is the first awardee of the Vinod Thomas scholarship. Scholars are selected based on their academic merit, professional achievements, and resilience action plan – an application of the student’s EMDRCM knowledge after graduation. Gaspar’s resilience action plan incorporates the Internet of Things to transform rural villages and improve their resilience.

The Zuellig School of Development Management molds next generation of development managers and professionals and change agents at the development organization level, at NGOs, in government, and other organizations. To learn more about the school and our programs, visit