UNESCO campaign challenges our perceptions of what back to normal should mean in the post-COVID-19 era.
The next normal
Disasters and emergencies do not just throw light on the world as it is. They also rip open the fabric of normality. Through the hole that opens up, we glimpse possibilities of other worlds.
UNESCO was founded in the wake of the World War II, born of the conviction that the unprecedented conflict could give rise to a better, more united world. Since wars begin in the minds of men and women, it is in the minds of men and women that a better world must be constructed, argued the Organization’s founders. Their idea is more pertinent than ever as countries begin to emerge from the global COVID-19 crisis, which has called into question our priorities, our ways of life and the functioning of our societies.
People across the globe showed solidarity during the health emergency and saw how enhanced cooperation can help build a better future. But as the world begins to emerge from the pandemic, we tend to forget the lessons we learnt and “get back to normal,” disregarding the cost of what we regard as normal to our environment, economies, public health and societies.
UNESCO is launching a global campaign challenging our perception of normality. The 2’20” film does not rely on complicated arguments to prove its point. It simply presents factual information about the world before and during the pandemic. Put together, these facts invite viewers to question their ideas about what is normal, suggesting that we have accepted the unacceptable for far too long. Our previous reality can no longer be accepted as normal. Now is the time for change.
As the intellectual agency of the United Nations, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) believes that the need for lasting change must take root in the hearts and minds of people everywhere before it can become reality.
The campaign is part of a wider effort by UNESCO to reflect on the world to come, notably through the UNESCO forum initiative, a laboratory of ideas bringing together prominent thinkers, the Resiliart movement, a series of panel debates on the future of culture and the cultural industries, the Futures Literacy Network, as well as the Futures of education programme and the global recommendations for open science and the ethics of artificial Intelligence. These are major issues that UNESCO started working on long before they were brought centre-stage by pandemic.
UNESCO invites the media and opinion leaders to share “The Next Normal” campaign, which was created by the DDB Paris agency, available as of 25 June 2020.