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06 October 2022

Conference to address global justice theory and practice post Covid-19 Pandemic

A new conference will bring together experts, policymakers and philosophers from around the world to discuss how the Covid pandemic has focused attention on some long-standing blindspots in global justice theory and practice.

Global Health Justice - Water

It has been frequently said over the past three years that the Covid pandemic has revealed and exacerbated long standing social inequalities and fault lines within societies and in the global governance architecture. This conference focuses on the exclusion of sex/sexuality/gender and racism in the philosophy and practice of global justice.

Jointly sponsored by the YTL Centre and the Independent Resource Group for Global Health Justice (IRG-GHI), Recalibrating Global Justice Philosophy is a two-day conference that brings together different academics, policy makers, and students to re-think some of the basic tenets of global justice philosophy and policies.

Dr Sridhar Venkatapuram, founder of the IRG-GHJ and Associate Professor of Global Health & Philosophy at King’s College London, said: "How societies in the world should engage with each other has been the concern of both politics and ethics for centuries.  Global justice philosophy has, for the last 30 years, been focused on how societies or people should relate to each other - what rights and duties they have to each other. Some debates are highly theoretical or looking for an ideal situation while others are informed by real world issues or seeking to address specific extreme injustices.

Like good political philosophy, global justice philosophy should be relevant to the issues of the day and also persevere over time to help us guide thinking and action. This event brings together senior academics and international policy makers to push forward our theoretical scope and understanding of pressing policy issues.

Dr Sridhar Venkatapuram, founder of the IRG-GHJ and Associate Professor of Global Health & Philosophy at King’s College London

Formed in late 2020 by a group of international political philosophers, the IRG-GHJ aims to provide political philosophy perspectives on global health issues and the wider global injustices which are being made more visible in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Venkatapuram: “For many years, academics were focused on, ‘What we, as rich people or countries, ought to do for those poor people over there.’ The last three years has hopefully shown people the historical vacuum of such a perspective, and also how it completely erases the role of ‘we’ in creating the suffering ‘over there’. We need global justice philosophy to do better than reaffirm the global inequity in power and resources.”

Taking place online and in-person, at King’s College London’s Strand campus, day one of the event presents an exciting opportunity for doctoral students and post-doctoral researchers to showcase their current work on global justice. The intention is to create a space to discuss issues related to global justice among junior scholars and academics from various subdomains of philosophy, or philosophy-informed research.

On day two, senior philosophers and policy makers will present a series of academic-policy presentations. The three panels will focus on gender, sexuality and reproductive/sexual health and how it is affecting international relations; the persistence of racism in political theory and in large scale international aid programmes; and methodologies that can help recalibrate global justice philosophy to be more relevant, legitimate and useful.

The event culminates in a public lecture by Dr Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija, World Health Organisation Special Envoy for and Co-Chair of the ACTAccelerator, a ground breaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines. A leader in health policy and politics in Africa for several decades, Dr Alakija came to international prominence in late 2020 when she directly addressed racism in global health news reporting and become a vocal advocate for global vaccine inequity.

In this story

Sridhar Venkatapuram

Senior Lecturer in Global Health and Philosophy