Falk, Von Sponeck wrap up Phase 1 of “The World After Covid”

Just World Admin Blog, Global Balance, International law, JWE news, U.S. policy

Just World Educational recently completed Phase 1 of its continuing “World After Covid” project, by presenting the eighth webinar in the weekly series on this topic that it has presented since June 10. In this webinar, JWE President Helena Cobban discussed the role of the United Nations and other international bodies in the rapidly changing post-Covid world with international jurist Richard Falk and veteran UN humanitarian official Hans-Christof von Sponeck.

The video of this discussion can now be viewed here… It is also part of the collection of eight “World After Covid” videos that are presented, along with their transcripts and some related materials, on the “World After Covid” Resource Center on our website. All the materials on the Resource Center are made available to the public at no cost, under a Creative Commons license.

This project was born in early June out of an early-June discussion between Prof. Falk and Ms. Cobban. Falk was Ms. Cobban’s first guest on the webinar series that resulted, and gave initial articulation there to many of the themes that continued throughout the series. One of them was the idea that while the hegemony that the United States has enjoyed within the global system since 1945 was always built on a firm basis of military dominance, the growing power that China is now building in global society is based much more on trade, economics, and other aspects of soft power.

This week marks the 75th anniversary of the United States’ bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, acts that inaugurated the “Atomic Age” and cemented Washington’s role as global hegemon. (We invite you to review the list of commemorative events we presented in this recent blog post, most of which are joinable worldwide and many of which are in English.)

Hans von Sponeck on our webinar

It was therefore very appropriate that Phase 1 of our “World After Covid” project was bookended with a return appearance by Prof. Falk, who in the most recent webinar was joined by Mr. von Sponeck, with whom he is now writing a book on the role of the United Nations.

Von Sponeck is a veteran German diplomat who in February 2000 famously resigned as the United Nation’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq to protest the extremely damaging (actually, lethal) regulations that Washington was imposing on the UN’s work in Iraq.

Medea Benjamin

In the intervening weeks of this part of the project, we conducted wonderfully engaging webinars with CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin, who delved more deeply into the distorting– often deadly– effects of US militarism and US unilateralism on peoples around the world… with veteran labor union and anti-Apartheid activist Bill Fletcher, Jr., on the eruption of “Black Lives Matter”-related protest movements all around the world… with Vijay Prashad, the head of the Transcontinental Institute, on the urgent demands now being voiced by movements and leaders in the Global South, for debt relief, health equity, etc…

We heard from veteran diplomatist Chas W. Freeman, Jr. into China’s rapidly increasing global heft and its implications… from former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Hilal Elver on the massive growth of food insecurity and starvation around the world that has been sparked by Covid… and from international rights expert Marjorie Cohn on the declining ability of Washington to fend off demands for accountability for its own actions and those of proteges such as Israel…

We’re also delighted to note that the eight webinars of Phase 1 won great plaudits from attendees. A small technical glitch in the first Falk webinar prevented us from seeing his video. But that did not recur. From then on, the “ratings” we got back from the attendees’ post-session evaluations, on how educational/informative they had found the session were great. They consistently topped a “4.5” average out of a possible total of 5. (The evaluations sent in after Falk’s last session, with von Sponeck, gave it “4.9” out of 5!)

“Scores” given to the last webinar

The comments that attendees included in their evaluations were enthusiastic and gratifying, too. Here is just a small sampling:

  • “You are doing a magnificent job!”
  • “Your choices of guests are excellent and I’d say 100% have been valuable resources.”
  • “You are bringing history to us that has been drowned by the narratives of…the US, Britain, Israel, and others.”
  • “Brava! A wonderful contribution to understanding. Much needed. Fascinating discussions!” …

JWE’s Cobban has announced that over the next few weeks, she, Falk, and the rest of the JWE board will be exploring future directions this timely project might take throughout the crucial months of the coming Fall. She underscores that the goal of the project is to build a well-informed and thoughtful U.S. public that is well attuned to the needs of the other peoples around the world who make up the other 95.5% of humanity.

She always notes, however, that urgently needed projects like this one take real resources to develop effectively, to sustain, and to build up to scale. People interested in supporting this work can learn how to donate securely online or by mail at this page on our website.