“The World After Coronavirus,” an ongoing video series from the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, was the subject of a recent feature in BU Today. The series, hosted by Pardee School of Global Studies Dean Adil Najam explores the challenges and opportunities we will face in our post-coronavirus future.
Over the course of 67 (and counting) five-minute interviews, Dean Najam has interviewed leading experts about the future of a wide range of issues, “from racism to meat to civil rights in cyberspace,” demonstrating that the pandemic will impact virtually every aspect of life for years or decades to come. He conducts his interviews with guests around the world from the library of his home in Boxborough, Massachusetts. “I look at the books and think, ‘Who do I want to talk to?’” he says.
In the article, Dean Najam recounts how he recognized an opportunity shortly after Boston University’s campus closed in March, “that far-flung experts with usually jam-packed schedules were stuck at home like everyone else, with time on their hands and a lot to say.”
Dean Najam has identified five key lessons, which are laid out in detail in the article: that COVID-19 is not just a crisis, but a transformation; that the post-COVID world, like the disease itself, most imperils those with “preexisting conditions”; that the pandemic has forced a redefinition of global politics, especially US-China relations; that COVID-19 is an opportunity for positive change; and that we must learn from this experience to adequately respond to another looming crisis: climate change.
“If I was in doubt in March, I am no longer in doubt—this is a turning point,” he says. “I’ve learned that if we are waiting for after COVID, we are there. The world after coronavirus is a new world and we are now already inhabiting it. That, to me, is a pretty big deal.”