Tag #COVID-19 Response
Programme (0)
Event (27)
News (8)
The Philippines' Modern-day Heroes and COVID-19
June 25, 2021 - June 26, 2021
Collaboration in Crisis: The Impact of Covid-19 on Non-Communicable Diseases
March 18, 2021 - March 18, 2021
Questionnaire on Behavioural insights and perceived consequences of Coronavirus Disease 2019
February 1, 2021 - July 15, 2021
Solutions for COVID-19 Pandemic Control: Vaccines and Beyond
January 31, 2021 - January 13, 2021
Collaborating in Crisis: Academic-Governmental Partnerships During COVID-19
December 10, 2020 - December 10, 2020
Impact of Covid-19 on Women in Higher Education
December 2, 2020 - December 2, 2020
The APRU Multi-Hazards Webinar Series: A new approach for disaster risk management after COVID-19 (Session 3)
October 28, 2020 - October 28, 2020
The APRU Multi-Hazards Webinar Series: A new approach for disaster risk management after COVID-19 (Session 2)
October 14, 2020 - October 14, 2020
STEM Education across the APRU Network: Shaping Learning Experiences for Students
October 9, 2020 - October 8, 2020
The APRU Multi-Hazards Webinar Series: A new approach for disaster risk management after COVID-19 (Session 1)
September 30, 2020 - September 30, 2020
The Inaugural APRU Crisis Management Webinar- Perspectives of COVID-19 Pandemics: Epidemiology, Prevention and Control
September 30, 2020 - September 30, 2020
APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Virtual Summer School 2020 (Part II)
July 29, 2020 - July 29, 2020
The Use of Technology and Innovation to Combat COVID-19 in Thailand
July 24, 2020 - July 24, 2020
APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Virtual Summer School 2020 (Part III)
July 22, 2020 - July 22, 2020
APRU-IRIDeS Multi-Hazards Virtual Summer School 2020 (Part I)
July 15, 2020 - July 15, 2020
COVID-19 through a One Health Lens: the Wonders of Wildlife and Wilderness
July 10, 2020 - July 10, 2020
Bottom-up Resilience? Challenges for the Marginalized Publics under COVID-19 (Part II)
July 8, 2020 - July 8, 2020
Bottom-Up Resilience? Civil Society Responses under COVID-19 (Part I)
July 7, 2020 - July 7, 2020
COVID-19 and Mental Health in the Asia Pacific: Challenges, Risk and Opportunities
July 3, 2020 - July 3, 2020
Environmental Factors and COVID-19: Preliminary Findings from China
June 19, 2020 - June 19, 2020
Multi-Hazards Approach and COVID-19: Flattening the Curve and Early Recovery Lessons
June 17, 2020 - June 17, 2020
Bioethics and COVID-19
June 12, 2020 - June 12, 2020
How have countries responded to COVID-19 and how can we learn from this experience?
June 5, 2020 - June 5, 2020
APRU Plus: Addressing the Crisis
January 1, 2020 - December 31, 2020
Going Virtual: Lessons from Universities of the Asia Pacific on Online Teaching and Learning
- June 30, 2020
What is the New Normal for Student Recruitment and Mobility?
- June 3, 2020
Global Health, Global Governance and Human Rights- A Complicated Convergence in a Complicated Time
- July 17, 2020
Coronavirus emergency and APRU universities
On this page you will find: Resources Seminars, Workshops, and Discussions APRU members resources for Covid-19   We express our concern and support to our members at this very difficult and unpredictable time. The APRU Chair and Secretary General have expressed their concern in this letter to APRU members in China and Hong Kong SAR. To assist APRU members as you confront this health challenge and associated policy responses from around the region we have posted this web page. During the SARS emergency, APRU universities found it very helpful to know what others were doing to respond.  Therefore, we have put up this web page which includes links to members’ websites stating their policies and the actions they are taking.   APRU Plus: Addressing the Crisis   The ongoing COVID-19 situation has provided us with a reminder that even in uncertain times, APRU is a diverse community of people who lead, create, inspire and learn—together. APRU members are already sharing their policies and actions responding to the crisis on our webpage Coronavirus emergency and APRU universities.   As a service to our members, we have prepared APRU Plus an online hub of information for all of us working virtually. This hub gives members access to webinars, knowledge exchange, and communications updates about the ongoing health crisis and the universities across the Asia Pacific.   Resources   Universities’ Preparedness and Response Towards Multi-Hazards: COVID-19, Natural, and Human-Induced Hazards The APRU Multi-Hazards program hosted by Tohoku University collected case studies to learn about the efforts made by universities in the response and preparedness toward the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other hazards such as earthquakes, fires, and anthropogenic hazards. It also aims to investigate how to prepare for future pandemics and disasters more effectively.   This compilation which includes 26 case studies from 13 countries and region is a record of what had happened as well as the success and failures. It is crucial to learn from these experiences and to be prepared for future hazardous events. This publication will also be useful for universities to strengthen their current strategy and plan to establish a resilient campus against various types of hazards to protect the lives of the university community as well as the assets on campus.   Download the report   Vaccine research deepens university-industry collaboration   The intensified search for a vaccine against COVID-19 has pushed vaccine research to the top of collaborative medical and R&D research projects between Japanese universities, drug companies and the government in Japan.   For example, it is funding a university-led task force for joint COVID-19 research projects established by prominent Japanese universities, including the University of Tokyo, Keio University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Kitasato University and Osaka University, with experts from diverse fields, including infectious diseases, virology, molecular genetics, genomic medicine and computational science.   Read full article >>   UQ vaccine scientists report positive results from pre-clinical testing   Pre-clinical testing of The University of Queensland’s COVID-19 vaccine has produced positive indications about its potential effectiveness and manufacturability.   Read full article >>   HKUST’s All-Round Efforts to Help Fight COVID-19 Pandemic   The unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 since December 2019 has been sweeping across continents, with confirmed cases surpassing 220,000 and death toll exceeding 8,000 worldwide to date. This highly contagious virus has quickly flared up elsewhere and become an unforeseen global challenge. The entire HKUST community as a global citizen has a role to play in the concerted response to this significant public health threat.   Read how HKUST is fighting COVID-19 now >>       Practical recommendations for the management of diabetes in patients with COVID-19   Nanyang Technological University, Singapore   Stefan R Bornstein, Francesco Rubino, Kamlesh Khunti, Geltrude Mingrone, David Hopkins, Andreas L Birkenfeld, Bernhard Boehm, Stephanie Amiel , Richard IG Holt, Jay S Skyler, J Hans DeVries, Eric Renard, Robert H Eckel, Paul Zimmet, Kurt George Alberti, Josep Vidal, Bruno Geloneze, Juliana C Chan, Linong Ji, Barbara Ludwig   National Response to COVID-19 in the Republic of Korea and Lessons Learned for Other Countries   Juhwan Oh, Jong-Koo Lee, Dan Schwarz, Hannah L. Ratcliffe, Jeffrey F. Markuns  & Lisa R. Hirschhorn Article: e-1753464 | Received 30 Mar 2020, Accepted 06 Apr 2020, Published online: 29 Apr 2020 https://doi.org/10.1080/23288604.2020.1753464   The second affiliated hospital released the Guidebook of Hospital Response Strategy to COVID-19   Zhejiang University   Drawing upon the firstline experience of the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine in the fight against the pandemic, a guidebook – COVID-19 outbreak: Hospital Response Strategy was released on April 11, which offers applicable references to a wider audience.   Fast Funding for COVID-19 Science   Science funding mechanisms are too slow in normal times and may be much too slow during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fast Grants are an effort to correct this.   If you are a scientist at an academic institution currently working on a COVID-19 related project and in need of funding, we invite you to apply for a Fast Grant. Fast Grants are $10k to $500k and decisions are made in under 48 hours. If we approve the grant, you’ll receive payment as quickly as your university can receive it.   Corona Virus (COVID-19) “Infodemic” and Emerging Issues through a Data Lens: The Case of China   Jinling Hua and Rajib Shaw * Keio University, Fujisawa 252-0082, Japan; [email protected] *Correspondence: [email protected]   Building resilience against biological hazards and pandemics: COVID-19 and its implications for the Sendai Framework   Riyanti Djalante (a,b), Rajib Shawb (b, c,), Andrew DeWit (d),     a. Academic Programme Officer, United Nations University-Institute for the Advances Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), Japan b. Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR), Japan c. Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University, Japan d. School of Economic Policy Studies, Rikkyo University, Japan   female lab technician doing research with a microscope in the lab. coronavirus How Elsevier is supporting your response to COVID-19 Elsevier has made a variety of resources available to support our partners in the research, higher education and health communities March 24, 2020 – Updated March 26, 2020   Covid-19’s highly infectious nature means there is a pressing need to find solutions. Universities can help Image: REUTERS   From virus-slaying air purifiers to delivery robots, how university inventions are fighting COVID-19 World Economic Forum Agenda 16 Mar 2020 Wei Shyy, President, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 中文/日本語/Français/English COVID‐19 Effe cts on US Higher Education Campuses View report  The Institute of International Education (IIE) is studying the effects of COVID‐19 (coronavirus) on global student mobility on U.S. higher education campuses. The series is to provide more information about the effects that COVID‐19 has had on international student mobility, and the measures U.S. higher education institutions are taking regar ding international students currently on campus and those abroad, international students interested in studying in the United States, and U.S. students planning to study abroad. The first survey was launched on Feb. 13, 2020, and specifically focuses on the effects of COVID‐19 with regard to academic student mobility to and from China. As the COVID‐19 outbreak evolves, IIE will administer follow‐on surveys to the U.S. higher education community to monitor the unfolding situation and to keep the international education community informed. For more information, please visit www.iie.org or email [email protected].   Harvard University Coronavirus (COVID-19)   Seminars HKUST x University of Southern California Webinar: Sustainability as the New Normal – A Vision for the Future 17 November 2020 10:00am – 11:15am How will 2020 pandemic change the future sustainability policies in U.S., Hong Kong, China, and the world? USC Professor Marlon Boarnet and HKUST Professor Hong Lo, renowned scholars on transportation, environment, and urban planning; with Professor Christine Loh and Noah Miller, subject experts and strategists on environment and climate change, will talk about the new definition of sustainability after the pandemic and how the disruption forces us to change in every aspect. Head of Sustainability at HKUST, Davis Bookhart, will moderate the discussion. More information is available on the HKUST website >> Register by November 15th HKT >>   Japan MEXT Top Global University Project Online Symposium: International Collaboration in Higher Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic Time: September 30th 17:00 (JST) Register here. With the spread of COVID-19, international exchange at universities is entering a new phase. Although online lectures have become prevalent in Japan, universities around the world are now considering various means of international collaboration in education and research including online exchanges and hybrid styles that combine both virtual and physical interaction. In this symposium, new ideas and case studies will be shared and discussed regarding the future of international exchange in education and research. By clarifying the common hallenges faced by global universities and awareness of these with regard to international exchange in the post-COVID era, the symposium aims to help sketch a new blueprint for higher education along with what international exchange should look like in the future. For more information about the symposium, please visit the website.   Japan and the World in the Era of COVID-19: Considering whether the new paradigm is a crisis or an opportunity Register here for the final webinar with a wrap-up discussion in English on July 29. COVID-19 brings significant impacts on peoples, countries, and the world. It is thought that this will bring earth-shattering changes in the future. By examining Japan’s response to the first wave of COVID-19, the analyses implied that vulnerabilities on informational infrastructure and delay of innovations and social implementation were showed in several cases. To gain a deep understanding of the new paradigm, Keio University has organized four webinars bi-weekly from June 17 to July 29. The series include a broad range of topics from health, technology, economy to law. Experts from Japan and around the world provide international perspectives based on their active involvement in fighting against COVID-19. For more information about the webinar series, please visit https://www.kgri.keio.ac.jp/en/news-event/070204.html View the recording here in English.   WEBINAR: Korea University Medicine The Next-Normal Conference 2020 This conference will provide a forum for discussion on predicting the “Next-normal” of human society, including health care, economic growth, development and leadership after COVID-19. Young-Hoon Kim, President of Korea University Medicine says, “it’s time to look for serious concerns and directions for a sustainable human society after COVID-19. We hope that this conference will provide meaningful implications and directions for us in the future, not only in the area of health care but also for social and economic areas of various fields at home and abroad.” The conference will be held in the form of a “hybrid conference” that combines online and offline participation. Date: July 23, 2020 (Thursday) Time: 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Korean Time UTC+9) Enquiries: ​[email protected] Live Broadcast on YouTube. Simultaneous interpretation Korea-English will be provided.   Managing the COVID-19 Pandemic UC Berkeley Self-paced Free Course The course will provide you with a broader and more comprehensive understanding of the pandemic. We have gathered faculty with a wide range of expertise to deliver over 20 lectures addressing essential topics relevant to the prevention and control of this deadly infectious disease that has affected the entire globe. The course starts with an introduction to the history of global pandemics and lessons learned, and then moves on to the biology, epidemiology, diagnostics, and basic concepts in modeling the spread of the virus. The course then shifts to cover prevention and control strategies, including the populations most at risk during this pandemic and the systemic causes of these disparate impacts. Finally, we cover how organizations and individuals are coping, and look at the range of potential health and economic impacts of this pandemic that depend on our global and local responses. The course is followed by a short exam where we allow you to test your knowledge and deepen your learning. Thank you again for your interest in the course. We hope that this course helps you better understand the pandemic and what you can do to respond to it.   WORKSHOP: Using Coronavirus to Teach Science In this new global landscape, how can educators incorporate coronavirus examples to enhance student learning? In this four-week workshop, educators will practice applying principles of active learning, inclusivity, and assessment to develop student learning activities focused on coronavirus in their discipline. Disciplines might include global health, mathematical modeling, biology, epidemiology, sustainability, city planning, and others. Application Deadline: June 20, 2020 Cost: $500 U.S. dollars (If you are interested in attending, but the fee is a barrier, please contact us) Details: July 6 – July 29, 2020 Time: Workshops will be offered at two different times to accommodate a global audience. Mondays and Wednesdays 7-9 a.m. Pacific Time (Central European/Middle East/Africa Time) Mondays and Wednesdays 5-7 p.m. Pacific Time (Asia Pacific Time) We look forward to learning together with a group of educators from around the globe. Please be in touch with Elly Vandegrift, Program Director for Global STEM Education Initiatives with any questions.   [LIVE] “Biases, Norms and Culture: A Framework for Understanding Our Responses to a Pandemic“ Date: June 23, 2020 Time: 16:30 – 17:45 HKT (GMT+8) Register Now The COVID-19 pandemic has put all of us in uncharted territory. No nation is unaffected by the outbreak and there is no uniform formula tackling the crisis. We see varied approaches and responses from cities and individuals.  Join us for the upcoming webinar, as part of the global webinars under the theme “Navigating a World of Disruption”,  in partnership with KTH Royal Institute of Technology to learn how people respond to the pandemic from different perspectives—social & cultural, public health, public transportation, urban planning & design. Through the academic exchanges, we wish to better understand how the new normal will be in the post-pandemic era. Registration closes on June 23 at 12:00 HKT (GMT+8).   Medical Education in Pandemic: Screen to Screen or Face to Face May 22, 2020 16:00-18:00 (HKT) Hosted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong During the COVID-19 pandemic, many medical educators have continued to teach their students by adopting new methods in teaching and assessment. As educators, we believe in learning from experience. In this webinar, we will be sharing experiences from medical teachers and students around the world. The audience will hear that bedside teaching may be possible, online education can be conducted interactively, and social distancing may still be compatible with face to face examinations. Most importantly, the audience can gain some insight into the readiness of our students to be doctors during the pandemic. We will have speakers from Europe, North America, Asia and Australia. Details can be accessed via the CUHK website. Registration is free on a first come, first-serve basis. Everyone is welcome.   Entering the New Realm of International Higher Education Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT) Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia in collaboration with International Relations Centre (UKM Global) The National University of Malaysia (UKM) Email: [email protected] This program aims to discuss the impact that the current Covid-19 has had on international higher education and how universities are reacting to the situation. It follows through the plan of actions done by universities from different parts of the world in dealing with this global battle. The pandemic has changed what traditional teaching and learning environment used to be like and universities have to now accelerate their speed of transformation in adapting to these new challenges. The panel of experts consist from scholars to practitioners from four different regions sharing their experiences in dealing with this unplanned necessary change. The discussion includes their strategy in embracing this new normal of education and the preparations involved in realizing this strategy.   Tsinghua University – Didi Joint Research Center for Future Mobility March 20, 2020 from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (Beijing Time) Combating the Coronavirus with Big Traffic Data – China and the World Stay Hand in Hand, Heart to Heart Meeting Agenda Tsinghua University – Didi Joint Research Center for Future Mobility is holding an online seminar on March 20, 2020 from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (Beijing Time) with the topic “Combating the Coronavirus with Big Traffic Data – China and the World Stay Hand in Hand, Heart to Heart”. The seminar will focus on the applications of big traffic data analytics in coronavirus combat and the experiences that could be shared under international background. In-depth discussions and extensive exchanges will be carried out among leading experts from governments, schools, international organizations and enterprises.   Migrating a Whole University to “Online Real-Time Interactive” Teaching: An Experience-Sharing Forum March 18, 2020 The discussion covered issues such as: Strategic and Technological Decisions​, Faculty and TA Training and Support, Migrating Common Teaching Practices​ (From whiteboards to visualizers), Student Support and Feedback​, Assessments and Exams , and Faculty Experiences​. This webinar is for senior administrators in charge of teaching and learning. A recording of the webinar and resources can be found at the HKUST website.   APRU Members   Australia The Australian National University Contact: Jane O’Dwyer Vice-President (Engagement and Global Relations) Email: [email protected] The University of Queensland https://about.uq.edu.au/coronavirus-advice-uq-community Contact: Mr Rongyu Li Deputy Vice-Chancellor & Vice President (External Engagement) Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) Email: [email protected] The University of Sydney Coronavirus (COVID-19) research and expertise: Information to keep our global community safe Discover the latest research, analysis and podcasts from our University of Sydney experts addressing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Coronavirus (Covid-19) infection: University of Sydney advice   China and Hong Kong SAR The Chinese University of Hong Kong Act Together Against Covid-19: https://againstcovid19.cuhk.edu.hk/ CU Medicine on Covid-19: https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/covid-19 Contact: Ms. Shally Fan, Director of Academic Links, Office of Academic Links, [email protected] Ms. Amy Chan, Senior Programmer Manager, Office of Academic Links, [email protected] The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Covid-19 Info@HKUST https://covid19info.ust.hk Contact: Eliza Tam Manager (Global Engagement & Greater China Affairs) Office of the Vice-President for Institutional Advancement Email: [email protected] Zhejiang University Handbook of COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment officially launched   Chinese Taipei National Taiwan University https://www.ntu.edu.tw/english/spotlight/2020/1797_20200130.html Contact information: Campus Health Center: +886 3366-2156, (Office hours,8AM – 5PM) [email protected] Campus Safety Center: +886 3366-9119, (24hr)[email protected] Chile University of Chile Espacio en la web de la U. de Chile que agrupa los contenidos relacionados al COVID-19: https://www.uchile.cl/covid19 Encuesta de Monitoreo COVID-19 realizada junto al Colegio Médico de Chile Web para consultas para integrantes de la comunidad universitaria U- de Chile Iniciativas de integrantes de la comunidad universitaria en tiempos de pandemia: https://www.uchile.cl/ChileCuentaconlaU Propuesta para una Estrategia Nacional de Salud Mental en contexto de pandemia: https://www.uchile.cl/portal/especiales/covid19/163020/estrategia-nacional-para-salud-mental-propuesta-a-mesa-social-covid-19 Japan Keio University Important Notices on COVID-19 (University Measures) Osaka University Latest information about the novel coronavirus from Osaka University Tohoku University COVID-19 Information and Preventive Measures   Korea Seoul National University Link : SNU Academic Policies and Procedures against COVID-19 Infection Contact : 1) SNU Health Service Center : +82-2-880-5339 (From 9am to 6pm) 2) Gwanak-gu Community Health Center : +82-2-879-7131 (24 Hours) 3) Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(KCDC) : 1339 (24 Hours)   Malaysia Universiti Malaya Creating the future of public health México Tecnológico de Monterrey Coronavirus Covid-19 Coronavirus Announcement – Tecnológico de Monterrey Cuida tu Mente     New Zealand University of Auckland Coronavirus outbreak     Philippines University of the Philippines Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Advice for the UP Community    Singapore National University of Singapore NUS advisories:https://emergency.nus.edu.sg/circulars/ Dean of Students’ updates http://nus.edu.sg/osa/resources/dos-update   Nanyang Technological University, Singapore NTU experts fighting the COVID-19 pandemic on all levels Guide for COVID-19 remote consultation by primary carers designed by NTU Singapore scientist and peers   Thailand Chulalongkorn University Download the complete Summary of Chula’s responses to COVID-19. Chula COVID19 website: https://www.chula.ac.th/en/covid-19/ The Great Digital Leap Forward: https://qswownews.com/the-great-digital-leap-forward/ School of Integrated Innovation, Chulalongkorn University Moves to Hybrid Teaching Model Amidst Corona Outbreak CU Introduces Online Learning Innovation Center   USA University of California Berkeley For travel advisory: https://globalengagement.berkeley.edu/faculty-staff/international-travel-resources For health advisory: https://uhs.berkeley.edu/news/health-advisory-coronavirus-2019-ncov University of California Davis UC Davis Global Affairs: Travel Announcement: Novel Coronavirus UC Davis Dateline: Coronavirus: Travel Warning, Other Cautions UC Davis Student Affairs: Coronavirus Update; Precautions During Cold and Flu Season UC Davis Health: What you need to know about the novel coronavirus   University of California Los Angeles https://www.bso.ucla.edu   University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa https://manoa.hawaii.edu/emergency/coronavirus-update/ Contact: Anderson Sutton Dean, School of Pacific and Asian Studies & Assistant Vice Chancellor for International and Exchange Programs email:  [email protected]   University of Southern California https://emergency.usc.edu   University of Washington Novel coronavirus & COVID-19: facts and resources ALERT: COVID-19 travel restrictions  
May 20, 2020
APRU webinar flags alarming impact of COVID-19 on Women in Higher Education
APRU and the University of Sydney on Dec 2 Hong Kong time hosted the webinar Impact of Covid-19 on Women in Higher Education to share the network’s latest research on how the COVID-19 lockdowns across the world have been affecting gender equality in the academic realm. Held under the APRU Asia Pacific Women in Leadership Program (APWiL), the virtual event featured leading researchers discussing the challenges that women face during the lockdown and strategies to overcome barriers to publishing, forging new research partnerships, and establishing funding. The discussion raised important questions about how research outputs are calculated in consideration for tenure and other career milestones. Moderator Professor Katherine Belov, The University of Sydney Professor of Comparative Genomics and Pro Vice-Chancellor Global Engagement, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, raised the curtain with noting that the OECD recently pointed out that women fuel the fight against COVID-19, making up almost 70% of the health care workforce and making them more vulnerable to infection. “At the same time, women are also shouldering much of the burden at home, given school and child care facility closures and longstanding gender inequalities in unpaid work,” Belov said. “And our own colleagues, women in academia, have suffered a similar fate, with research outputs plummeting during lockdown while men’s have increased,” she added. Dr. Bahar Mehmani, Reviewer Experience Lead in the Global STM journals at Elsevier, presented her latest survey illustrating that a wave of academic publications during the pandemic came mainly to the benefit of male researchers’ careers. In Feb-May, the number of publications submitted to Elsevier increased by a whopping 90% compared to the same period of 2019, compelling Mehmani’s team to look at the submitters’ names in order to guess their gender. The data exposed that while submission increased in all months during the lockdown period, the growth of submissions by female researchers accelerated significantly slower than those by male researchers. Growth was even slower in the late stage of female academics’ careers, leading Mehmani to conclude that especially female researchers in middle age bracket are penalized by closures of their children’s schools. According to Mehmani, this is bound to strengthen long-lasting gender inequalities in the academic world; those who have already benefitted from COVID-19 research inflation may have higher chances in future to receive prestigious grants and obtain tenures and promotions in prestigious institutions. “Flagging, carefully pondering or even disregarding COVID-19 related publications and citations from applicants’ assessments must be considered,” Mehmani said. “Institutional interventions, such as promoting a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable working environment and embracing a family friendly leadership policy in the reopening plans of laboratories and institutes, could help moderate the distortions caused by the pandemic,” she added. Mehmani’s presentation was followed by that of Professor Mai-har Sham, Pro-Vice-Chancellor / Vice-President, Choh-Ming Li Professor of Biomedical Sciences, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Sham shared her research on the situation in Hong Kong and introduced CUHK’s support measures for female academics who are adversely affected by the pandemic. Professor Kalindi Vora, Director of Feminist Research Institute and Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies and Director of the Feminist Research Institute of UC Davis shared perspectives considering how women and women of color are impacted by Covid-19, with already drastic underrepresentation of women and black women in tenure positions, there are additional strains due to caretaking that widen the gender gap even further. Professor Vora shared important initaitves that the Feminist Research Center is taking to provide support such as Addressing Privilege and Anti-Blackness in Research Culture project and ADQ Scholar and Research Training Series. The Asking Different Questions project is funded by the National Science Foundation Innovations in Graduate Education grant (Co-PIs Sara Giordano, Sarah McCullough, and Kalindi Vora). This project explores the following hypothesis: That changing research questions and research agendas will change who is in STEM and the knowledge we produce. The award will provide graduate students with training to locate their research questions within a larger societal context. This will include how to recognize and address issues of historical bias and cultural complexity. By learning to place their research in a broader context, junior researchers are able to better frame complex research questions, particularly those presented by communities traditionally under-served by science. The curriculum also provides support for interdisciplinary collaborations and the inclusion of diverse voices and approaches in STEM research. Professor Joanna Regulska, Vice provost and Dean of Global Affairs and Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, UC Davis reminded participants that there is great potential as part of the APRU network to use our collective knowledge and resources to expand impact in the region. One such opportunitiy is the APRU APWiL Mentoring Program which has just begun its pilot in 2020. More information on the event page For more information about the Asia Pacific Women in Leadership program contact [email protected]
December 22, 2020
Civic Resilience and the COVID-19 Crisis (Part 1 of 2)
By Jeff Hou See the original post here. This series of articles represents the outcomes of a two-part webinar, titled Bottom-Up Resilience and hosted by APRU Plus in July 2020. Through a partnership between Pacific Rim Community Design Network and the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Hub, the discussion brought together a group of activists, organizers, and researchers across the region to critically reflect on their ongoing work in supporting the local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, civil society responses including self-help and mutual aid have become critical to the survival of many individuals and communities, lending a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable populations in our society. In the Seattle area, the ground zero of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, citizen groups and community organizations mobilized to provide food delivery and relief for elderly residents. Makerspaces, architecture firms, and university labs shifted gear to produce Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. Artists volunteered and collaborated with neighborhood organizations to paint murals on boarded-up storefronts to support local businesses and deter vandalism. While many of these efforts may appear to be ad-hoc and spontaneous, others also emerge from longstanding networks and relationships. Together, they represent the emergence of civic resilience — the ability of citizens and communities to cope with and adapt to social, economic, and environmental disturbances. Compared with the common association of resilience with infrastructure projects and scientific analyses, civic resilience suggests the agency and power of individuals and civil society groups in responding to urgent and longstanding challenges. Seattle is far from the only city where such instances exist. Cases of community organizing for self-help and mutual support have also emerged elsewhere during the pandemic, including cities and communities in Asia. Through a two-part webinar titled Bottom-Up Resilience and hosted by APRU Plus in July 2020, a group of activists, organizers, and researchers across the region joined in a dialogue to share lessons and experiences from their ongoing work during the COVID-19 crisis. The webinars set out to examine the following questions: How do communities and social groups self-organize to address challenges during the pandemic, in particular challenges facing the most vulnerable populations in our society? What do these cases have in common? What can we learn from these civil society responses for future planning? What are the roles of researchers, planning and design professionals, and institutions in strengthening community resilience? This essay summarizes the findings and presents the key lesson learned in the hope of advancing the understanding and practices of mutual aid, community self-help, and civic resilience. Pandemic Inequalities With lockdowns, travel restrictions, social distancing requirements, and economic slowdowns, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused enormously disruptive changes to societies around the world. As schools, streets, and other forms of public and private spaces shut down in one city after another, the patterns of daily lives that were once taken for granted had suddenly unraveled. While a large segment of society can afford or manage to work from home, however, others are not as fortunate. As the death toll under COVID-19 has shown, cities and communities have been impacted differently, with the less privileged ones suffering a greater blow. Inequalities and the experiences of the marginalized and unprivileged were the main themes during the webinar with presenters sharing their first-hand accounts working with or learning from the homeless, migrant workers, and street vendors on the front line during the pandemic. In one case after another, we learned that a simple change in how urban spaces were managed could have a substantial impact on the populations that depended on them for their livelihood. In Manila, for instance, Tessa Maria Guazon of the University of the Philippines Diliman reported on the experience of street vendors during the lockdown, sharing that “many of those who sold their goods on the streets had no earnings having lost touch with their loyal customers.” The street that once provided a “semblance of security” was no longer accessible. The restriction imposed on transportation during the lockdown also “put the marginalized at a greater disadvantage,” said Guazon. Changes in mobility during the lockdowns had a disproportionate impact on different segments of the population. According to Iderlina Mateo-Babiano of the University of Melbourne, 80% of the Philippines population is largely dependent on public transport. Banning mass transit to prevent the spread of COVID-19 had a significant impact on those who rely on public transport. “The impact was felt hardest by the essential workers and frontline workers who still had to go to work but had limited mobility choices,” said Mateo-Babiano. In Hong Kong, homeless individuals, or McRefugees, were locked out of their usual refuge as McDonald’s was closed for a month during the lockdown, according to Michelle Wong, former program manager of Impact HK, a charity organization serving the homeless in Hong Kong. For those who had to report to work, such as the street cleaners, long working hours meant that many did not have time to cue up for buying masks even if they could afford to buy them, said Bernard Lee of Fixing Hong Kong, a volunteer organization that organized donations and distribution of PPEs to street cleaners and those in need during the pandemic. For migrant workers in Hong Kong, Cecilia Chu and Marta Catalán Eraso of the University of Hong Kong reported that “fears of contagion meant that employers were largely unwilling to give domestic workers their weekly time-off.” Specifically, they found 29% of the domestic workers have their days off refused. Foreign domestic workers were also not included in the almost HKD 300 billion government fund to assist industries and the public in Hong Kong. Many also do not have access to PPEs, according to Chu and Catalán Eraso. The situation in Singapore is perhaps most telling in terms of the demographic disparities. According to Tan Beng Kiang of the National University of Singapore, 95% of local cases are migrant workers living in the dormitories. The number of COVID cases is significantly high “because of the high-density living in the sharing of common spaces,” said Tan. Other seemingly simple or trivial changes could also have a significant impact on the less privileged. In Tokyo, according to Mago Yoshihira of YUI Associates, a social enterprise organization serving the homeless population in Sanya, during the pandemic people often eat at home and do not go out to drink (at bars or restaurants), resulting in a lot of household cans to collect. The price of cans went down as a result, with the price for one kilogram falling by almost 50% from 80–85 yen to 45 yen. This falling price presented a challenge for people who make a living by collecting cans. Vulnerable populations during the pandemic include not only the homeless and migrants but also those with chronic illnesses. In Wuhan, the first epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, medical resources were squeezed in the city, and many patients with chronic illnesses had difficulties accessing medical care during the lockdown, according to members of the Dinghaiqiao Mutual Aid Society Yang Bao and Shuyun Cao who have been observing volunteer efforts in Chinese cities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Many of the challenges facing marginalized populations have long existed before the pandemic. In Tokyo, chronically homeless people keep living on the street and refuse to receive social benefits, according to Mago Yoshihira. “One of the major reasons for them to refuse services is that they do not like to stay at the institutional facilities […] Usually the bunk beds are provided, or one room has to be shared with another person. There are also lots of restrictions […] it’s not a good environment,” said Yoshihira. In Taiwan, where the local authority has successfully contained the outbreak of COVID-19, the social isolation and spatial segregation experienced by migrant workers during the pandemic was not new, according to Shu-Mei Huang, an Assistant Professor at the National Taiwan University. From an interview with a community worker, she learned that the migrant workers ”are actually better than anyone to live in isolation, and to maintain online, fragmented social interactions.” Organized Civil Society Responses It was in the context of disparities and inequalities faced by the vulnerable and marginalized populations that many of the self-help and mutual aid efforts emerged. At the webinars, it was interesting to hear about not only the range of efforts but also the organizations that undertook the initiatives. Specifically, it is important to note that many of the organizations existed long before the pandemic. Their efforts showed how they have responded and adapted to changing needs in the community, and how existing networks and relationships played critical roles during the crisis. Starting with Manila, Tessa Maria Guazon shared the effort of her research team as part of the Southeast Asia Neighborhoods Network, a project that started in 2017. During the pandemic, the team shifted from research to supporting community partners who were mainly homeless women and itinerant vendors. Using social media, the team solicited donations and organized “survival packs” for distribution to community members. Each survival pack provides one family with a week’s supply of rice, cans of sardines and corned beef, powdered coffee and milk, sugar, bread, and fresh vegetables. Multiple organizations from Hong Kong were featured in the webinars. Fixing Hong Kong is a volunteer group based in Tokwawan, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Hong Kong. Founded in 2015 after the Umbrella Movement, the group provides home repair services as a way to perform outreach to communities to promote democracy and community self-help. With the outbreak of COVID-19, the group shifted gear to organize donations and distribution of masks and hand sanitizers to those in need, particularly street cleaners. As of July, the group has received and distributed over 50,000 masks and several hundred liters of hand sanitizers, according to Bernard Lee. ImpactHK is a charity organization focusing on serving the homeless in Hong Kong. With limited staff, the organization focuses on linking the homeless, volunteers, donors, and their own staff. ImpactHK already had a food distribution program that served about 30 people a day before the pandemic. During the COVID-19 crisis, the program expanded to serve 150 people a day. The group also distributed masks and hand sanitizers, although they found the homeless were more concerned with having a place to stay and addressing other more immediate survival needs, according to Wong. For migrant workers in Hong Kong, many grassroots organizations and unions from the community of domestic workers have been active in providing extra support to those in need. According to Marta Catalán Eraso, these groups reached out to the community and gave away masks and other supplies donated by companies. They also provided moral, legal, and health support. The Indonesian migrant workers union even had an online meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo to discuss these issues. The first-ever global online rally of migrant domestic workers took place with more than 500 participants representing organizations from 39 countries, a testament to the power of the pre-existing networks among the migrant workers. In Singapore, several existing organizations have stepped up during the crisis. According to Tan Beng Kiang, NGOs such as Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach delivered meals to migrant workers who are quarantined or under a stay home order. A Singapore choir group “Voices of Singapore” organized a virtual sing-along for migrant workers and kids to raise funds for migrant workers. During the lockdown, religious spaces opened their premises for the homeless, including Malaysians who commute to work in Singapore each day but were stranded overnight because of the sudden lockdown and border closure. In Wuhan, the NGO Wuhan LGBT Center provided health counseling and medicine delivery for HIV patients. They also set up a mutual support WeChat group for people to borrow HIV medication in emergencies. According to a report by Jean Chong of OurRight Action International, “between January 26 until the end of lockdown on April 8, the Center delivered medicine to an average of 200 persons daily,” and “an estimated 14,000 persons received 130,000 bottles of medicine over the entire 74 days of lockdown.” In the Wanhua District of Taipei, a historic district with a high concentration of poor and elderly populations, the dense network of existing social service organizations provided much-needed support for the area’s residents and businesses. With large public gatherings banned during the early part of the pandemic in Taiwan, the network of organizations successfully moved a market event online. The event typically held three times a year since 2016 has been important for supporting local businesses and social enterprises. The success of the online event encouraged the event partners to continue working together, according to Shu-Mei Huang. In Tokyo, YUI Associates is a social enterprise that runs hostel-like hotels and a cafe in Sanya, a neighborhood historically known for a concentration of day laborers and homeless people. The organization operates two hotels for travelers and a third one to serve the homeless and provide them with a more comfortable and dignified environment. During the COVID-19 crisis, the group used one of its travelers’ hotels to accommodate chronically homeless individuals during the emergency declaration. It continues to provide food deliveries in the area for the homeless. Besides formal organizations, informal social networks also played an important role during the crisis. In Manila, Tessa Maria Guazon found that the drives for food provision during the first few weeks of the city-wide lockdown have relied on social media networks. “There was a resurgence of community kitchens, and efforts were pooled between individuals and the many citizen groups that social media helped gather,” said Guazon. In Hong Kong, Bernard Lee argued that many of these civil society responses during COVID-19 in Hong Kong have their roots in the protest movement in 2019. “Because of the protests, we are much better at organizing ourselves,” said Lee. Among the migrant workers in Hong Kong, there was also informal sharing of masks and sanitizers, as well as emotional support for those returning to their home countries under the lockdown, according to Marta Catalán Eraso. Emerging Mutual Aid and Community Self-Help Besides the existing networks and organizations, the recent crisis also saw the emergence of several new groups and self-organized initiatives. The formation of these efforts suggests new possibilities of community self-help and new forms of civic organizing. They also suggest the potential of civil society particularly in places where such a phenomenon was not expected or was not prominent historically. In Singapore, a society arguably without a strong tradition of civic actions, there has been an outpouring of support for mutual aid and community self-help during the pandemic. A group of students from the National University of Singapore volunteered as translators for the migrant workers with a hospital, “They translated common questions the doctors would ask workers into voice recording and text. (in five languages — Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Myanmar, and Chinese). These were used by the doctors when they communicated with the workers,” said Tan Beng Kiang. On the campus of the National University of Singapore, with a dormitory converted into a community recovery facility where migrant workers discharged from the hospital came to recover, students collected t-shirts and delivered them to the workers (as they could not go back to pick up their belongings) and offered financial literacy classes for the workers. At the Nanyang University of Technology, with the school in lockdown and the canteen closed, an undergraduate student who had just opened a noodle shop in the canteen decided to cook for hundreds of elderly citizens with donations from a crowdfunding campaign. With students having to engage with home-based learning during the lockdown, a group of volunteers formed a group called Community Against COVID that repaired laptops for students in need so that they could continue learning at home. Other groups included “Masks Sewn with Love” that “sewed masks from their home for the homeless, migrant workers, and other vulnerable groups,” said Tan. In Manila, Life Cycles PH was formed by a team of transport advocates, cyclists, and social media campaigners to provide bicycles to frontline workers in need of transport during the community quarantine. According to Iderlina Mateo-Babiano, through the donation of bikes and funds to purchase bicycles in bulk from suppliers, the group has delivered over 1,000 bikes to hospitals and institutions. Also, they have been able to match more than 400 bike lenders to borrowers in the community. Mobility and transportation during the pandemic was a challenge not just in Manila. In Wuhan, known as China’s punk rock capital, music fans from two renowned live houses together with other participants formed a group called LuMo Road Rescue. The group coordinated and gave rides to medical workers during the city’s extraordinary lockdown. Starting with mobility support, the group has since branched out to coordinate donations and distribution of personal protection supplies to those in need, including local hospitals. Wuhan was the site of many other self-help and mutual aid efforts, including those that serve the socially marginalized populations. According to Yang Bao and Shuyun Cao, volunteers formed a support group for pregnant women especially single mothers and same-sex partners. There were also pet owners who organized a support network to care for abandoned pets and those whose owners were missing or could not return to their apartments during the lockdown. The emergence of these novel, self-organized initiatives illustrates the possibilities for community self-help and mutual aid even in societies with a tradition or system of top-down governance. It suggests that when called for by extraordinary circumstances, community groups and informal networks may leap into action. Yet it is also quite possible that these self-help efforts have long existed but were overshadowed by the state institutions and cultural biases that fail to recognize these survival mechanisms.
September 17, 2020
Civic Resilience and the COVID-19 Crisis (Part 2 of 2)
By Jeff Hou See the original post here. This series of articles represents the outcomes of a two-part webinar, titled Bottom-Up Resilience and hosted by APRU Plus in July 2020. Through a partnership between Pacific Rim Community Design Network and the APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Hub, the discussion brought together a group of activists, organizers, and researchers across the region to critically reflect on their ongoing work in supporting the local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learning from Civil Society and Civic Resilience What exactly can we learn from these different types of civil society responses during the pandemic? What do these cases tell us about social and community resilience from the bottom up? What do they reveal about the longstanding disparities in society? What can we look forward to in terms of sustaining these networks and momentum? Contrasting responses Besides the disproportionate impacts on the mainstream society and the marginalized communities, the contrasting responses from the state and the civil society groups present another parallel across the different geographical contexts. In Manila, Tessa Maria Guazon found the state’s bureaucratic response to daily emergencies like food supply, mass testing for the virus, and the provision of public transport to be, as usual, delayed and inadequate. As a result, communities turned to self-help and mutual aid as a way to address urgent needs, a pattern also found elsewhere. The experience in China offers a different scenario. In Wuhan, the local government did react relatively quickly but failed to account for the less privileged. Yang Bao and Shuyun Cao argued that “as the pandemic spread, the government’s one-size-fits-all directives could not respond to the detailed needs of all sectors of society.” It was in this context that the self-organized civil networks have emerged in response to the urgent needs of those who have not been helped. In Tokyo, the support from the government in terms of temporary accommodation for the homeless was critical but short-lived. After seven days during the crisis, “people were back on the streets,” said Mago Yoshihira. She went to note, “we were worried about them and that was why we started free ‘food delivery’ to homeless people […] so we can visit them directly and conduct short interviews each time.” “Face-to-face conversation is best to feel empathy,” said Yoshihira. YUI Associates also began to accept people who had newly become homeless due to COVID-19 and assisted them in finding jobs, according to Yoshihira. In other cases, the government response has been a source of longstanding challenges. In Hong Kong, Michelle Wong described the dilemmas faced by the homeless and social service organizations, “even before COVID-19, they stay in tunnels; they stay on the streets, or they stay in McDonald’s.” “They move around quite often, and the reason why they need to move is that the government would remove their stuff in the tunnel or park frequently,” said Wong. This has made the work of volunteers and social service organizations difficult because they cannot locate the homeless, build relationships, and provide support for them. Trust and empathy As a discussant on the first day of the webinar, Kian Goh of the University of California, Los Angeles highlighted the presence of place-based and historically informed local experiences as illustrated by the speakers. Goh noted that many community self-help and mutual aid practices “really have to be built on trust and empathy […] developed among close-knit circles.” Indeed, local practices that built trust and empathy appeared to have played an important role in engendering community responses during the COVID-19 crisis. In Manila, Tessa Maria Guazon pointed out the notion of Namamangketa as “a way of life” and “a manner of thriving” among the community members she worked with. Asked about how empathy was developed, Guazon noted that empathy among the women partners was built from shared experiences, particularly the struggles with local law enforcement and government. Working with the women partners through the SEANNET project, she learned that a way to live together was “to be with another, to feel the pain of another, to empathize with others.” In the case of LuMo Road Rescue in Wuhan, Yang Bao found trust was already established and deeply rooted in the group, “making the rescue, their donation [drive], and mobilization of resources [go] quite smoothly.” Iderlina Mateo-Babiano also found community resilience to be underpinned by trust in the case of Life Cycles PH. She noted that many of the transactional activities, including the borrowing of bicycles, were based on trust and community spirit or Bayanihan. “There was no money involved; transactions were just purely made on trust and generosity within the community Facebook group,” said Mateo-Babiano. Asked about how trust was developed for Life Cycles PH, Mateo-Babiano suggested that the transactions became a form of relationship building. Following the online transactions, “the group would go and meet up with people to exchange bicycles,” said Mateo-Babiano. The social media platform also allows the group to build trust by being transparent about their actions. Reciprocity and Scalability As place-based and locally-specific actions, Kian Goh wondered about the potential of looking across scales to include different community groups and different levels of government, and if these efforts are bound to one place and one community. In other words, are these civil society responses scalable? In Singapore, Tan Beng Kiang found an untapped resource of people who are interested in helping: “I think there are a lot of people during the lockdown who were at home and they all want to do something [to help] but they can’t get out,” said Tan. Tapping into the potential of these individuals presents opportunities for scaling up. In Manila, Tessa Maria Guazon found evidence of “a cycle of generative reciprocity” in the example of a chef who converted her restaurant kitchen into a community kitchen and came up with a set of guidelines for establishing community kitchens and for making them safe. A colleague from the university then translated the guidelines into Tagalog or Filipino so they can be widely circulated. “It keeps these efforts going. Some of us may fall out because of fatigue but I think others will be interested to help,” said Guazon. In the case of Life Cycles PH, beyond facilitating the lending and borrowing of bikes, Mateo-Babiano found the group to have expanded their advocacy to create a culture of cycling, “a culture of just and sustainable mobility for everyone.” This includes pushing the government to build more bike lanes and cycling infrastructure to make cycling safe. She found that the conversation has moved from short-term emergency response to long-term needs for expanded infrastructure for more equitable and safer mobility. In the migrant worker community in Hong Kong, Cecilia Chu and Marta Catalán Eraso came across additional actors that served to bridge multiple scales. For instance, they highlighted the role of banks in lending technical support to the workers as they might become future clients. “This suggests that self-help is not really entirely independent […] there is a kind of intricate relationship between institutional engagement and community self-help,” said Chu and Catalán Eraso. Solidarity and collaboration The answer to scalability perhaps already exists in the way that many of these groups and initiatives operate, through collaboration and acts of solidarity. In answering my own question about how organizations adapted to crises and how such adaptation can sustain in the long run, Iderlina Mateo-Babiano sees the sharing paradigm as key, particularly when “fueled by the ongoing advocacy and solidarity of like-minded individuals,” and “a common concern for social justice and human connection.” Michelle Wong had a similar response, “as an organizer I always go back to solidarity as a solution.” For instance, the COVID-19 crisis has led ImpactHK to consider forming a network of homeless advocacy organizations in Hong Kong to address the problem effectively and to lobby the government. “At the end of the day, the government is the resourceful, powerful kind of machine that can do much more than a small organization like us,” said Wong. Collaboration already played a critical role in the ongoing work of ImpactHK. During the crisis, the organization hosted around 200 homeless individuals by partnering with guest houses for travelers. In another instance, to learn about the issues facing the street cleaners and to better support them, Fixing Hong Kong organized a learning session for volunteers with the Hong Kong Cleaning Workers Union so they can “understand more about the difficulty that these street cleaners face,” said Bernard Lee. In Singapore, during the crisis, some of the existing NGO groups have formed a coalition because their work is similar. Instead of everyone trying to replicate others’ activities, “they are combining,” said Tan Beng Kiang. According to Tan, the groups are also partnering with the government because during the crisis, “there are things you can’t do unless you get permission, such as entering the quarantined migrant worker dormitory.” As a result, “there’s now a partnership going on between the government and the NGO groups,” said Tan. Spontaneous solidarity can also take place across borders. In Tokyo, where masks were in short supply during the COVID-19 outbreak between March and June of 2020, YUI Associates received donations of masks from regular customers of their tourist hotel in Sanya. According to Mago Yoshihira, more than 1,200 masks were sent from Shanghai and Hong Kong where the number of infections had declined at the time. YUI members brought these donated masks to rough sleepers and the homeless populations in Sanya as well as a terminal care facility for homeless individuals and a hospital. In answering the question about how civil society responses can be sustained, Tessa Maria Guazon suggests that this can be supported through multi-nodal efforts: “When people work at various scales, if one group suffers fatigue, then another catches them.” Similarly, Masato Dohi, co-founder of ARCH, reflected on the voluntary effort of Tokyo Street Count: “[with] just a small group of two or three people, we can only count a small part of the city and small part of the homeless population, but with hundreds of people we can count the homeless people in Tokyo.” (Nao Kasai further notes that the robustness of the count is not the focus of the argument, but rather that societal inclusivity starts from “I recognize you” at the grassroots level. “Our Tokyo Street Count is an effort to scale up this ‘I’ to ‘we,’ so we can say ‘we recognize you all’ as a society,” said Kasai.) Collaboration and solidarity are indeed keys to how responses of civil society, albeit often modest in scale and capacity, can have a greater collective impact during a crisis and in the long run. They enable groups to maintain autonomy and self-manage while working toward a common goal. By pooling together resources of different kinds, it creates efficiency and allows groups to adapt to changing needs and circumstances and scale-up. Barriers to Civil Society Responses With lockdowns and other extraordinary constraints during the COVID-19 pandemic, civil society responses have their share of challenges and difficulties as well. In Tokyo, Nao Kasai noted that because of limited capacity, the work of ARCH on street homelessness had to shrink. “Many street support activities rely on volunteers, and service providers had to redesign or stop their activities without volunteers during the pandemic,” said Kasai. As a social enterprise, YUI Associates faced a financial challenge during the crisis. With almost no guests by April, they had to close one of the hotels to reduce costs even though the demand from the homeless population has increased, including people who require special care. Other aspects of the widespread lockdown during COVID-19 posed additional difficulties. In Manila, residents from San Roque, an informal settlement in Manila’s northeast protested against the local government during the lockdown. They were dispersed and later arrested as they were deemed by the police to be defying the law against public gatherings. In Hong Kong, where there was already a ban on public gatherings issued by the government to rein in the civil unrest, volunteers handing food to the homeless in the park received warnings from the police because of the restrictions against public gatherings. “I know that some of our homeless friends. They get tickets. They get warnings and tickets from the police,” said Michelle Wong. She suspected that the police were using the ban to “scare them off from the park.” “I think they make use of COVID to get what they want right now because of the protests and also for the homeless; they don’t want them,” said Wong. Faced with this challenge, volunteers of ImpactHK resorted to a flash mob tactic to continue serving food in the park next to their office. Physical and mental fatigue came up as another important issue in the conversation. Tessa Maria Guazon described her experience in Manila, “after what we did for our women partners, I was totally just exhausted.” In her concluding thought on the first day of the webinar series, Shuyun Cao suggested, “we should not over-emphasize contribution or devotion to a great goal […] I think in that way individuals will be swallowed by those great goals.” Instead, she suggests attention to self-care and individual mental health, “then the empathy fatigue will not be that serious,” said Cao. Besides fatigue, it is also important to critically reflect on other challenges facing mutual aid and self-help. Cecilia Chu argued, “all these self-help practices [by migrant workers] when we presented them seemed very positive and enlightening, but in Hong Kong, it’s been really not seen as part of the civic engagement in the eyes of most of the local residents.” Furthermore, she suggested that the community self-help was in fact a reflection of their marginalized position “that so far has not been really breached.” Lastly, Shu-Mei Huang suggested that even with all the focus on the marginalized groups through civil society responses, some groups might still be left out. For instance, while we have better understood the struggles of the domestic workers, we still know rather little about factory workers and fishers, “migrant fishermen […] really can’t make it to public space over the weekend because they don’t have a weekend.” Implications and Lessons for Planning and Design Practices A key question on both days of the discussion concerns the implications and lessons of civic resilience for planning and design professionals, the main audience of the webinars. Iderlina Mateo-Babiano responded with a reflection on her training as a planner, “when I hear the stories […] I think that’s one of the learnings that as a planner we should take on.” “Sometimes we think that we know what are the lived experiences of those for whom we provide public spaces, but actually what we have thought of as the right solution, the right public space, may not really be the right one for the users,” said Mateo-Babiano. For Tan Beng Kiang, a key lesson from the civil society responses was simply to act. She thinks that as designers or as educators, “we can encourage our students to act, even if they are locked down at home or with limited access to visit [a site], etc., what is it that they can do to help? What is it they can do within their community?” Indeed, the cases presented by the webinar speakers would not have been possible without the actions and initial responses. Whether there have been pre-existing networks or not, the most critical aspect of community self-help has been the will and ability to act. While the focus of the urgent and immediate relief was critical, in the grand scheme of things, it’s also important to identify how civic resilience can be supported and cultivated on an everyday basis before and beyond the moment of crisis. As suggested by the role of pre-existing networks and organizations, it is important to engage these networks and organizations in the planning and design of neighborhoods, districts, cities, and regions, and ensure such engagement can help build capacity and strengthen relationships among the groups. Opportunities also need to be provided for those without formal affiliations. As evident in the outcomes of the pandemic, social disparities have been an acute form of vulnerability that threatens not only the underserved and underprivileged but also the society at large. As these social and economic disparities are often reinforced by the built environment, planning and design professions, by and large, have been accomplices to a structure that produces and reproduces these inequalities. Addressing these disparities and closing the gaps requires the built environment professions to play a more self-critical role and reflect on longstanding assumptions and practices. As we rebuild cities and communities to avoid future outbreaks of infectious diseases, we must ensure that the voices of the less privileged are not left out. As evident from the cases highlighted in the webinars, a seemingly insignificant change in the everyday environment and everyday life can have a significant impact on the vulnerable populations. Additionally, a well-intended policy or measure can have unintended consequences especially if the concerns of those who are not at the table are not accounted for. We must avoid the pitfalls that have plagued the rescue, relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts in the past that have deprived rather strengthened the communities in need. Finally, as Kian Goh noted during the webinar, “mutual aid community self-help is not a cure-all.” There are structural issues that will require much more substantial effort and perseverance. But as the experiences highlighted through the webinar have indicated, seemingly robust structures can fail and when they do, civic resilience can play an important role in saving lives and supporting communities in need. Furthermore, changing and rebuilding the structures will also require the efforts of civil society in holding the state and institutions accountable. A deeper and more critical understanding of civic resilience is the first step toward the long-term safeguarding of cities and communities beyond the pandemic.
September 17, 2020
APRU Global Health experts co-publish insights on global health ethics in the time of COVID-19
APRU Global Health Working Groups provide a platform for experts and scholars to develop joint-research and share lessons-learnt. During a webinar held in May 2020, experts brought together by the Global Health Bioethics Working Group examined ethical challenges in both research and clinical care associated with COVID-19. The inter-disciplinary and international nature of the event offered participating scholars the unique opportunity to analyze these challenges from diverse perspectives and publish the findings in the Journal of Global Health Science. View the paper here. Find out details about the authors and the webinar here.
September 16, 2020
COVID-19 starts push for more interdisciplinary research
By Yojana Sharma Original post in University World News While many university leaders around the world fear post-COVID budget cuts due to squeezed economies and – for many host countries – a drop in fee income from foreign students staying at home, top universities in Hong Kong and Singapore say their research funding is relatively secure, which enables them to take a longer view. The disruption caused by pandemic lockdowns affected day-to-day university work and research, but COVID-19’s impact on all sectors of society has opened the window to changes in research towards tackling societal challenges that require a longer perspective and an interdisciplinary approach. “We should think out of the box and [take] the long-term perspective,” Wei Shyy, president of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), told University World News. “We are not just trying to fight this particular pandemic. There are many large humanity-level challenges.” Research needs to be “purpose-driven” and interdisciplinary, Shyy said, adding that while this is often talked about, until now it has not been accorded sufficient energy or motivation. Shyy said there had been a move towards a more short-term approach to research in recent years. But as a result of COVID-19, “we have seen how connected many issues are, not just science and technology, but also policy, psychology, economics, culture and many other areas.” The university is encouraging academics and researchers to be aware of societal challenges in selecting research topics, even in fundamental research. “It’s not just pandemic research, but the pandemic has been an example. We are not de-emphasising any particular research area, just encouraging more mission-oriented thinking at the earliest stage,” Shyy said. “The research focus will definitely change to look at the more pressing issues of the aftermath of COVID-19, as well as some of the important challenges uncovered by COVID-19,” Tan Eng Chye, president of the National University of Singapore (NUS), told University World News. “Singapore has always been very forward-looking in not cutting the research budget,” Tan noted. In late May, ahead of a general election, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat unveiled an early budget for 2021, against the backdrop of the International Monetary Fund’s prediction that Asia, which saw the fastest growth globally in the past decade, would see zero growth in 2020 – the worst growth performance in 60 years. Heng announced SG$20 billion (US$14 billion) in basic and applied research funding for 2021-25, to also include research into “solutions for some of the world’s major challenges”. The current five-year research budget to 2021 is around SG$19 billion. “COVID-19 has given us an opportunity. We have resources now and this is perhaps a good time to make big changes to put us in a better position for the future. We do not want change to be forced on us, but to lead the change,” said Tan. With research funding secured, “we need to relook at our systems and how to make them more robust, to be able to adapt to shocks and shockproof our institutions and our community. But it also begs the question of the relevance of the university. The way we teach, we learn, the way we do research,” Tan said, referring to the need for a cross-disciplinary approach that will affect all areas. “Collaborations will be very important because we do not have a wide spectrum of skill sets and knowledge for a complex problem like a pandemic. COVID-19 throws at us problems and challenges that no single discipline is able to address. Because we don’t have all the strengths in one university, collaboration between universities will be important,” says Tan. “Universities have to depend on globalisation and the free flow of information because this is how we do research. We have to leverage off one another,” Tan added. “We hope that universities can stop the trend of de-globalisation and perhaps regionalisation, which we feel is not a good trend.” Even during the pandemic, NUS set up a major new collaboration with Peking University in Beijing on public health crisis management to exchange case studies on COVID-19 control in China and Singapore. “Peking University will have access to a lot of data and information, vital for COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccine development,” Tan added, while Singapore points to a very high survival rate as something other countries can emulate in improving public health systems. Climate change and other global challenges Shyy and Tan both mention climate change and climate change mitigation and resilience as future challenges to focus on, as well as artificial intelligence, automation and Industry 4.0. “During the pandemic crisis we noticed information security and cyber-security were threatened, so that is very important,” Tan said, pointing to the need to invest in backup IT systems. He added that COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of Industry 4.0. “A lot of this is already on our radar, but COVID-19 has accentuated the importance of this area and that we have to work on this much faster.” He pointed to longer term food security as a new research area, referring to the disruption in food supplies from neighbouring countries during the pandemic. Singapore depends on imports for 95% of its food, with only 5% produced nationally. “Over the next 10 years we need to increase that to 30%,” Tan said. “It is possible with urban farming, agritech and aquatech, and we need to research these.” University research collaborations slowed during the pandemic due to travel restrictions, but the university leaders said they will become stronger again. COVID-19 research Universities like HKUST and NUS, which serve densely populated urban areas, were quick to align research to the needs of the health system and society. The campuses at HKUST and NUS were mainly closed during their respective lockdowns. But in Singapore some 200 researchers continued with COVID-19 related research through lockdown in a shift system to minimise contact, developing among other things a ‘symptom checker’, now widely used in Singapore, which helped in stepping up COVID-19 testing. The Duke-NUS Medical School identified the neutralising antibodies for serological testing for highly accurate testing for antibodies that work against the COVID-19 virus. Some HKUST researchers were already involved in research stemming from the 2003 SARS outbreak which could be re-geared for COVID-19, for example, an anti-microbial liquid which can be sprayed on surfaces and is effective for three months. Another project brought into practice was an autonomous vehicle to deliver food and medical supplies without needing a driver. “Usually universities are considered to be a kind of ivory tower, but we have never been so closely linked to aspects of daily life,” Shyy said. Push towards interdisciplinarity Beyond the immediate crisis, the consensus among university leaders of the need for more interdisciplinary research is strong. Agile institutions like HKUST and NUS are determined to use changes in attitudes in academia to push through important reforms at the institutional level. Tan pointed to his own plans for NUS for “tearing down structures that inhibit interdisciplinarity”. “We are going to have a big overhaul of our academic system, by freeing up the structure and injecting more flexibility for departments and faculties to collaborate across disciplines. I’m also changing the financing and budgeting of our NUS system to facilitate this,” he said, adding that the changes will affect every university faculty and department. He acknowledged it will not be easy and there will be resistance within the university community. But the goal and timetable are clear. After changing the institutional structure, “the next step is to build a critical mass of faculty passionate about interdisciplinarity,” he said, noting that he believes he can achieve these changes within two years. “This would also have to factor in how we recognise and reward faculty members,” he said. But convincing students could take longer. “We need to ensure interdisciplinary research can feed on education and vice versa. It’s important for learners to accept this. We will have to work hard to make sure our students buy in. “Students would be easier to convince when we expose them to real life problems, to internships and experiences outside of the university in the real world,” Tan said. “We are trying to get the employers on board and, I guess, once senior students have gone through this and have seen the benefit, they will impress on junior students to ask for more.” New campus In Hong Kong, Shyy is keenly aware that interdisciplinary structures are extremely difficult to bring into an existing university, even one as young as HKUST, which was founded in 1991. “You have a disciplinary establishment – the departments, the schools – already in place. They are here to stay and they should stay, but on top of the disciplines you want to build bridges which is very hard because that is not human nature,” he said. “We need a reset, but the reset cannot replace what you’re already doing in your current place. That’s why we decided to have a new campus devoted to cross-disciplinary pursuits, starting with the academic structure. It won’t have traditional disciplinary units, everything there will be flexible and adaptive.” Shyy is referring to the new campus being developed by HKUST across the border in China’s southern province of Guangdong, with funding from the Guangzhou city government. It is scheduled to open in 2022 and will eventually double the faculty numbers and size of the existing university in Hong Kong. It will offer cross-disciplinary graduate programmes, for example, in autonomous systems, big data, public policy, population and socio-economic development. Other areas are sustainable energy, environment, equity or inequality of wealth, urban policies and city planning and development. Some 250 graduate students have already been enrolled, starting their programmes on the Hong Kong campus. It will have new, additional resources. “So we can have healthy research without upsetting the existing work that we are good at.” Shyy described the role of the twin campuses, with the current Hong Kong campus continuing with discipline-based and interdisciplinary research. “But from the ground up the new campus will be cross-disciplinary with disciplinary depth and support drawn from our current campus, which in turn will tap into the China campus’s cross-disciplinary energy and resources,” he said. “There will be two systems which don’t have to force each other to compromise. They will run in parallel, and we will leverage the talents and the approach from each other.” While the project has been in planning for two years, “the pandemic provides even stronger motivation,” Shyy noted. “Coincidently, it is a very timely opportunity.”
July 25, 2020
COVID-19 apps – Are there enough ethical safeguards?
By Yojana Sharma originally published in University World News   Several countries and cities in Asia were able to swiftly control local outbreaks of COVID-19 in part due to the use of contact-tracing apps which locate and isolate those who have been in contact with a patient, to better contain contagion. However, such mobile phone apps have raised data privacy and bioethical issues around their use in public health. “Public health relies on good quality surveillance,” noted Angus Dawson, professor of bioethics and director of Sydney Health Ethics at the University of Sydney, Australia. However, “contact tracing can generate all kinds of ethical problems,” he said, speaking at a June webinar organised by the bioethics group of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities’ (APRU) Global Health Program, noting that it raises issues of privacy, informed consent and confidentially. “One of the concerns is what actually is the data being collected,” said Dawson. “How much of it is identifiable data in relation to particular individuals?” “It is not just a technical issue but a medical one too,” he said, adding that “every intervention in the COVID area has to involve ethical considerations – whether we are talking about distribution of protective equipment, ICU beds, or hopefully in the future when we might have some vaccines.” Apps in use in the region include the Alipay Health Code app in China, which codes people as green or red depending on their health status and requires identity card details as well as full face scans. Hong Kong has the StayHomeSafe app combined with a wristband linked with the app. Developed by Gary Chan, a professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the app maps a unique footprint of a person’s locality. Stepping out beyond certain perimeters triggers an alert. Taiwan’s Intelligent Electronic Fences System app uses different measures, but with similar functionality. New Zealand’s NZ COVID Tracer app is based on a ‘digital diary’ of places visited by individuals by scanning the official QR codes, which can alert and be shared with contact tracers. Singapore’s TraceTogether app, developed by the Government Technology Agency together with the Ministry of Health, exchanges short-distance Bluetooth signals between mobile phones to detect other TraceTogether users in close proximity. The data is shared once the individual is contacted by contact tracers. The Singaporean app has also been adopted in Japan and Australia. Some of the apps have supplementary functions where individuals can input symptoms to create an alert. What happens to the data? Calvin Ho, associate professor in the faculty of law at the University of Hong Kong researching health and biomedical technologies, said international health regulations drawn up by the World Health Organization (WHO) “put a lot of emphasis on technological surveillance as well as rapid technological advances, but it did not quite anticipate the developments that have arisen from this particular [coronavirus] outbreak”. In many of the countries and cities where mobile phone use is high, such apps “have been very effective in controlling the rate of infections – many of the cities did not have to introduce a complete lockdown”, Ho said during the webinar. “However, privacy is a huge question. We do not yet know what is going to happen to the data,” Ho said. “There needs to be public discussion on what principles of data protection have to be observed.” For the public to be willing to take part, trust and transparency is crucial, he added. “In the midst of an outbreak, as we have seen in South Korea, for example, people are very conscious about social responsibility. There’s a very strong societal and peer emphasis so people tend not to invoke their right [to privacy] straight away. That seems to be the phenomena right across East Asia,” he said. But also in Australia and New Zealand, people were extremely cooperative. In Western Europe and the United States, people have been more vocal on privacy issues. “Privacy has not been highlighted as a huge issue across Asia, particularly in the initial stages,” Ho said. “But it does not mean these concerns are not there. Individuals remain concerned about what’s going to be used out of all the data that’s been collected about them. It’s very vivid in their minds.” Involvement of tech giants Ho described the use of such mobile technologies as a form of “mass surveillance”. Some ethical principles are not always followed with surveillance, he noted. The WHO Guidelines on Ethical Issues in Public Health Surveillance, published in 2017, state: “Those responsible for surveillance should identify, evaluate, minimise and disclose risks for harm before surveillance is conducted. Monitoring for harm should be continuous, and, when any is identified, appropriate action should be taken to mitigate it.” Ho, who helped draft the WHO guidelines, noted that they were drawn up with governments and public health systems in mind, rather than corporations or NGOs. Ho pointed to the involvement of technology giants such as Google and Apple in developing some of the apps in use during the pandemic, which raises questions of “whether we are further empowering very powerful industry players with control over public health measures”, and added that it is unclear what such companies will do with the data. “Technically, the data will be owned by these commercial developers. With other contact-tracing apps there should be an agreement with the public at the authority and then the data belongs to the public health authority,” Ho told University World News. Ho added that if such companies are not carefully monitored, “then ultimately it does mean that these huge commercial entities could potentially exploit public health systems and potentially vulnerable individuals, essentially for political gains or some kind of influence over government”. Balance of public health and privacy Dawson, who is also one of the drafters of the WHO guidelines, said COVID needs to be thought about as a “global ethical issue, and not just a concern to an individual”. Issues of data ethics and the balance of personal privacy often “come down to the advantages we might have through having that data”, Dawson said. Public health systems “can have very good reasons to try to understand what the levels of infection are in different regions and cities across the world and then use that to plan how they are going to respond”. He noted that with some of the recent contact-tracing apps, “some of that data is identifiable and some is not”. “We should not just think public good versus privacy. There are ways to try to think about how they are both important and we can put protections in place, for example putting coding attached to individual level data to make sure individuals can’t be identified,” Dawson said. Research ethics Bioethical principles used in conducting medical research can be useful in guiding use and data issues surrounding such apps. This kind of surveillance “is very similar to research in many ways”, said Ho. “It can involve similar methodologies and activities. These can include systematic investigation, medical record review and data mining.” Both involve human subjects and both can raise similar ethical issues, including exposure of subjects to risk, standards of care and questions about informed consent. However, Ho pointed out: “Informed consent is a basic tenet of research ethics, but it is often not sought in the context of surveillance.” Biomedical research has strong regulations in place and systems overseen by ethical committees in universities, hospitals and research institutions. “There is less institutional oversight for surveillance, which means app-based surveillance, data and research derived from it may not undergo ethics committee reviews,” Ho said. With academics and researchers well trained and experienced with research ethics, they can contribute to improving bioethical aspects of surveillance, Ho said, adding that university input into issues of data governance, accountability and transparency measures were likely in the wake of the pandemic. Mellissa Withers, associate professor at the department of preventative medicine at the University of Southern California in the US and director of the APRU Global Health Program, said the bioethics group within the APRU programme would continue to look at such issues to inform policy-makers. “A lot of the experts are involved in research ethics committees, and they are very active in reviewing the ethics of human subject research in their own universities, but more needs to be done across universities and, in particular, there is a real need for sharing and doing training in low- and middle-income countries,” she noted. “There was a lot of interest from [those in] the Philippines and Indonesia attending the webinar which shows they really want some guidelines and recommendations on bioethics. They are interested in building capacity around these areas and learning what’s going on in the field. “Structured regulation needs to be in place or at least these ethical issues need to be considered because there is the opportunity for [data] misuse by governments,” Withers told University World News. “We need more standardised policies that can be implemented across countries because it won’t go away even after COVID-19. The amount of data collected for public health purposes is growing exponentially every year.”
July 4, 2020
APRU x IRIDeS Webinar: Multi-hazards Approach and COVID-19
originally published in Tohoku University Tohoku University’s International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) and the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Multi Hazards Program hosted a seminar online on June 17 to discuss strategies and early recovery lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. Moderated by Professor Rajib Shaw of Keio University, the international panel of speakers represented perspectives from the United Nations, government, the private sector and academia. Shaw described the COVID-19 pandemic as “one of the longest live disasters” of our time, and warned of seasonal dangers, such as typhoons and heatwaves, that still await. “It will be a long journey so we need some strategies to learn to live with risk.”   Kicking off the lectures was Yong-kyun Kim, Director General of South Korea’s National Disaster and Safety Control Center. He attributed his country’s success in “flattening the curve,” to decisive and transparent government policies and the extensive use of innovative technology. He cited regular government updates through text messaging and other forms of communication that helped authorities win the public’s trust and cooperation. ICT-based systems and mobile phone apps also gave the government some control in monitoring persons from high risk areas or those who are supposed to be in quarantine. But perhaps the most effective Korean response to the pandemic was the widespread testing, contact tracing and rigorous treatment, which Kim described as “the 3T strategy.” An innovative drive-through testing method allowed people to be tested from their cars, or to walk through a booth. Because the RT-PCR tests could return diagnostic results within six hours, positive cases were dealt with quickly, said Kim. Loretta Hieber Girardet, who heads the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction for Asia and the Pacific, explained how the UN has been working to prevent COVID-19 from derailing the work that had been going on around the world on achieving Sustainable Development Goals. “The world has been looking at COVID-19 as a health crisis, but it goes far beyond that,” she said, adding that the UN has been developing a framework to support countries on issues like urbanization, gender equality, human rights and green recovery. Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, President of the Philippines National Resilience Council, spoke on how the private sector can build resilience, and had three recommendations: understand local risks and vulnerabilities, invest in early detection and warning systems, and have a pre-disaster recovery plan.     She said companies should build their crisis management capabilities by learning from best practices across all sectors, adding that conventional corporate social responsibility is no longer enough. Disaster risk reduction, especially health security, should be embedded in the core values of all corporations going forward. Anchoring the panel was Associate Professor Takako Izumi from IRIDeS. She highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on universities and their level of preparedness to meet the challenges. Izumi, who is also the director of the APRU Multi-hazards Program, shared the results of an April survey of 65 universities in 29 countries, which revealed that nearly half of them did not have sufficient organisational preparedness when the pandemic struck.On the academic front, some institutions also struggled with the shift from traditional classroom learning to online-based learning. Izumi concluded that the following adjustments need to be made to ensure better preparedness in the future: – have adequate business continuity plans (BCP) and emergency management units – use a blended learning approach to education – raise awareness of not just natural disasters, but also biohazard and health risks – build a network with other stakeholders and be part of a wider DRR agenda – have designated funding to scale up preparedness “We see from this pandemic that an all-hazards approach to risk assessment is vital for academic institutions. This includes their emergency response mechanism, as well as information sharing and risk communication systems, such as early warning and evacuation plans,” said Izumi. “It’s also important to have drills and stress tests before the disaster, to make sure the plans work.” The 90-minute event wrapped up with the panelists reiterating the need to understand the interconnected nature of risks. “Certainly COVID-19 for us is a wake-up call around systemic risks,” said Girardet. “You cannot look at risks in isolation.” APRU-IRIDeS MH Program: http://aprumh.irides.tohoku.ac.jp/
July 1, 2020