collage of hands touching and holdingartwork and photo credit - Anouk Sugar

We extend our thoughts and sympathy to all people directly affected by the situation between Russia and Ukraine and also to our colleagues who are challenged in many different ways by this situation. We must show solidarity and what friendship is capable of, in these divisive times, and need to hold together in support of peace and of each other.

We are currently experiencing many layers of threats to human health and well-being: The environmental crises, a world pandemic, growing inequities, persisting institutional consequences of colonial histories, social conflicts and wars. We tend to think humans are intelligent animals but, if so, how come we are now experiencing so many human-led crises? As human beings, we are able of creating wonders and, also, disasters that threaten humanity.

It is time we think about how governments can contribute to sustain the values we care for: democracy and respect for disagreement and debate, peace, justice, and also respect for the air we breathe, for waters, lands and other living species.

When we see trucks blocking our cities, people believing in conspiracy theories, increasing polarization and violent conflicts, we need to ask ourselves what we are not doing right. As instructors and researchers in public administration we need to prepare our students to deal with conflict, to recognize and value our planet and its many elements, to imagine policies that would recreate bridges in between broken societies, to strongly understand social media and their influences, tovalue transparency and debate, and most importantly, to not take peace, democracy and the air we breathe for granted.

I would like to invite each one of you to think about any opportunities we have to better understand these phenomena and also to examine what it would involve in public administration and community development to adequately prepare for this new world.

My friend and also colleague, Megan, shared with me these words an Indigenous leader once said while opening a meeting: we often think about the world we are creating for our children, I often think about the kind of children we should raise to live in this world.

 

Astrid Brousselle
Director
School of Public Administration