Umar Tuyyab, a 2020 MDP student from Pakistan was recently selected to participate in the K-Water & UNESCO i-WSSM Summer Program at the K-water Academy to learn about various areas of water management. This opportunity was a competitive process in which hundreds of applicants from universities around South Korea were screened and shortlisted. Umar stands out among the fifteen selected candidates. He is a government official who worked as an Assistant Commissioner to the sub-division of Kotli Satttian, District Rawalpindi in Pakistan before joining the KDI School of Public Policy and Management. As an Assistant Commissioner, his primary role was to implement policies in his area of service. Time and time again, he collaborated with international organisations like the Asian Development Bank and World Bank to implement several water management policies.
Umar mentioned that K-Water has collaborated with the government of Pakistan for almost a decade now, having administered projects to improve the quality and supply of water, particularly in the province of Punjab. However, his first interaction with K-Water was in the year 2019 when he visited South Korea as a part of a training program with the organisation. At this point his interest in water management flourished and engaged in deeper learning of the subject. Another motivator was his work experience as an ex-officio Administrator of the sub-division municipality where he often found gaps in the water management that he felt compelled to bridge. Therefore, when he received an email from K-water accepting applications for a curated program, he knew it was his calling. Recalling his experience with the program, he mentions that this one-week (June 29th to July 3rd) program was comprehensive and covered many topics from weather forecasting, data management, quality of water, wetland construction, flood forecasting, water and gender, etc. Field visits were an integral part of his learning and he believes that visiting installations and control units in person provided not only a real life experience, but also many policy ideas for his country.
When questioned about how he plans to use this experience back home he said that as a public officer, he would use it to strengthen the water systems in his area of service, as well as go much beyond that. As his experience and understanding of the water management grew, he aims to build more concrete plans and solutions on the issues surrounding water. He is currently working on his supervised research project as part of his KDI curriculum, based on key lessons his country can take from South Korea’s water systems. He aspires to implement his project as a policy reference for his government back home.
Umar was also selected as one of three special guests for the “K-water Vision Declaration Ceremony,” as a representative of foreign government officials. We are really proud of the representation and recognition he brought to our school and wish him all the best for his future endeavours.