SOAS University of London

COVID-19: Addressing vaccination inequality in an interconnected world

Adam Habib - SOAS University of London, Dr. Peter Singer - WHO, Dr. Segenet Kelemu - ICIPE, Martin Wolf CBE - Financial Times

Date: 9 March 2021Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 9 March 2021Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Virtual Event

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As the world implements COVID-19 vaccines, will countries in the global south have equal access?

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation recently said "vaccine nationalism harms everyone and protects no one”.

It is increasingly clear that this pandemic cannot end in the Developed World without addressing and ensuring that the citizens of the Developing world are also vaccinated. This public debate seeks to provide some focus to the challenges confronting the developing world on vaccines and the nationalist overtones around it. But it will also touch on a broader challenge in our historical moment where all of our discontents are transnational in character and require to be addressed on a global rather than national scale.

As the world implements COVID-19 vaccinations, will countries in the global south have equal access? With a history of healthcare inequalities and enforced vaccine trials, how do we ensure global vaccination is carried out ethically and equally, and encourage governments and societies to act for the greater good? Should countries who have an oversupply of vaccines redistribute these to developing countries who cannot afford the costs of vaccines?

SOAS is delighted that this event is being run in partnership with the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA).

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  • Adam Habib - SOAS University of London Director (Chair)
  • Dr. Peter Singer - Special Advisor to the Director General (World Health Organization)
  • Dr. Segenet Kelemu - Director General and CEO (ICIPE)
  • Martin Wolf CBE - Chief Economics Commentator (Financial Times)

SOAS Director Adam Habib 

Adam Habib  

Adam Habib is an academic, researcher, activist, administrator, and well-known public intellectual. A Professor of Political Science, Habib has over 30 years of academic, research and administration expertise, spanning five universities and multiple local and international institutions. Prior to his appointment as Director of SOAS, he was Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, South Africa since 2013. Under his leadership, Wits has done incredibly well – research output has increased, it has expanded its footprint in international journals and it has graduated more students than ever before. The university’s finances are stable and it has strong, independent governance structures in place. Habib’s commitment to excellence and transformation has left Wits in a far stronger position, and one of the best universities in Africa at which to study and conduct world-class research.

He joined the University of Johannesburg as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation, Advancement and Library in 2007, during which time he oversaw a doubling of research output, and the dramatic expansion in the training of a new generation of scholars.

Dr. Peter Singer - Special Advisor to the Director General of the World Health Organization

Dr. Peter Singer  

Peter Singer has dedicated the last decade to bringing innovation to tackling the health challenges of the world’s poorest people. He is well known around the world for his creative solutions to some of the most pressing global health challenges.

Dr. Singer is the former Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada. He is also Professor of Medicine at University of Toronto, Director at the Sandra Rotman Centre at University Health Network, and Foreign Secretary of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. In 2007, Dr. Singer received the Michael Smith Prize as Canada’s Health Researcher of the Year in Population Health and Health Services. In 2011, Dr. Singer was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to health research and bioethics, and for his dedication to improving health in developing countries. In 2014, he was named by the UN Secretary General’s Office as Co-Chair of the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Working Group.

Dr. Segenet Kelemu - Director General and CEO ICIPE

Dr. Segenet Kelemu - Director General and CEO ICIPE  

Dr. Segenet Kelemu, is the Director General & CEO of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) Nairobi, Kenya. She is the fourth Chief Executive Officer, and the first woman to lead ICIPE. After more than 25 years in the United States of America and Latin America applying cutting-edge science that saw her garner numerous professional and state honours for an exceptional career as a scientist, Dr Kelemu, returned from the diaspora in 2007 to contribute to Africa’s development. Dr. Kelemu is a 2014 L’Oréal-UNESCO Laureate for Women in Science Awards, and one of the top 100 most influential African women featured in the May 2014 Edition of Forbes Africa. Dr. Kelemu was listed among the 10 most influential African women in agriculture by the Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security. In January 2018, she was recognised by Bill Gates, as one of five ‘Heroes in the Field’ who are using their talents to fight poverty, hunger and disease, and providing opportunities for the next generation.

Martin Wolf CBE - Chief Economics Commentator Financial Times

Martin Wolf CBE - Chief Economics Commentator Financial Times  

Martin Wolf is Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times, London. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2000 for services to financial journalism. He was a member of the UK government’s Independent Commission on Banking between June 2010 and September 2011. Mr Wolf has honorary doctorates from the London School of Economics, Nottingham University, Warwick University and Kingston University, in the UK, Macquarie University, in Australia and KU Leuven, in Belgium. He is an honorary fellow of Corpus Christ College and Nuffield College, Oxford University, and of King’s College, London.


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