Multiple Readings of COVID-19 by our University Experts
The Social Science Research Institute, Politics and International Studies Research Unit, at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences organized a special virtual panel on "Multiple readings of COVID-19" on April 29th, 2020.
Covid-19 has created global problems and a subsequent panic that reflect the limits of our states, our science, our health systems, and the overall challenges that confront our human existence. The virus has also questioned our abilities to master nature making us realize the structural problems that humanity is more likely going to be faced within the long term. In addition to the cataclysmic economic effects of the global dimensions of COVID-19, this crisis has raised probing questions about the efficiency of the Neo-liberal economic model, disrupted relations between states, and significantly challenged supranational entities that were deemed essential for global cooperation. Meanwhile, COVID-19 has pushed people to rely on social media in different sectors and for transnational information and different forms of connectedness.
The panelists present were Dr. Nizar Messari, Dr. Jack Kalpakian, Dr. Zaynab El Bernoussi, Mr. Nael Khader, and Dr. Driss Maghraoui, who looked at the COVID-19 crisis from multiple perspectives in order to make sense of the challenges that the world and our societies are faced with. Dr. El Bernoussi looked at the Hong Kong experience with the virus. Dr. Messari presented on International Relations theory and COVID-19. Dr. Maghraoui discussed the structural and historical forces that are behind the effects of the virus. Dr. Kalpakian looked at the role of WHO and short country-based cases representing national policies. Mr. Khader looked at the effects of the virus in cementing telecommuting and ironically embedding some of the aspects of globalization.
The panel’s emergent consensus was that the pandemic is altering the structure of international relations and represents a turning point in history like the Cold War and its end, 9-11, and the 2007 financial crisis. The pandemic is forcing a change in how people deal with friends, how they interact with employers, and how they deal with foreign suppliers and markets. In line with past pandemics, such as the medieval plague and the 1918 influenza, there will be few interactive patterns that remain unaltered in when “normalcy” returns.