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The University of Oxford Director of Global Health, Professor Alan Bernstein, emphasised the importance of young people and the need for Universities to take on the challenges facing our planet at Rethinking Global Engagement 2023.

(Left to Right): Dr Ertuğ Tombuş, Dr Mei-Ling Young, Prof Andrew Hurrell, Mariana Motta Vivian and Prof Alan Bernstein.
(Left to Right): Dr Ertuğ Tombuş, Dr Mei-Ling Young, Prof Andrew Hurrell, Mariana Motta Vivian and Prof Alan Bernstein.

Professor Alan Bernstein was invited to talk at the Rethinking Global Engagement: The Oxford-Berlin Partnership Symposium 2023 organised by the Oxford-Berlin Research Partnership at the Nissan Theatre in St. Antony’s College on 30 November 2023. Professor Bernstein was part of a panel on ‘Experiences and lessons of global engagement.’ His fellow panellists were: 

  • Dr Ertuğ Tombuş, Deputy Director, Center for Comparative Research on Democracy, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 
  • Mariana Motta Vivian, PhD student Latin America Institute, International Research Training Group 'Temporalities of Future in Latin America', Freie Universität Berlin 
  • Dr Mei-Ling Young, Early Career Researcher in International Relations, University of Oxford 
  •  Chair: Prof Andrew Hurrell, Montague Burton Professor of International Relations, University of Oxford

Professor Bernstein highlighted the breadth and excellence of global health research at the University of Oxford.  Global health research at Oxford spans across virtually the entire university, with over 600 researchers who identify as carrying out research in global health. He spoke of Oxford Global Health’s work to bring researchers together as a community to address shared global health challenges and common areas of interest. Professor Bernstein also spoke about the consequences of climate change impacting health and health systems. He noted, “Climate change and health are intertwined. For example, the recent forest fires in Greece led to both expected health impacts such as the consequences of smoke inhalation on lung function.  But also there was a very significant impact on mental health. Similarly, we know from research done here at Oxford that extreme weather events, including temperatures above 40C, affects the resilience of health systems in both Africa and India.”

Professor Bernstein also stressed the opportunity for universities to step up and take the lead on challenges like climate change and health facing our planet. He noted that Oxford led the way during the COVID19 pandemic with both the RECOVERY trial and the development of the vaccine in partnership with AstraZeneca.  He further focussed on the importance of young people. He said, “The challenges facing our planet are global, complex and existential. We require the best trained minds globally and so we need to train young people to think critically about these complex problems and see them through to successful solutions.”

Find out more about the Oxford-Berlin Researcher Partnership.