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Queen Mary Global Policy Institute

Resilience as a tool for global recovery

The onset of a global pandemic has heightened awareness of the concept and the value of resilience. 

In the latest Global Seminar delivered by the Queen Mary Global Policy Institute, an international panel of experts discussed the importance of resilience and its role in our collective post-pandemic recovery.

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The river Ganges
The river Ganges

The first major Resilient Futures India Initiative events to be held virtually, this roundtable brought together individual voices and shared experiences to shape not only a collective understanding of resilience but also to accelerate a post-Covid-19 recovery and progress towards fairer, more inclusive societies.

Unlocking the concept of resilience

Introducing the event, Professor Colin Grant, Vice Principal for International at Queen Mary University of London, summarised:

“This partnership is an expression of resilience. This summit is our preparation for a strong recovery.”

Board member Baroness Jan Royall of Blaisdon encapsulated the philosophy of those attending:

“We can make a difference, and we have a duty to bring about change. We can do more than exist in the present, together we can build a future.”

Professor Parvati Nair underlined the role of research in fortifying a global recovery rooted in resilience:

 "Research is the most important thing going forward. There is no better time than now. These times when you are pushed against the wall, these are the times to find solutions."

Looking to the future

The panel reflected on their distinct experiences of resilience in the context of the pandemic, and the outlook for the future.

Dr Madan Gopal described the immense challenges faced by Indian healthcare systems, while praising the commitment demonstrated by healthcare practitioners and institutions.

Priti Srivastava shared her insights on how the present situation informs not only how we react in the here and now, but the issues which societies will confront in the years to come:

"By practicing strategies of resilience during this pandemic, we will be more prepared for the next crisis"

Speaking about the steps that can be taken by the corporate sector, Mrs Srivastava was clear that companies must commit to direct action in the exercise of corporate social responsibility: 

"Corporates don't need to donate, they don't need to raise funds: they need to act."

Dr. Premila Webster highlighted how society should seek to change for the better following the shared trauma and experience of the pandemic, and emerge with a stronger healthcare system as a result.

"Hopefully this can be the turning point to move towards a fairer society rather than an unjust one."

Dr Webster also spoke about the risk of 'unlearning' the experiences that we have had since early 2020, and how vital it was to capitalise on the opportunity for positive change.

Dr Vivek Virendra Singh contributed on behalf of UNICEF India, in particular focusing on how the pandemic had disproportionally affected women and girls during this crisis.

"It is the women and the girls who are at the centre of the highest degrees of impact."

Concluding his remarks, Dr Singh emphasized that the post-pandemic recovery must prioritise those who were most adversely affected and that their lived experiences of resilience must be the starting point in building for a better future.

Watch the event