As I write this post in early April of 2020, the global total of confirmed COVID-19 cases has eclipsed 1 million. In late March, CPERG’s home, Cambridge University, closed its doors. This is an act rarely seen in the institution’s 800-year history. All but essential university activity has shifted online. CPERG too has moved into the digital realm. Members find themselves scattered across time zones and continents working and researching remotely and connecting through various online platforms.
Collectively, the global community finds itself in challenging and uncertain times. While we are all affected by this crisis, some people are in more vulnerable positions and experiencing greater loss than others. CPERG extends our collective hearts and solidarity to all of those experiencing loss, trauma, and personal, cultural, and structural violence in this moment.
While CPERG continues its ongoing work and research, our community of scholars and practitioners are also affected by COVID-19 in various ways and are drawn to reflect on the impact, consequences, and possibilities emergent in this moment. Many of our members have been reflecting and sharing through writing, poetry, music, meditation, and dialogue just to name a few. These reflections bring forward a peace perspective on the pandemic and offer questions and thoughts on how peace praxis may be able to help us process, support, and even transform ourselves and our communities in this crisis.
In the following weeks and months CPERG will be posting some of these reflections in a new blog series on our website. We hope this blog can be a space for sharing, de-construction, creativity, conscientization, and re-imagining.
Some blog posts will be distinct thoughts or expressions on this moment; others will respond to one another and build upon the ideas and affects emerging from previous posts. I encourage you to engage this blog series as an ongoing conversation. Furthermore, I encourage you to join the conversation by adding your voice in the comment section below the posts, and by sharing the works that resonate with you in your communities online.
In closing, I’m inspired by the words the of great writer, Arundhati Roy. In her April 3 column for the Financial Times she wrote, “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.“
CPERG looks forward to sharing some of our reflections and hearing your perspectives and insights as we navigate this moment and re-imagine what is possible through peace and praxis together.