A message from our Director

Professor Asad Islam

COVID-19 has changed our lives, livelihoods and futures.

Over the past several months we have learned so much about this virus, and we are still learning! While medical researchers have been working day and night to find a vaccine that would protect us, the global social science community has been attempting to analyse and understand the health, economic and social impacts of COVID-19.

The CDES has been involved in this global effort from the very outset, because we recognised very early on that this is a grave and immediate challenge that is facing all of humanity. The survival and sustainability of the social and economic gains from decades of development are facing unprecedented danger. As academic scholars and public intellectual it is clearly our duty to contribute to formulating and disseminating analytically rigorous, evidence-based, practical policies to address the economic and social problems emerging from the biggest health crisis of a century.

Despite our very limited resources, in early April 2020 we initiated a two-pronged, research and engagement strategy to research challenges.

We launched short-term policy focused research efforts to monitor, document and analyse how the rapidly evolving pandemic was affecting economies and communities, and to generate new policy ideas for coping with the challenges. Our researchers contributed articles, blog pieces and op-eds, and participated in webinars and other fora to disseminate our analysis and recommendations within the wider community.

We also launched a webinar series 'COVID-19 and Beyond' to provide a forum for sharing of ideas and for stimulating debate on the huge economic and social ramifications and the policy challenges of the pandemic. We attracted some of the world’s thought leaders as well as scholars and policy analysts from the Asian region to the CDES webinar series, successfully reaching a world-wide audience.

Over the coming months, CDES will continue these efforts to address the short, medium and long-term challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can learn more about our research and engagement activities on COVID-19 by visiting the CDES webpage.

I thank you all for your continuing support and assistance, and hope you will all remain alert, safe and strong, and look forward to meeting each other in-person before too long.