IEE Newsletter No. 31


Dear Reader,

The Covid-19 pandemic forces us to live our socially-distanced private lives in confined spaces and to use video conferences to see our family and friends. At the IEE, we have discovered how it feels working at home (boring!) and communicating via Zoom (strange!). From home, we admire the efforts and the determination of those working in hospitals, care facilities, supermarkets and logistics, who, together with others, keep our societies going.

Surprisingly, the public in countries yet heavily affected by the Corona crisis accepts the unprecedented governmental interferences with basic human rights such as with the freedom to move, practice religion, or work. Borders are closed, air traffic is suspended, cultural gatherings are forbidden, and business is frozen. However, with spring approaching, there are signs of hope. In the up-until-now epicenters of the epidemic, lockdown has been reducing infection rates and daily death tolls; and in the rest of the world, the spread of the virus seems to be slowing down. These encouraging signs, however, do not indicate that we will get back to normal any time soon. Despite being lower, the infection risk still exists and as long as it is there, regulations will be in place requiring behavioral change. And all countries will have to deal with the social and economic cost that result from locking down entire societies, which in heavily affected donor countries may change funding primacies.

Therefore, the world will function differently for the foreseeable future. From the narrow perspective of the IEE, we will have to adjust to these new realities. This means that we will have to find an answer to the question of how to organize and implement international development research and cooperative cross-border degree programs in a world potentially characterized by travel restrictions and reduced support for international academic cooperation. I am confident that our response will be adequate and convincing, and we will inform our partners and students accordingly.

Enjoy reading about our recent pre-Corona activities and stay healthy!



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