Inspiring voices to imagine the world to come

« Inspiring Voices » forum was created to enable women share their thoughts and opinions about the Covid-19 crisis. This UNESCO platform, dedicated to women, gives them the opportunity to speak out and express themselves about the future world. The aim is to raise awareness and reflect on the construction of a world post-covid, more equal, inclusive, human and sustainable.

Inspiring voices to imagine the world to come

Take time to think

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has shaken societies ; it has also challenged things that looked obvious. While the pandemic is still ongoing, and no one knows how it might end, it is all the more urgent to take time to think. For the pandemic is not so much an unprecedented object to reflect on – rather an occasion to reaffirm the need to think the world that it has revealed. That’s what UNESCO, as a laboratory of ideas, is contributing to.

UNESCO is a place where thinking converges – whether published and recognized, or still in progress. And this also informs UNESCO's strategic reflection – to make sure that tomorrow’s programmes will be at the level of the demands of the emerging world.

This laboratory of ideas is neither a closed circle, nor an ivory tower. On the contrary ! It is about contributing to collective intelligence in a changing world. Space will be made for new ideas and new voices. UNESCO will open up to activities it had not imagined, and to ideas it had not thought of. All contributions, however diverse, are welcome!

Katharine Hayhoe

Climate Scientist
Director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University
Professor of Political Science
UN Champion of the Earth

"We face a turning point in our history today.

Will we choose to head forward into a new, better and cleaner future, or will we cling to the past even harder?"


Fadia Kiwan

Professor of Political Science
Director General of the Arab Women Organization
Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the UNESCO MOST Programme

"What has happened to economic globalization? To trade? To breaking down borders? To the global village that we spoke so much about?

Well, it has all collapsed."

N’Dri Thérèse Assié-Lumumba

Professor at the Africana Centre for Studies and Research, Cornell University
Chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the UNESCO-MOST Programme

“The coronavirus didn’t apply for a visa to travel across the world.

So we need to rethink the idea of borders, the idea of separation and instead think of how we can come together as one human family”


Sakiko Fukuda-Parr

Professor of International Affairs
Director of the Oslo University Independent Panel on Global Governance for Health

"The reason why the loss is borne by the people at the bottom is all due to the social
institutions that we have, of political bargaining, power asymmetries."

Márcia Barbosa

Director of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences
2013 L'Oréal-UNESCO Award Laureate

"Don’t cry.

Because you know, the old normal is like some of our old boyfriends – a little bit overrated.

They were not that good."

Sara Purca

Researcher at the Peruvian Sea Institute
Winner of the L’Oréal-UNESCO
Peru National Prize “Por las Mujeres en la Ciencia” 2017

"I imagine a world that looks for information based on scientific evidence, a world in which

scientists learn to communicate all their findings in a simple manner so that the whole of civil

society can understand them."

Ada Hegerberg

International footballer
Striker for Olympique Lyonnais

"It would be a failure to go back to our regular lives like nothing happened, but I really believe in our capacity as people in terms of adapting, becoming a better person, better societies."

 Divya Dwivedi

Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi
Co-editor of the last issue of the Women Philosophers’ Journal

"We have passively witnessed a global agreement on most economic processes and
on technological protocols and standards, and there are global institutions dictating
terms to national governments."

Maja Gerovska Mitev

Professor of Social Policy at the Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje, North Macedonia
Vice-president of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the UNESCO MOST programme

"As the history of social policy has told us, the major social legislations have been borne out of a
crisis. Social transformations that are ongoing now in many countries should pave the way
for the reframing of existing social protection systems into systems that respond not only to
local and national, but also global risks."

Leah Zaidi

Founder of Multiverse Design
Member of UNESCO-Futures Literacy network

"Other changes that we could potentially see are shifts in international relations, shifts in power.

I’ve said before that I think power has already shifted east, and we’re just going to be seeing the implications of that play out over many decades.

How is that going to shape our everyday lives?"

Michelle Mycoo

Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, University of the West Indies Steering Committee
Member of Future Earth Coasts and of the UN-Habitat Partnership Initiative


"There has to be far better representation of women on the national task force to ensure that

the issues of joblessness, loss of income, increases in stress-levels,

how all of that can be mainstreamed into policy."

 Dorothea Baur

Founder of Baur Consulting
Consultant specializing in business ethics and AI ethics


"And suddenly we asked ourselves, what is the value of human life ?"

 Ouided Bouchamaoui

Winner of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize with the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet
Former President of the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts

Today we need to go beyond this idea of poor countries and powerful countries. We are now

all in the same boat because this pandemic affects every region, every continent, every

country without prejudice to skin colour, religion or level of wealth.

Maria Axente

Artificial intelligence specialist at PwC
Facilitator of the Women in Tech network


We’ll need to keep in mind that oversight on decisions on how this technology’s being used is important as technology itself.

It’s important to understand what are the trade-offs and the tensions and the limitations of this

technology, and what will be the impact for all of us in using it, at both an individual level and

society level?

Edwige Chirouter

UNESCO Chair on the Practice of Philosophy with Children at the University of Nantes


"We must teach children to live with uncertainty and complexity, especially to fight populist and

fundamentalist movements and to critically assess information circulating on social media."

Nadia Nadim

International footballer
UNESCO Champion for Girls’ and Women’s Education


"Obviously this has been hard,

obviously it has affected people’s lives, taken lives,

but there are lessons to be learned from it, definitely."

 Snežana Smederevac

Full Professor, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad

"If we strive to create a

society that has strong social policies based on high ethical standards, a society that invests

in the physical and mental health of citizens, we can cope with any crisis."

Masresha Beniam

Managing Director at OmniTech


"The youth has been instrumental in combatting this pandemic. Specifically, in Ethiopia I’ve seen a lot being done by the youth.

The youth has been mobilizing the people, raising awareness especially at the beginning about handwashing, the use of facemasks."

Aurélie Jean

Ph.D. Computational Scientist and Entrepreneur


"Understanding the way we learn is important to capitalize

even better on the lessons learned. So what did we learn during this crisis? Well, we learned

about the scientific method that is our best ally."

Yuriko Koike

Governor of Tokyo

"By diversifying connections between people, our goal is to realize a society that goes one step beyond

the norm. This virus is a deadly invisible enemy we have never faced before, but we can overcome it

by establishing the “new normal” with our wisdom and efforts."

 Livia Firth

Co-Founder and Creative Director, Eco Age Limited


"This crisis has shown us that we were living in a system which was not only completely

unsustainable, but also in a system that was totally not in equilibrium. And any system that

is not in equilibrium, at some point it breaks."


Kathleen Rogers


President of EARTHDAY.ORG

"Most of us live for what’s in front of us for this day or this week,

and planning for the future is something that human beings as a group are not

terribly sophisticated at or preparing for when it comes to threats that aren’t known at the time."

Hindou Ibrahim

Spokesperson for indigenous women of the Fulani Mbororo community of Chad

"People in big cities have heard the silences and the expression of nature, the sounds of birds and insects that surround us, it helps us understand that humans are not masters of the universe but that other elements also live with us."

Hadja Idrissa Bah

Founding President of the Young Girl Leaders of Guinea Club

"We should not forget that the government, our governments, must involve social groups, particularly youth and women"



Chékéba Hachemi

Founder and President of Afghanistan Libre


"I think that on the good side of the planet where we are, I think we have nothing to gain by accepting that it goes on like this and each of us can be a little more involved in international solidarity."