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UNE Center for Global Humanities presents “The Lessons of COVID-19”

"Lessons of Covid-19"

April 09, 2020

W. Ian Lipkin
W. Ian Lipkin

As part of its commitment to addressing the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century, the University of New England Center for Global Humanities will present an exclusive lecture by, and conversation with, the medical doctor W. Ian Lipkin, known as the “master virus hunter,” to shed light on the current coronavirus pandemic. Titled “The Lessons of COVID-19,” the event will take place on Monday, April 13 at 5 p.m. E.S.T. and will be streamed live to the Center’s Maine, national and global communities. Viewers will also be able to submit questions electronically during the Q&A portion of the presentation. 

Drawing from insight gleaned while working to address other recent disease outbreaks like the ones involving the SARS, MERS, and Zika viruses, Lipkin will discuss how the current pandemic has been exacerbated by long-standing global issues that our world community has failed to address, such as climate change, food insecurity, and the rapid dissemination of misinformation. 

Ultimately, the lecture will help us view our current crisis in the context of a world that has become increasingly vulnerable to the effects of just such a crisis as the one we are experiencing now, while arguing that we must re-evaluate our world and learn from our experiences with COVID-19 in real time.   

W. Ian Lipkin holds a medical degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago.  He is the Director of the Center for Research in Diagnostics and Discovery and the Director of the Center of Infection and Immunity with the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. He is internationally recognized for his contributions to global public health through the innovative methods he has developed for infectious disease diagnosis, surveillance, and discovery. He has been at the forefront in responding to many of the world’s recent outbreaks, including the West Nile Virus in New York City (1999), SARS in China (2003), MERS in Saudi Arabia (2012-16), Zika in the US (2016), encephalitis in India (2017), and COVID-19 (2020). Professor Lipkin is the recipient of many national and international awards and honors. Because of his extensive knowledge of viruses and pandemics, Dr. Lipkin served as chief scientific advisor for the 2011 movie Contagion, which has recently crept back into viewing rankings over the last couple of months. In the movie, the world is confronted with a viral pandemic and illustrates how a virus can spillover from animals to humans, how easy community transmission occurs, and offers a glimpse into what the vaccine development process looks like.

“This is truly an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime event,” says Anouar Majid, founding director of the Center for Global Humanities. “We have been reaching out to our Maine and global communities for almost 11 years, but putting this event together in the midst of a global pandemic is a first for us. I hope people will join us to make it a success.” 

For more information and to watch the event live, please visit:

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