At a time when so much of the leadership of powerful nation-states on all continents is collapsing inward — drawing upon themes of heightened nationalism fueled by authoritarian populism — there is a vital need to counter-act these destructive and dehumanizing impulses in public affairs by developing a robust, compassionate and humane response to the global problems that face the human community. On every front, from the growing global inequities of wealth, to the Earth’s changing climate and now humanity’s collective crisis in combatting the coronavirus pandemic human communities everywhere need now to forge new means of learning, building understanding and cultivating compassion beyond all boundaries of class, race or nationality.
Because of the global lockdown new forms of “online education” are of necessity emerging around the world. In the process both teachers and their students are developing innovative online curricula and new modes of communication across the world. In the process, it is possible to envision forms of education that can foster and nurture an emerging global humane sensibility required now for human survival. Following the principle of “each one reach one — each one teach one” both students and teachers can forge the new platforms and curricula needed for our global survival.
For example, through the “Africa Map Circle” techniques used recently to study historical maps of the slave trade are now being deployed by students, teachers, and citizens of all ages across the world to explore learning and teaching about the emerging coronavirus crisis in Africa. These new forms of learning help build a broad public understanding for the urgent need to develop what Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called “a peoples’s vaccine,” available and affordable to all.
As the global struggle to develop a vaccine to counter the coronavirus threat proceeds, the question of how should it be deployed when and if it is developed is very important. Questions of the timing and sequence of where a potential vaccine could best be administered to protect global human survival are vital.
A strong case can be made — from a purely global public health perspective — that any potential vaccine should be made available first to the world’s poorest populations in a timely manner.
In this regard, it is important to consider the full context of the United Nations Secretary-General’s remarks in his speech on 18 July 2020.
- Annual Lecture 2020 – Nelson Mandela Foundation – Secretary-General António Guterres
- Inequality a Threat to our Future – UN Chief