”Fixing the Fractured World”: The Levant Institute at the 11th Global Baku Forum in Azerbaijan

Three Nobel Prize laureates, seven Secretaries-General of United Nations agencies, three heads of state and two heads of government in office, 25 former heads of state, 15 former heads of government, 26 former Ministers in national governments, leaders of international non-governmental organizations and leading representatives of the political milieu and civil society - a total of 400 participants from 67 countries - were invited to formulate the ideas and solutions necessary to rebuild the world of today, fractured by a plurality of regional and global crises, at the eleventh edition of the Global Baku Forum, a yearly event organized in the capital of Azerbaijan by the “Nizami Ganjavi” International Centre, a long-term partner of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization.

The delegation of the Institute of Advanced Studies for Levant Culture and Civilization was comprised of Professor Emil Constantinescu, President of the Institute's Scientific Council, alongside Experts Maxim Onofrei and Ioan Scutelnicu.

For the Forum's eleventh edition, held under the motto Fixing the Fractured World between March 14thand 16th 2024, the main topics of discussion were positioned in continuity with the other high-level international debates scheduled by the United Nations for 2024 - two of them being the Summit of the Future and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 29).

Discussions pursued a variety of impactful topics, from safeguarding the operativity of global security in a context foreshadowing the emergence of a new World Cold War, to the roles played by regional military and economic alliances in the global geostrategic concert, the reconfiguration of the concept of 'global governance' to better answer the latest developments at the international level, the need for a new security paradigm in a new era of artificial intelligence and cyber threats, to the regional perspectives of the EU’s neighbours, setting the primary objectives for COP29 and sourcing the financial resources necessary to ensure the planet’s ecological security, safeguard global health and increase resilience against global threats – among them, rising inequality, population migration, or the scarcity of critical resources at the global level.

As has become tradition, the proceedings of the Global Baku Forum were concluded by an extensive panel where “Youth Talk”. In this framework, the future leaders of the world from newer generations, currently at the beginnings of their careers in service of the global good as part of international organizations such as UNESCO, the OSCE or the OECD, were presented the opportunity to outline their own perspectives on the important issues of the day and, in tandem, draw attention and focus to some of the most important issues facing the younger generations in the digital age.


The launch of the English-language edition of the two volumes of “The Post-Pandemic World between War and Peace” at the Global Baku Forum


As part of the eleventh edition of the Global Baku Forum, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization, in partnership with the “Nizami Ganjavi” International Centre, launched the English-language edition of the two volumes titled The Post-Pandemic World between War and Peace. This joint effort, by which the works were redacted by the Levant Institute and typeset and printed in Baku, constitutes the culmination of the Institute's long-term research programme, The Post-Pandemic World: A Humanist Vision for Sustainable Development, undertaken between 2020 and 2024 in partnership with the World Academy of Art & Science, the “Nizami Ganjavi” International Centre, the Marmara Group Foundation for Strategic and Social Research, the Berlin Academy of Cultural Diplomacy and the Black Sea Universities Network.

Begun in one crisis and finalized during another, the first volume of The Post-Pandemic World between War and Peace contains a representative selection of the many debates organized, co-organized or attended by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization (a total of 45 conferences attended by 24 current and former heads of state, 15 Prime-ministers, 15 government ministers and secretaries of state, 77 senior officials and experts of the UN, the World Bank and other international organizations, Members of national Parliaments, of diplomatic corps and royal households, as well as 63 representatives of the national and international academic milieu). The second volume of the Post-Pandemic World between War and Peace includes essays that present a multidisciplinary perspective, both international and Romanian, on the post-pandemic world, and outline the anatomy of the crisis triggered by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

In May of 2020, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization launched a project named “The World Post-COVID-19. A Humanist Vision for Sustainable Development” in order to provide a series of ideas, solutions and recommendations of best practice related to how the world would need to be rebuilt after the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. In this regard, a number of specialists from various fields, world-class scholars and philosophers, former and current political leaders, religious heads and career diplomats - the nature of whose activities drew them close to the sphere of the Levant Institute's interests - sought to provide answers to a number of important questions, such as: ‘What will the world look like after the COVID-19 pandemic?'; 'What vulnerabilities have allowed the pandemic to occur, and how can they be corrected?'; 'What dangers could human society face after the pandemic?'; 'What are the areas of activity we must prioritize in order to ensure a better response to the challenges of the future?'; 'How can leaders be prepared in all areas of activity to better meet the challenges posed by future crises?', or 'What will the leadership of the future look like?'

The "World Post-COVID-19. A Humanist Vision for Sustainable Development” project was intended to collect a series of contributions, opinions and recommendations from specialists in various fields of international significance, who could offer their own solutions and ideas for the post-pandemic global recovery, which would be presented on the Institute's website. The aim was not to provide sterile or empirical solutions, but instead to outline natural approaches to how certain areas (and, implicitly, the operative tools at their disposal) could be galvanized to contribute to the global post-pandemic reconstruction. Moreover, the solutions identified ought not to have been understood as standardized recipes for success. Rather, they represented the expression of particular visions and perspectives, which could then be modified and adapted on a case-by-case basis in order to revitalize those areas most gravely affected by the pandemic and return the global society to a much-wonted sense of normalcy. Through this project, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization has succeeded in mobilizing and bringing together the international elite in its various forms: the academic and research milieus, the political and religious environments as well as the diplomatic sphere, so as to offer a series of viable prospects that could be implemented with a view to revitalizing and safeguarding global post-pandemic resilience.

In early 2022, when the two volumes featuring debates and essays about the pandemic and post-pandemic world were all but set to go to print, war broke out in Ukraine. As this military crisis grew in scale, giving rise to a massive number of casualties and large flows of refugees, the issue of the pandemic began to take second-stage. Consequently, the project coordinators, Professor Emil Constantinescu and Dr Oana-Elena Brânda, alongside the volume's editors, Laura Ganea and Maxim Onofrei, felt the imperative need to tie in this conflagration to discussions over the previous pandemic, both as a result of their chronological evolution and, in particular, owing to their great polarization of the international community by virtue of their respective impact and gravity. As such, further chapters were added to the two volumes, to include debates and essays on the war in Ukraine and, in so doing, to reflect the positions and views of notable specialists on foreign policy, military strategy and humanitarian assistance, focusing on the war's long-term implications at the local, regional and international levels. In this context, as had also been the case with the pandemic, further emphasis on the concept of sustainable development became redundant in the face of the victims and cruelties of war.

The post-pandemic world was being built before our very eyes - not in the comprehensive cultural and civilizational vision we had anticipated, but instead in a brutal form, in which a singular will carved deep ravines that impeached upon the very existence of others. Therefore, the decision was made to replace the project's earlier title, “The Post-Pandemic World. A Humanist Vision for Sustainable Development”, with one that that better reflected immediate reality: “The Post-Pandemic World between War and Peace”. This was decided not because the earlier 'humanist vision' no longer had its purpose. Rather, it was because of the fact that, when weapons speak, a humanist perspective first directs us to our immediate survival, and only then towards the development of human existence along the peaceful lines of a global culture and civilization that must be salvaged and safeguarded.

The launch of the English-language edition of the two volumes of the Post-Pandemic World between War and Peace at the eleventh edition of the Global Baku Forum held in March 2024, following the launch of its counterpart in Romanian at the BookFest International Book Fair the previous year, enjoyed a warm reception and was met with great appreciation. Copies of the two volumes were offered to the authors and contributors whose opinions and works were included in this major editorial effort that were present at the summit held in the capital of Azerbaijan.

Lansarea ediției în limba engleză a cărții „Lumea post-pandemie între război și pace” la Forumul Global de la Baku



The Post-Pandemic World between War and Peace


Emil Constantinescu, Oana-Elena Brânda (coordinators), The Post-Pandemic World between War and Peace

RAO Publishing House, 2022

Volume I – Debates, 436 pp., 172.50 RON

Volume II – Essays, 460 pp., 172.50 RON


Pandemics and wars, both constants of historical evolution, have taught us that we must take care of ourselves, that we must value peace and science, and that we must constantly seek solutions for solace and harmony. However, in the 21st century, when the values of knowledge have reached impressive levels, when technology has improved every field of activity, when our medical systems are extremely advanced, and when wars are carried out cybernetically, causing virtual victims, we have seen not only the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing roughly 6.5 million deaths, but also the outbreak of a conventional war in Ukraine, where tanks, machine guns and soldiers are causing real casualties. How could this have happened? And, more importantly, what can we learn from it? The two volumes published by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization under the title “The Post-Pandemic World between War and Peace” constitute a testimony of how the written and spoken word – our instrument of choice – has helped us fashion a form of intellectual solidarity in spite of imposed isolation, aiding us in overcoming the threat of disease and the fear of death, in leading us to imagine a better and more equitable world of the future.

Begun during one crisis and completed during another, this book is concerned with, and about, people. Beyond our respective professions as teachers, doctors, economists, heads of state or members of the diplomatic corps, we are all human. and, in spite of the differences that make each of us unique, we all react to crises in the same way: with fear, dread, uncertainty, distrust, and denial. And, later, with hope, and with humanity.

This book is not “yet another book about the pandemic”. In our authors’ contributions (presented both as opinions expressed during various conferences, or in brief essays to which they lent their signatures) our reader will find different views about the course of the pandemic, which all converge towards the same direction: stressing the need for reconstruction and resilience not only at the institutional, but also at the human level.

Unlike many other volumes that have focused on a single theme, this book presents a wide range of fields of activity, supported by contributors with expertise in a variety of different specializations. We have retained the dates each of these was submitted, as they paint a perspective of the given state of affairs at different times: the first wave of the pandemic; the relaxation of lock-down restrictions; the successive waves of COVID-19 mutations; the onset of vaccination strategies; and, finally, after the outbreak and escalation of the war in Ukraine. The analytical vision contained herein is, thus, comprehensive in terms of both information and chronology.

We did not aim to carry out a study of the causes and treatment of the pandemic. The individuals employed by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization are doctors in humanities, not virologists, infectious disease specialists or pulmonologists. Neither did we aim to conduct an empirical study of pandemics and their effects on history. Nor should we point the finger at what went wrong in society that could have favoured the spread of the pandemic. Medical analysis remains the responsibility of specialists; for our part, we shall merely focus on the pandemic’s effects on various fields of societal activity. We do not aim to offer solutions to these effects; we have neither the time, nor the tools to do so.

The pandemic has been a test of the values and systems within which we previously led our physical and professional existence – whose fragility, both in terms of individuals and as a broader society writ large the virus has, unquestionably, demonstrated. The world has irredeemably changed, and we must learn to live in the “brave new world” that dawns. As individuals, our capacity to adapt comes from within. We need to learn to reduce global dependencies, and focus our efforts on what we can achieve in the short term. We need to plan for the future by making use of the full data of the present, while remaining aware that this future we envision can, at any time, be invalidated by crises similar to that brought about by COVID-19.

We did not set out to write a new study on war. On the contrary, we aimed to analyse the impact of war on society from multiple points of view. International systems, governments, states and institutions cannot exist in the absence of people. That is why, when discussing short-term solutions, reaction mechanisms or future strategies, the focus must adamantly remain on people, who are the common denominator of the crises to which we refer, and the most likely parties to direct future evolutions.

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