alumnus reflects on COVID-19 webinar and the role of young people

Wednesday May 13, 2020

On Tuesday 5th May, Concord alumnus Ian Soh joined a panel of key speakers in a prescient webinar designed to discuss the role of youth in the global response to COVID-19. Ian, who left Concord in 2019, was a key panellist in the EPI-WIN webinar: COVID-19 and the youth of today, leaders of tomorrow, which attracted an audience of 808 young people and experts from a variety of fields. According to the WHO’s webinar report, the panellists included representatives from the Global Health Workforce Network Youth Hub (GHWF Youth Hub), the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA) representing 1.3 million students; the Global Shapers representing over 9000 youths; and the #MOREVIRALTHANTHEVIRUS global movement – represented by Concord alumnus and campaign Founder, Ian – with hubs in over 100 countries. The key topics addressed were stigmatisation of healthcare workers and the need for a safe working environment, myths surrounding COVID-19, the possible lack of PPE and its whereabouts, mental health and lifestyle changes moving forward. During the webinar, Ian told other panellists and attendees of how his movement started as a group of medical students, but soon realised that all students everywhere, from all different subject disciplines were affected, and all had something to share and give. Said Ian: “No doubt, these are indeed difficult times for everyone, but it is essentially also an opportunity for all of us to unite our efforts. We are in a fight against a faceless enemy which has no respect for race, authority or social class. “With the young people of today being the generation of tomorrow, let’s remind ourselves that we should no longer be positioned merely as targets but rather as equal stakeholders. “It is important to consider the views and roles of young people still, as well as providing opportunities to further our education. “My movement has begun exploring ways to support local business in the different local movements started in United Kingdom, México, India, Malaysia, Ghana and Philippines.” IFMSA representative, Saad Uakkas re-emphasised Ian’s point of continued education and work opportunities for young people, adding that those youths who are knowledgeable in modern technology ‘help us to move through this transition of increased digitisation.’ Reflecting on the benefits of the webinar and the motivation to continue with the ‘MVTTV’ campaign, Ian said: “The webinar was refreshing and certainly served as a sign of hope to all – it’s motivated me to continue my movement’s efforts. It was encouraging, witnessing the support from like-minded young people from all around the world. “I believe COVID-19 has made us reflect on our own attitudes, endeavouring us to empathise with the problems faced by people from different backgrounds. “I am pleased to announce that following the WHO webinar, panellists have come together to unite our efforts in an attempt to work towards an empowered generation – one that looks past the pandemic, one that values solidarity and continued collaboration. The conversations have been set in motion…” He added: “I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience learning, accepting and working with people from different cultures at Concord. My teachers continually supported me through my education, giving me confidence to explore my interests. “If not for Mr Hawkins, who gave me the opportunity to study at Concord, all of this would not have been possible.” Access the full WHO report from the webinar by clicking here.