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Researcher using microscope

The 2024 Otago Foreign Policy School will focus on Global Health issues such as inequity, a Pacific perspective, and preparedness for global emergencies.

The challenge of managing Global Health in a world still grappling with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic is about to be put under a spotlight.

While the pandemic itself has been the topic of much analysis, a global consensus on how best to prepare for the next one is yet to be reached.

More broadly, states struggle to develop trans-national responses to diverse existential threats to all humans, including increasing global inequity, effects of climate change, and the growing burden of both infectious and noncommunicable diseases.

Philip Hill
Professor Philip Hill

These and other vital Global Health topics will be up for discussion among leading international and New Zealand Global Health experts at the 2024 Otago Foreign Policy School.

Co-director Professor Philip Hill says states inevitably prioritise self-interest in making and implementing global policies, even when the best interests of all humans are at stake.

“Global bodies are empowered to serve little more than a convening role, with individuals and states nonetheless viewing them with suspicion and as threats to sovereignty.

“Meanwhile, some states have out-sized influence over others. Inequities at the global policy level filter through to inequities in health management and outcomes across the world.”

Global Health can be defined succinctly as collaborative trans-national research and action to address health problems for all, he says.

“It encompasses population-wide and individual-based health issues and operates across all sectors. It transcends national boundaries and requires trans-national action.”

Key themes of the School, covered through keynote talks and interactive sessions, aim to include:

  • Global Health diplomacy, Law, Governance, and Global Institutions
  • A Pacific perspective on Global Health
  • Preparedness for Global Health emergencies
  • Lessons from the history of Global Health challenges
  • Health Nationalism, and Global equity, and major Global Health responses

Htin Lin Aung
Dr Htin Lin Aung

Fellow Co-director Dr Htin Lin Aung says Global Health is a flagship area of expertise at Otago, with University-wide inter-disciplinary engagement and collaborative initiatives in the Pacific, Asia and Africa, and engagement of major Global Health Funders.

The School, now in its 58th year, is an annual event and regularly attracts academics, diplomats, media, and members of the general public.

Included in the 2024 line-up are keynote speaker Professor Ilona Kickbusch, Founder of the Global Health Centre in Switzerland; Dr Audrey Aumua, CEO of the Fred Hollows Foundation; Dr Paula Vivili, Deputy Director General of Pacific Community/Communatué du Pacifique in Fiji and speakers from Australia, Taiwan, and New Zealand, including world leaders on staff at the University of Otago.

Event details:
Otago Foreign Policy School - Global Health: Challenges and Responses, 21 – 23 June 2024

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