Keough School of Global Affairs responds to ethical issues raised by COVID-19 through new blog

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Dignity and Development

Dignity and Development

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, faculty at the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs have created the new blog Dignity and Development, a hub for research and policy insights dedicated to upholding human dignity around the world. While initial blog posts will be written by Keough School faculty, the group of contributors will be expanded to include the wider University community and beyond. Once the pandemic has waned, Dignity and Development will broaden its focus to additional timely global issues.

Launched on April 22, Dignity and Development draws upon diverse expertise from religious scholars, political scientists, anthropologists, psychologists, ethicists, historians, engineers, international development specialists and other academics and professionals in a variety of sectors and fields. The blog aims to bring scholars and practitioners into dialogue, fostering creative solutions to global challenges.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed levels of human suffering and inequality that are now impossible to ignore, wrote Scott Appleby, the Marilyn Keough Dean, in his inaugural blog post.

“The COVID-19 pandemic did not create these conditions — they have too long existed — but it has exacerbated them for millions of Americans and billions of people around the world,” Appleby said. “What is more, the deadly virus and its devastating economic consequences have extended the circle of vulnerability to untold numbers, who now know what it means to have their livelihoods, dignity and very lives endangered.”

Despite the risk of raising false hopes, Appleby asserts that COVID-19 presents an opportunity to approach global problems from a new perspective.

“Can we nonetheless imagine a world emerging from the pandemic, chastened but with new eyes to see, in which discussions about what has been revealed to us in the global crisis take center stage?” he said.

To date, Dignity and Development has addressed a variety of issues related to COVID-19: the plight of migrant workers, the role of religious leaders, new dilemmas for researchers engaged in fieldwork, and the unprecedented need for international cooperation among global leaders. A common thread running through the blog posts is a commitment to analyzing issues through the lens of integral human development, a positive vision of human flourishing at the heart of the Keough School’s academic mission.

Along with Appleby, co-editors of the blog are Laura Miller-Graff, assistant professor of psychology and peace studies, and Clemens Sedmak, professor of social ethics.