July 8th, 2020
The Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization has joined global efforts to manage the ongoing crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic through its project, titled “The world post-COVID-19 pandemic: a humanist vision for sustainable development”. As part of this project for a multidisciplinary anticipation of the future, the online platform poignantly named “What will the world look like after the pandemic?” brings together the ideas, opinions and recommendations of notable individuals, internationally renowned for their work in essential fields such as education, culture, scientific research, technological progress, natural resources and biodiversity, sociology, psychology, cultural diplomacy, ethics and moral philosophy, civic responsibility and leadership.
The project has thus far comprised six online conferences, attended by prestigious international scholars from Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia, seeking to put forward points of view of truly global scope.
The first such videoconference was organized by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization in partnership with the World Academy of Art and Science and the United Nations Office in Geneva on April 30th 2020, titled “Global Leadership for the 21st Century. Strategies for Transformative Global Leadership”.
The themes of the conference tackled the role of the academic environment in managing the current and post-pandemic situation, the limitations of technological progress in a globalised world, and the creation of new policies apt for implementation at the global level.
The second online conference, “How will the world look like after the pandemic?” was organized by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization in partnership with the Black Sea Universities Network on May 14th, 2020.
The themes of the conference focused on identifying the vulnerabilities that led to the outbreak of the pandemic and the ways in which they might be addressed, the challenges and crises of the future, the role of managers and leaders in this context and the guiding principles for any leadership of the future.
The third videoconference organized by the Institute, titled “The Role of Academia in the implementation of the SDGs through the COVID-19 crisis”, was held on June 3rd 2020 in partnership with the Nizami Ganjavi International Centre.
The topics discussed during the conference revolved around the urgent measures required in order to revitalize the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals at the critical juncture occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic at a global level.
These events were followed by two separate panels held on June 16th and 17th respectively, one discussing “The role of the academic environment in elaborating a vision and strategy for global governance”, moderated by President Emil Constantinescu and Dr Oana Brânda, and the other tackling “the role of academia in sustainable regional development”, moderated by Emeritus Professor Dan Grigorescu and Dr Oana Brânda. The panels were part of the broader international conference on “Global Leadership for the 21st Century. Strategies for Transformative Global Leadership”, organized in an online format by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization together with the World Academy of Art and Science and the United Nations Office in Geneva.
The topics discussed during the panel on “The role of the academic environment in elaborating a vision and strategy for global governance” touched upon a variety of fields of interest in the context generated by the COVID-19 pandemic: education, health, technology and innovation, economics and sustainable development. The speakers for the panel highlighted the fact that global governance, operating in the spirit of the conventions agreed upon at the close of the Second World War, had today proven inefficient and powerless in the face of the new political, geostrategic, economic, social and climate considerations of the 21st century.
The topics discussed during the panel on “The role of the academic environment in sustainable regional development” focused on the interwoven nature of the relationship between university centres and the regions they might be found in, ways to connect universities to regional and international university and research networks and the need for rapid development of distance learning as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing the importance of concepts such as “blended learning” as building blocks for the long-term development of the educational process in the context of crises similar to the one the world is going through today.
One novel aspect of these panels, held in a virtual conference format, lies in the fact that the speakers answered questions from both the moderators themselves, as well as from the public audience in attendance. In this regard, the videoconference app’s Chat section functioned as a platform by which attendees could forward their questions to the panel speakers.
The most recent videoconference thus far was held on June 24th in the broader context of the “Shared Future, Shared Responsibility. UN 75” International Conference, organized by the Nizami Ganjavi International Centre and the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation. At the event, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization was represented by President Emil Constantinescu, who gave an introductory address during a panel focusing “On Global governance, the Rule of Law and Ceasefire: How Wars can Transit into Peace”.
The topics discussed during this conference focused on the need to define global governance, and the means by which to implement it; the need to reform the United Nations Organization that it may more successfully tackle the challenges of the present; the need to achieve transparency at all administrative levels; and the need to stimulate a culture of peace as a prerequisite to achieving efficient global governance. Moreover, the need for further and closer cooperation between states in the context of the ongoing pandemic was also highlighted by the conference participants.
The “World Post-COVID-19 Pandemic” project is undertaken in collaboration with international think-tanks on the basis of bespoke partnership agreements, such as the World Academy of Art and Science, the Nizami Ganjavi International Centre, the Marmara Group Foundation, the Berlin Academy of Cultural Diplomacy and the Black Sea Universities Network, which shall be joined by a series of other academic and civic organizations with which the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization is currently in contact.
The discussions organised thus far have been attended by visionary representatives of the academic environment, university chancellors, notable academicians and chairpersons of international university associations such as:
- Federico Mayor, Co-chair of the High-Level Group of the Alliance of Civilizations organizations, General Director of UNESCO (1987-1999), Chancellor of the University of Barcelona and Member of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization;
- Garry Jacobs, CEO of the World Academy of Art and Science, Chairman of the Mother’s Service Society in Pondicherry, India;
- Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University, NY, Director of the UN Centre for Sustainable Development;
- Juri Engelbrecht, President of the Estonian Academy of Science, former President of the Association of European Academies (ALEA);
- Ernst von Weizsacker, Vice-president of the Rome Club (2012-2018);
- Professor Ismail Serageldin, Founder and Director of the Library of Alexandria, former Vice-president of the World Bank (1992-2000), Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science;
- Pericles Mitkas, President of the Black Sea Universities Network;
- Momir Djurovic, President of the Montenegrin Academy of Science and Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science;
- Professor Phoebe Koundouri of the University of Athens, President of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists;
- Professor Winston Nagan, University of Florida, Chairman of the World Academy of Art and Science;
- Professor Nikolaos Theodossiou of the „Aristotle” University of Thessaloniki, Chairman of the Black Sea Chapter of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network;
- Alberto Zucconi, Director of the Institute for a Person-Centred Approach, Rome, and Trustee of the World Academy of Art and Science;
- Professor Luciano Sasso, Vice-Chancellor of the “Sapienza” University in Rome;
- Lennart Levi, Emeritus Professor at the Stress Research Centre of the University of Stockholm;
- Marco Vitiello, Department of Political Sciences at the “Roma Tre” University;
- Thomas Reuter, Professor at the Asia Institute of the University of Melbourne;
- Rodolfo Fiorini, Professor at the Polytechnic University of Milan;
- Donato Kiniger-Passigli, Representative of the World Academy of Art and Science to the United Nations Office in Geneva;
- Ramu Damodaran, Director of UN Academic Impact;
- Stefan Brunnhuber, Medical Director at the European Institute of Medicine, Salzburg;
- Frank Dixon, Sustainability and Systemic Change Advisor, founder of Global System Change, New York;
- Ketal Patel, CEO and founder of Great Pacific Capital;
- Jerome Glenn, inventor and CEO of the Millennium Project;
- Rovshan Muradov, Secretary-General of the Nizami Ganjavi International Centre;
- Professor David Méndez, Chancellor of the A.G. Méndez University, Puerto Rico;
- Professor Karin Markides, Chancellor of the American University of Armenia.
Moreover, the discussions were also attended by former heads of state and government, government ministers with scientific backgrounds, and chairpersons of international organizations with extensive experience in the resolution of social and political crises, such as:
- Tatiana Valovaya, General Director of the United Nations Office in Geneva;
- Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, General Director of the World Health Organization;
- His Royal Highness Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, Honorary Chairman of the Euro-Mediterranean Association for Cooperation and Development (2012-present);
- Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia (1999-2007), General Director of the Club of Madrid, Co-President of the Nizami Ganjavi International Centre, Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science;
- Kjell Magne Bondevik, Prime Minister of Norway (2001-2005);
- Bujar Nishani, President of Albania (2012-2017);
- Rosalia Arteaga Serrano, President of Ecuador (1997) and former Minister of Education;
- Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, President of the Republic of Mauritius (2015-2018) and Rector of the University of Mauritius;
- Mladen Ivanic, Member of the Joint Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (2014-2018);
- Shaukat Aziz, Prime Minister of Pakistan (2004-2007);
- Eka Tkeshelashvili, Vice- Prime Minister of Georgia (2010-2012);
- Ana Palacio, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs (2002-2004);
- Herman de Croo, Secretary of State, Belgium.
At these events, the representatives from Romania included:
- Professor Remus Pricopie, Rector of the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, President of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization and Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science;
- Professor Adrian Curaj, Director of the Executive Unit for Financing Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation (UEFISCDI), Member of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization and Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science;
- Dr László Borbély, State Counsellor for the Cabinet of the Prime Minister of Romania, Coordinator of the Department for Sustainable Development of the General Secretariat of the Romania Government, Associate Professor at the “Babeș-Bolyai” University of Cluj-Napoca;
- Professor Magdalena Platis, Pro-Rector of the University of Bucharest;
- Professor Mihai Gîrțu, Pro-Rector of the “Ovidius” University of Constanța;
- Professor Eden Mamut, Secretary-General of the Black Sea Universities Network;
- Professor Luiza Spiru of the “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, President of the “Ana Aslan” International Academy;
- Professor Monica Răileanu-Szeres, Director of the Institute for Research and Development at the “Transilvania” University of Brașov;
- Professor Elena Helerea, “Transilvania” University of Braș
“The World post-COVID-19 pandemic: a humanist vision for sustainable development” project is coordinated by professor Emil Constantinescu, President of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization. Its project manager, and point of contact, is Dr Oana Brânda.
The project’s online platform features the following contributions:
- “A planetary moment and momentum” (Garry Jacobs – CEO of WAAS, Donato Kiniger-Passigli, WAAS)
Garry Jacobs – President, World Academy of Art and Science
- “Sovereign absolutism: a pre-existing condition that is amplifying the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic” (Winston Nagan, Samantha Manausa, University of Florida)
Winston P. Nagan – Member of the Board of Trustees of the World Academy of Art and Science, University of Florida, USA
- “Tomorrow will not look like today!” (Akkan Suver, Marmara Group Foundation, Istanbul)
Dr Akkan Suver – President, Marmara Group Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey
The above contributions will be joined by others over the following period.
The written contributions received for the project, as well as the debates resulting from the project’s online conferences, will be included in separate forthcoming volumes in English and Romanian respectively.