Lux addresses international conference on COVID-19 challenges

Steve LuxSteven Lux, director of Maxwell’s Executive Education program, was invited to speak on an international panel coordinated by 2019-2020 Humphrey Fellow Barbara Cecilia Barrios Dumanoir of Panama. Lux was one of 12 presenters in the Panama City-based virtual program “International Congress: Reality Facing COVID-19,” September 1 to 3.

Lux, who spoke about public policy, said the event highlights Maxwell’s impact and ongoing international relationships with Humphrey fellows.

“A key aspect of the Humphrey Fellowship program at Maxwell is the ability for fellows to generate a transformative impact upon return to their countries,” Lux said. “We strive to maintain these connections as it both informs theory and practice.”

Also on the agenda were leadership, logistics, psychoeducation, education, reproductive health, neuroscience, and health.

Barrios discussed higher education, technology and intermediate school. She recently wrote and led a training session addressing how the coronavirus pandemic highlights the need for Panama and other countries to improve education.

“We want to transfer cross-sectional knowledge to find answers to the different situations created by the pandemic,” Barrios said. The format allowed experts to exchange perspectives using technology – a tool whose benefits have become increasingly important as the pandemic closed schools and businesses beginning in March.

“Technology allows us to reduce and eliminate distances,” Barrios said. “Many times when we are immersed in a problem it is difficult to see other perspectives and options; these experts can share a different view.”

The free conference was presented via Zoom from Santa María la Antigua University. Each day between 300-400 people viewed the event.

Barrios invited Lux because public policy expertise is missing in Panama and much of Latin America. “Here we don’t have public policy related to the pandemic and it will be interesting to listen to the recommendations and words from an expert,” she said.

COVID-19 has impacted public policy in two primary ways, Lux said. “One is the public health policies of countries and how the pandemic has laid bare the discrepancies of wealth and associated disparities,” he explained. “Another is the larger scope of transitioning to a new policy environment where the future is unknown. How do people live in that sphere and how does government govern?”

Barrios said the organizers hope to present more virtual conferences “to help our countries in improving our situation, and in being prepared not for the future but for the present.”

“The International Congress’ conference brought together leaders from across Latin America to be immersed in interdisciplinary approaches to the pandemic,” Lux said. “Gazing through these lenses and perspectives within a virtual conference format enabled a greater diversity of participants to gain knowledge.”