Can Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter pull our world beyond Polarization?

For years, polarization ­– a process of increasing ‘us-versus-them’ divisions in society – has been on the rise. All over the world, media and politics are marked by escalating groupthink, culture wars, and fake news. Enter Covid-19. How is the pandemic we are currently struggling with, influencing this already troublesome trend? It appears that some societies have become less polarized due to new-found trust in their leading institutions. In other nations, however, we seem to see a different process at work: leadership fails, conflicts multiply, and the political middle ground is quickly eroding. Recently, a third phenomenon has entered the equation: Black Lives Matter. The largest anti-racist protest movement of this century, after years of growing unrest, is demanding systemic change.

 Central to this Webinar is the question: how do these three developments relate? Will Covid-19 fuel polarization even further, because of the existential anxiety and social strife it brought to so many lives? Is it a coincidence that Black Lives Matters resurged just now? Has Covid-19 revealed the essential flaws of some countries and the crucial strengths of others? Will the current health scare function as a wake-up call and will it put us on the road towards more healthy, inclusive societies with more wholesome political systems?

Dare to be Grey and the Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges invite you to join a panel of young people from around the world to discuss these questions.


Utrecht University student interviewer:

  • Merbel Slothouwer - The Netherlands

International panellists:

  • Lin Tian - China
  • Megan Pringle - South-Africa
  • Stephanie Truskoswi - United States
  • Sheniel Cameron - Suriname
  • Caroline Portela - Brazil
  • Sascha Brünig - Germany
  • Mihail Mishev - Bulgaria
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Registration is mandatory