My Experience at AIU
By Ann Evelyn Hillmann Kitalong
I have had a great experience at AIU. I had an opportunity to pursue an advanced degree while continuing my professional work.The uniqueness of AIU is that it was truly driven by me, the student.I could steer the course of my learning in a way that I have never been able to do before.I thank AIU for enabling me to do this. The reasonable cost to pursue my studies was instrumental in my decision to study at AIU. It was reasonable and affordable. My work has been in the field of environmental science from the investigative to the policy level.I rediscovered the connections between the areas I have pursued in my career. I rediscovered that a simple cyclic process with feedback mechanisms is fundamental in biological, social and economic systems and in the Environmental Impact Assessment process. This cyclic process is sustainable.A zero waste policy or cradle to cradle approach is needed in Palau and globally. Roads must be built and maintained with our health in mind to reduce non communicable diseases and increase safety. Tourism that is driven by community well being can lead to a sustainable economy.The players are many and each has a critical role to play in enabling the environmental impact assessment to work as an effective tool towards sustainable development.
The health of this planet depends upon the decisions we make each day. Each choice makes a difference. A balance and harmony within us, our families, our communities and our surroundings is critical for sustainability.The environment is multidimensional and deals with society, economy, culture, health, ecosystems and spirituality.Now, I have a better understanding of why a shared vision is needed to drive sustainable development. I will ask myself the question: Is it sustainable? It’s a loaded question that depends upon many factors- but through my learning process at AIU about business and the economy, I have more confidence that I can answer this question in my work and personal life decisions.
AIU allowed me to develop my skills and adapt my studies to the work I have been doing over the past few decades.I wanted to look at the economic and social aspects of the environmental impact assessment process more closely and develop a better understanding of the business and economic decision making process in relation to environmental impact assessments.I was fortunate to be working with a team on a national sustainable land management policy during my AIU study period. The SLM Policy became a core component of my final chapter that brought together my case studies in a way I did not anticipate at the start of this journey.
My AIU studies have provided me with more insight and left me with more questions. I will continue to seek answers to these new questions in this ever changing world. I realize that not all that we value can be measured. Each investigation leads us closer to the true economic value of our environment.The business environment must be fluid and dynamic to sustainably develop and succeed.
Thank you to all the staff for opening my mind and helping me pursue and accomplish a lifelong dream. Thank you for the journey. Ann Kitalong