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Maximilian Mayer: Emerging Health Powers and the Implications of Zero-Covid Strategies in Asia-Pacific for Europe

Jun 15, 2021 | 12:00 PM - 02:00 PM

Countries in Asia-Pacific and the transatlantic region followed quite different approaches during the pandemic. In this talk, I will explore and compare the different ideas, policies, and various considerations behind diverging strategic choices. The ramifications of a high death toll and great economic burdens are uneven distributed, clearly correlated to varying strategies: Europe suffers from horrific public health disaster that tends to increase preexisting social inequalities and massive public debts. The earlier experiences with Sars and Mers and a systematic buildup of pandemic infrastructures and action plans in Taiwan, China, South Korea and Vietnam helped governments there to respond to the spread of Sars-CoV-2 quickly, effectively and with relative smaller side effects. But the pandemic is not over yet, and slow vaccination progress in Asia-Pacific poses great hurdle to safe border openings by countries with elimination policies. Thus, international mobility is likely to remain disrupted well into 2022. Overall, the pandemic revealed a growing gap in digital problem solving, societal preparation and resilience, and systemic political capacities to decide and implement stringent public health policies in an environment of high risk and uncertainties. If we indeed have to expect a century of pandemics, successful programmatic and practices for new health powers are to be found in Asia-Pacific.

Maximilian Mayer is Junior-Professor of International Relations and Global Politics of Technology at University of Bonn. He was assistant professor at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (2019-2020). He is also research fellow at Renmin University Beijing (2018-2020), worked as Research Professor at Tongji University, Shanghai (2015-2018) and was senior researcher at the Munich Center for Technology in Society, Technical University Munich (2018-2019). Maximilian worked at the Bonn University’s Center for Global Studies (CGS) as managing assistant and senior fellow (2009-2015). He holds a master degree from Ruhr University Bochum and obtained his PhD at Bonn University. His research interests include the global politics of science, innovation, and technology; China’s foreign and energy policy; global energy and climate politics; theories of International Relations. Among his publications are  China’s Energy Thirst: Myth or Reality? (2007 together with Xuewu Gu), Changing orders: transdiciplinary analysis of global and local realities (2008, co-editer), two-volumes on  The Global Politics of Science and Technology (2014, lead editor). He is co-editor of Art and Sovereignty in Global Politics (Palgrave, 2016) and edited  Rethinking the Silk-Road: Chinas Belt and Road Initiative and Emerging Eurasian Relations (Palgrave, 2018). 

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