By Lindsey Stokes
On Thursday the College presented “Health and Human Security: Lessons from the Ebola Crisis.”
The seminar, presented in association with the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University, addressed the global challenges surrounding the current Ebola outbreak from a human-security standpoint.
Individuals of varying academic disciplines were in attendance, including local experts on health and human security, a group of European foreign-policy experts, journalists from broadcast and print news organizations around the globe, and a U.S. Department of State representative from Virginia.
Twelve different countries were represented at the seminar including Russia, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Croatia, Austria, Bulgaria, Norway, Estonia, the United States, and Poland.
The 25 people in attendance were guests of the U.S. Department of State.
The seminar addressed the economic concerns surrounding global health crises including the misappropriation of funds, the detrimental contribution of extreme poverty to community health, and the overall investment required to prevent future outbreaks of disease.
Though opinions on the subject were mixed, the role that media has played and continues to play in the Ebola outbreak was also discussed.
One attendee suggested the media has over-hyped the outbreak, citing the old adage “If it bleeds, it leads,” while another asserted that journalists are by default an extension of their society, therefore panic among the society leads to panic in the media.
Most were in agreement that any solution involving the current outbreak in West Africa especially, would involve a more holistic view, including not only effective treatment and vaccination, but a long-term economic investment in the development of infrastructure and community health.