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One Young World (@OneYoungWorld) – the global forum for young leaders that counts Meghan Markle, Mohammad Yunus and Emma Watson as Counsellors – today announces a pioneering academy with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on pandemic preparedness. 

Based on the concept of challenge-based learning, the programme has been designed to ensure the world is prepared and ready for future pandemics. The initial cohort are over 3,000 young leaders from across the world who will attend high profile lectures remotely.

One Young World have worked closely with the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation to produce a programme based on three aspects, Vaccines: domestic and global response, Communications: infectious disease stigma and Zoonosis, sanitation and antimicrobial resistance. 

The lecture series includes;

Lecture 1: Vaccines: domestic and global responses 

  • Pam Cheng, Executive Vice President ­ Global Operations & IT at AstraZeneca
  • Dr Catherine Green, Associate Professor in Chromosome Dynamics at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford and part of the team that developed the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Professor Samir Saha-Bangladesh, Bangladeshi public health expert and microbiologist

Lecture 2: Communications: infectious disease stigma

  • James Chau, UNAIDS goodwill ambassador, Journalist and television presenter
  • Gabby Stern, Director of Communications at the World Health Organization
  • Dr Radhika Batra, Founder and President of Every Infant Matters

Lecture 3: Zoonosis, sanitation, and antimicrobial resistance 

  • Padmini Srikantiah (moderator), Deputy Director at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Jack Sim, Founder of World Toilet Day – UN adopted this in 2013 as ‘UN World Toilet Day’
  • Samira Mubareka, Assistant Professor Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology at University of Toronto

Once participants have completed the lecture series, they will produce a 500-word essay on the topic of pandemic preparedness, drawing on the lectures, provided resources, and their own research. Their work will be assessed and graded. The three most outstanding pieces of work will be recognised for their excellence and will be rewarded with publication on the One Young World website and the winners will be given further exclusive opportunities.  

Ella Robertson, co-founder of One Young World, said:

“Eighteen months after the pandemic started infections are still going up, causing disruption and devastation across the world. This is coupled with a light at the end of the tunnel as the vaccine roll out continues and global cooperation between nations to try and ensure everyone has access. Yet the warnings about another future pandemic and the need to be better prepared for when it happens have largely fallen on deaf ears”

“A pandemic can happen at any time and move with devastating speed, and the next one could be even worse than Covid-19. That is why I am thrilled the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have partnered with us to organise this academy, to begin to ensure we are ready for any future pandemics which come our way”

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