The Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI) and the Global Partnerships Forum (GPF) presented a conference on Reflections on COVID-19 Response: Successes, Failures, Challenges and Opportunities on Friday April 22, 2022 at Muhlenberg College. The conference was an activity within HDI’s/GPF’s Higher Education Alliance and was the first live program since the start of the COVID pandemic in March 2020.
The program was moderated by Professor Mohsin Hashim. Mr. Michael Beard, the Executive Director for Global Health at the Better World Campaign opened the morning session on campus. He explained the role of BWC in advocating for the UN and its work. He discussed the role UN has had in mitigating the impact of the pandemic and its role in equitable distribution of the vaccines worldwide. Mr. Beard also discussed the shortcomings of the UN system, including WHO, in alerting the world to the pandemic, and the steps it has taken to address them. Mr. Beard was joined virtually by Mr. Robert Jenkins, the Associate Director for Education at UNICEF who discussed status of recovery of education systems and urgent priorities moving forward. The students had an opportunity to hear first hand account of the work UNICEF has been doing to address the challenges the pandemic has brought on in the education area.
The afternoon session of the conference featured His Excellency Bashir Goth, Head of Somaliland Mission to the United States. Representative Goth focused on vaccine efforts in the Horn of Africa. The students had an opportunity to hear about pandemic preparedness and response from his unique perspective. He was joined at this session by Mr. Amir Dossal, president of GPF who addressed the importance of public-private partnerships and their role in complimenting the work of the UN system.
The students were extremely interested in how different agencies of the United Nations coordinate in tackling the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.