Global Town Hall

Hope in a Time of Uncertainty

OCTOBER 8 | 2020 | 8:30 – 10:00 AM (CST)

This event will be conducted virtually via Zoom  Register Today

The burden of the global pandemic on health systems, economies, and societies has been the most disruptive force in 2020.  It has brought into sharper focus other problems such as racial disparities and gaps in global governance, and it has dampened the spirits of people around the world. In the face of mounting global pressures—from the economic outlook to the climate crisis—many of us feel anxious and disheartened about the future. At the same time, faculty and students have a strong desire and capability to address these challenges.

Join us for a GLOBAL TOWN HALL featuring experts across disciplines and countries as they share which societal problem has them most concerned and what gives them hope for the future.

  • Moderator:  Kurt Dirks, Director, McDonnell International Scholars Academy; Vice Chancellor for International Affairs; Bank of America Professor of Leadership, Washington University in St. Louis

Program & Speakers

  • Six distinguished speakers from McDonnell Academy partner institutions will respond to two questions:
    • What global problem presents the greatest concern for you today, and how does your field of study address this problem?
    • What gives you hope for the future?

Distinguished Speakers

    • Shalini Bharat, Director/Vice Chancellor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India
    • Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor, Makerere University, Uganda; Registered Architect; Member, Uganda National Council of Science and Technology
    • Alejandro Poiré, Dean, School of Social Sciences and Government, Tecnológico de Monterrey; Secretary of the Interior of Mexico (2011-2012)
    • William Powderly, Dr. J. William Campbell Professor of Medicine; Larry J. Shapiro Director, Institute for Public Health, Washington University in St. Louis
    • Leila Sadat, James Carr Professor of International Criminal Law; Director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute and Special Adviser on Crimes Against Humanity to the ICC Prosecutor, Washington University in St. Louis
    • Rocky Tuan, Vice Chancellor and President, The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Lee Quo Wei and Lee Yick Hoi Lun Professor of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Q&A and discussion following. Students and faculty from around the world will have the opportunity to provide reflections on the topic and submit questions in advance as well as live during the event.
  • Announcement of the winner of photo contest.

Opportunities to Engage & Participate


Enter Photo Contest: “Hope and Resilience Around the World”


  • 1st place: $800
  • 2nd place: $400
  • Deadline: September 15, 2020

More Information | Photo Contest

Share Your Thoughts:  “What gives you hope for the future?”

  • Contribute a short video message (maximum 1 minute) to question or,
  • Share a written response (maximum 150 words) to question.
  • We will post on our website and use it during the event.

More Information | Submit Video

Submit a Question: Ask the speakers

  • Ask any of the speakers a question.
  • Submit during registration or use the online form.
  • We will choose a few to be asked during the event.

More Information | Submit Question