Learning During The Covid-19 Pandemic: A Reflection Series From The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace

Once again, we find ourselves in a crisis that is global in nature.

The Coronavirus outbreak is the great tragedy of our era. The pandemic has disrupted virtually every aspect of the systems that hold up our global and local society. Sadly, we do not seem to have in place what could help us to overcome this crisis.

We find ourselves in a world that is becoming ever more connected, yet is also fundamentally unable to handle the repercussions of those connections. Inequality, already a moral hazard before the coronavirus crisis, shows every sign of increasing. Those who were able to do before, continue to do, while those who were at a loss prior to all this, find themselves cast aside. Those groups who were perennially the most hard hit – those with limited material means, women, and minorities – now find themselves on the losing end once again.

It is difficult to remain hopeful in a world that is continuing to collapse, even while floundering leadership the world over raises the dangerous stakes of inadequate systems. This world challenge crosses nation and tribe, wealth and political typology, but always bears a common mark – the struggle of leaders and nations to properly pause, consider, collaborate, and act accordingly.

It is the globalness of the problem that makes it so exasperating – our unpreparedness, as a human species, cries out for better, firmer solutions. Lives are lost in the dithering. History will judge us harshly for our inability to piece together even the most basic systems of compassion at the global level.

For when it comes to the common good, we are not without resources. That some billionaires quibble over a few of their employees’ dollars while others channel funds to those in need reminds us that liberality and the grace of giving remain a feature of the heart, and a quality of the inner spirit.

So in the midst of the pandemic, we must pay tribute to the many brave and selfless individuals serving at the front-lines of this crisis – individuals risking their lives in order to preserve others’ lives. Health care workers, store clerks, delivery drivers, and public safety officers are demonstrating a selflessness that should inspire us all.

There is much to be learned from the health crisis the world is now facing. The very same barriers humanity has struggled to overcome on the path to world peace seem now to present themselves in an acute form, and we are called upon more than ever before to uphold fundamental human dignity, and to fuse compassion and justice into our conduct as individuals and societies.

As we look for ways to support our community during this difficult time we have reached out to those who have presented their research for us in the past. 

As significant contributors to research, thought and discourse, the Baha’i Chair for World Peace has invited these individuals to write a short reflection piece on what we are learning from the current health crisis. 

These reflections will be posted on this blog on a weekly basis starting next Monday, May 4, 2020. We hope they will offer different perspectives on the challenges we are facing, and insights into the ways in which we can come together as a community. 

About the Author:

Professor Hoda Mahmoudi holds the Bahá’í Chair for World Peace at the University of Maryland. Dr. Mahmoudi develops a sound scientific basis for knowledge and strategies that explore the role of social actors and structures in removing obstacles to peace and creating paths to a better world. For more information about Hoda: Bahá’í Chair for World Peace website.

You can find out more about the Bahá’í Chair by watching our video here.

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