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Dr Devi Sridhar, Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, delivered the Annual Fulbright Distinguished Lecture in International Relations 2021, discussing COVID-19 response across the globe, and the lessons to be learned.
Professor Sridhar is also Founding Director of the Global Health Governance Programme and a regular media commentator on global public health issues. The distinction of Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer is given each year to a global leader, accompanied by the delivery of a lecture in the UK.
The lecture examined the historical roots of international cooperation in health and the subsequent creation of the World Health Organisation in the aftermath of World War II. The WHO’s existence is rooted in outbreak management across borders. And yet in the hyperconnected world of 2020-21, global cooperation broke down illustrated by divergent and nationally-driven strategies on COVID-response, vaccine nationalism and hoarding by rich countries, and tense political fractures over the origins of COVID-19.
Professor Sridhar’s thought-provoking lecture explored this concisely, offering clarity on a topic that can otherwise appear complex and uncertain. A highly engaged audience were invited to present their questions, and conversations continued following the close of the lecture.
Since 2011, the US-UK Fulbright Commission has worked with Pembroke College, Oxford, the University of Edinburgh and King's College London to curate the Fulbright Lecture Series, with support from the Lois Roth Endowment and the Fulbright Association. The annual lecture series features a prominent speaker in international relations, presenting on contemporary issues and themes in international life.
With thanks to our partners and sponsors for their support of and involvement in this event.