Lessons from Coronavirus Pandemic: A Community Perspective Through an International Lens

Wed, 17 Jun 2020 17:30 in Discussion Forums

Date: Wednesday, 17th June 2020
Time: 17:30


  • Prof Anwar Alam, Senior Fellow with Policy Perspectives Foundation
  • Prof Guido Benvenuto, Sapienza, Università di Roma
  • Prof Deborah Dunn, Westmont College
  • Felix Kaiza, Journalist and Media Consultant
  • Prof Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi, Universities of Colombo, Kelaniya Sri Lanka, Minhaj University Lahore
  • Prof Shirley Steinberg, The University of Calgary
  • Prof Alison Scott-Baumann, SOAS, University of London
  • Iysha Arun, Research Fellow, Dialogue Society


The discussion aims to explore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our local communities as the issue has increasingly become one of the greatest challenges our communities have ever faced in recent times. Participants joining from different parts of the world will share their experience with local communities in responding to the pandemic as well as provide their own perspectives on the outbreak. No doubt, the pandemic has once again helped us to show the high level of interdependence that connects people all over the world, the degree of cooperation and solidarity needed at every level. With this in mind, the discussion is seeking to find a common ground where we can work together as a whole to overcome similar challenges in the future. The Covid-19 presents us with vital lessons in this respect.

Speakers Biographies

Prof Anwar Alam is a Senior Fellow at the Policy Perspectives Foundation in New Delhi. Previously he served as full Professor in the Department of International Relations, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Science Zirve University, Gaziantep, Turkey. He was AVH Visiting Fellow at the Department of Philology, Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany in 2016 and 2017. He is a regular visiting Faculty at National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, and at Department of Civics and Politics, University of Mumbai, Mumba. Prof Alam has published extensively in the fields of international politics, politics in West Asia and South Asia, Indian politics and Indian foreign policy, and Muslim politics.

Prof Guido Benvenuto is a full professor of Sapienza, University of Rome. He teaches social pedagogy and educational research methodology, carries out research on early school leaving, social inclusion, and learning environments. He is a member of the Department of Psychology of Development and Socialization Processes that in 2017 was selected among the departments of excellence of the Italian state university to create an interdisciplinary research task force on one of the most relevant social issues: migration flows and inclusive practices in Europe and Italy. The Department intends to strengthen the interconnections between excellent scientific-disciplinary sectors in research and the creation of new consulting services on the psychosocial implications connected to migration phenomena.

Prof Deborah Dunn earned her PhD and M.A. in communication arts and sciences from the University of Southern California. Her BA is in speech and communication with an emphasis on social movements from San Francisco State. She has been working at Westmont College, the USA since 1997 and has led eight summer study abroad programs on conflict, memory, and pilgrimage to Northern Ireland, South Africa, Germany, Israel/Palestine, and the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Her research and teaching focuses on grassroots peace-making organizations, dialogue, and transforming conflict. She also co-directs the Westmont Initiative for Public Dialogue and Deliberation.

Felix Kaiza is a Tanzanian journalist with more than 50 years of experience currently working as an independent media consultant. Learned in agriculture, journalism, political science and international relations, his main fields of consultancy, besides the media, are good governance, nature conservation, tourism and investment. He was the first Tanzanian Chief Sub-Editor of an English daily newspaper in 1970, he has been behind the establishment and growth of the national independent media since the early 1990s. He is UNFAO Fellow Journalist since 1975 and has wide experience on regional integration. He worked on the Information Directorate of the original East African Community on whose ashes survive the current one. His ambition is to brand Tanzania in the inbound market with made-in-Tanzania brands, including information, almost all of which is currently foreign brewed.

Prof Shanthikumar Hettiarachchi was awarded the professorship at the School of Religion and Philosophy, Minhaj University Lahore, Pakistan, October 2018. Prof Hettiarachchi teaches the history of religious thought, with a special focus on the origin of religion and the development of religions. He is at ease with most religious cultures with an astute critical approach with a rare cross-cultural competency. He is also a visiting lecturer at the Department of Buddhist Studies of the University of Colombo and the Department of Western Classical Culture and Christian Culture of the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka where he teaches, Islam, Christianity and Hindu Dharma. An author, editor, writer and a public speaker on global affairs and their impact on the Asia Pacific region, its global and local implications.

Prof Shirley R. Steinberg is the 2019 Whitworth Award winner from EdCan Network, Research Professor of Youth Studies at the University of Calgary, Visiting Researcher at the University of Barcelona, Honorary Adjunct Professor at Murdoch University, and former Director of the Institute of Youth and Community Research at the University of the West of Scotland. Her most recent books include The Sage Handbook of Critical Pedagogies (2020) with Barry Down; 30 Activists Under 30 (2018); Classroom Teaching (2018). She is the executive acquisitions editor for DIO PRESS INC. She is the executive director of freireproject.org and the author and editor of many books on critical pedagogy, urban and youth culture, and cultural studies, social justice and qualitative research.

Prof Alison Scott Bauman is Professor of Society and Belief in the Centre of Islamic Studies in the Near and Middle East Department at SOAS and her work has two interrelated and also distinct research strands, social justice and philosophy. Her research has recently been recognized and rewarded by world-class research grants from Leverhulme, ESRC and AHRC. Professor Scott-Baumann applies philosophy to social justice issues, regarding Islam, higher education and feminist debates. She is also known internationally for her philosophical research and was awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship for original research on Ricoeur, Kant and Sartre. She works extensively on Ricoeur and is an invited member of the Conseil Scientifique of the Fonds Ricoeur in Paris, and board member of three international Ricoeur groups.