What Have We Learned from the Pandemic of 2020?

The ethical, moral, economic and social consequences of the 2020 global pandemic have been monumental. We were confronted with many stark images of death and suffering across the world as the contagion spread early in 2020. As the world and Australia moves towards recovery in 2021 we need to take heed of valuable lessons for the future regarding international relations, trade, manufacturing and global supply lines (especially for medicines, medical equipment and food), adherence to scientific principles and protections for the most vulnerable in our society. The development of some bizarre conspiracy theories regarding the pandemic distorted debates throughout 2020.


  • Face-to-Face


  • Mark Honigsbaum, The Pandemic Century; A History of Global Contagion from the Spanish Flu to Covid-19, Penguin 2020
  • Articles on the 2020 Pandemic by various speakers and commentators available on the Australia Institute website at www.tai.org.au


  • Key features of the 2020 pandemic
  • Responses in Australia and across the globe including positive and negative behaviours and attitudes, including the emergence of conspiracy theories
  • Lessons learned from the pandemic in 2020 and from Australia’s responses
  • Questions we should ask and attempt to answer in the recovery period 2021-2022


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Gain a good understanding of the new vocabulary and concepts which have developed in 2020 as nations battled the pandemic across the world
  2. Identify the key concerns of governments and citizens and the factors contributing to heated debates about pandemic management and controls throughout 2020
  3. Identify the lessons we can learn for the future as a result of the monumental events of 2020 Including references to international trade and alliances, adherence to scientific principles, manufacturing industries, supply of essentials including medical equipment and food, protecting the most vulnerable in society, nation and the co ordination of national, regional and local responses.

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