How health became a matter of diplomacy

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Video "Diplomacy in the Time of Cholera" (Screenshot)

Video “Diplomacy in the Time of Cholera” shows the origin and role of the WHO

Although keeping one’s distance has become the order of the day, it is also clear that the pandemic can only be managed through cohesion and cooperation between local governments as well as international health organisations. But the different handling of an unprecedented situation has also brought one thing to light: how controversial the mixing of scientific and diplomatic matters can be. For indeed, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been and continues to be subject to much criticism for its handling of the crisis.

This is the starting point for the research of HTA professor Maria Rentetzi, who also works on “science diplomacy” at the intersection of science, technology and history and has held the chair of Science, Technology and Gender Studies at FAU since January. This new interdisciplinary field of research sheds light on the multiple factors contributing to the exacerbation of the global COVID-19 crisis. Together with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Prof. Rentetzi has produced a video that takes the Corona pandemic as a starting point to take a look at why diplomacy is crucial to global health and how the WHO became a major player in health diplomacy.

The professorship is funded as part of the High-Tech Agenda Bavaria. With this program, the government of the Free State of Bavaria is creating, among other things, 1,000 new professorships in key areas of the future such as artificial intelligence, clean tech and aerospace, thus strengthening Bavaria’s leading position in research and teaching and promoting the development of new ideas and the latest technologies as well as their implementation in practice.