Dear Friends and Colleagues,
This is to announce that “Resilience” is the 2021-2022 overarching theme of IAFOR, and the frame through which we invite interdisciplinary reflection in and across our different programs and events through 2021 and 2022.
Resilience is the ability to resist being affected, or to recover readily from setback and adversity, and the past year has been one of enormous turbulence and upheaval. Nobody has been left untouched by the impact of the global pandemic, and great change has been forced upon us all.
COVID-19 has underlined the extent to which we suffer together as one, but also how the experience of a global pandemic has been very different and unequal. This has had a woeful impact on the already marginalised and dispossessed, further evidencing that countries are not equal in their ability to provide for and protect their people. The pandemic has also created questionable narratives and false dichotomies in approaches to finding solutions to the myriad problems that COVID-19 has either caused or exacerbated.
Humans can be by turn extraordinarily delicate, and remarkably resilient and we are now living through and witnessing an extraordinary period of history. However, as with any period of great change, there is a window of opportunity that follows where one has the chance to enact and bring about change for the better. The pandemic has also allowed many of us the space to rethink our relationship with both ourselves and those immediately around us, but also with the wider world. This is a crisis both global and local, both shared and individual.
That time to rethink and reimagine is now as we attempt to regroup and rebuild. We need to build back, but do so in a way that is better, stronger and fairer. Forged by adversity, we have the opportunity to follow divergent paths towards a future that we help create, and where, to borrow Heaney, hope and history may rhyme.