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2021 NCCU ╳ NYCU WHO Simulation: The Importance of Collaborations and Interdisciplinary Studies in Global Health

Date : 2022-01-04 Department : International College of Innovation
【Article by International College of Innovation】
Global health has remained as the hottest topic all around the world since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2019 with more and more variants threatening to all of mankind. International College of Innovation (ICI) has designed the Global Health Governance course to help students better analyze and deal with such global health issues.

On December 25th (Friday) afternoon, International College of Innovation held the annual WHO Simulation, an event from the Global Health Governance course. The event took place in NCCU Da Hsian Library, Luo Jia-lun Lecture Hall (7F) with the presence of professors and students from National Chengchi University (NCCU) and National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU). There were also VIP guests who are experts on public health including Dr. Steve Hsu-Sung KUO - Former Principal of Yang Ming University and former Director of CDC Taiwan; Dr. William Stanton - Vice President of National Yang Ming University, former Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT); Dr. Sana Hashmi and famous writer Brian Hioe. This year marks the second WHO Simulation in NCCU, but it is the first time ever that NCCU welcomes NYCU students to join Global Governance Governance course and this event under the University System of Taiwan (UST). The whole event in English was livestreaming on Facebook fan page “NCCU x WHO Simulation” and open for students in both NCCU and NYCU to come and join. This event was directed by the course's professor Liu Han-Hsi and hosted by a student from the Diplomacy Department.

The main topic of the event was to simulate the world’s biggest health organization - WHO and its videoconference in response to a new outbreak of a pandemic flu while the whole world is still fighting with COVID-19. Students will represent different countries in WHO who are affected by this new flu and have discussions about the virus detection, border closure, vaccine development, and resource allocation. The simulation was divided into 4 phases in total and was followed by guest speakers’ feedback and comments after. The event’s content followed the simulated news reports which were posted on the event’s twitter account @nccuxwho_mock. During Phase I, The Thai Ministry of Health chaired the meeting and announced the new local cases of the infectious H5N1 flu in Kalasin, Thailand. The meeting will have discussions regarding questions such as “Is this a public health emergency?”, “What steps should be taken?” and “What are the main considerations?”. The Thai government then asked WHO for fundings. Vietnam as Thailand’s neighboring country also expressed their concerns about the flu origin and the safety of Vietnamese people in Thailand. The WHO then released a statement and conducted a video conferencing including the WHO and representatives of Thailand, Vietnam, the U.S, China, India and Palau. The questions of sample sharing, border control, vaccines and donations were heatedly discussed. The teams had to answer questions raised by others during a short amount of time.

After the video conference ended, VIP guests were invited to give comments on the simulation. All of the guests congratulated the students on their excellent performance during the simulation. Dr Steve Hsu Sung KUO, former Taiwan CDC Director, who is an expert on public health and had real experience in participating in WHO meetings during SARS in 2003 said that the topic of the simulation is totally possible and even seasonal flu could be a big problem. He pointed out that there might be some slight difference in the real WHO meeting compared to this simulation in terms of committee members, procedure and time. After all, he praised the students for mentioning virus sample sharing because it is the beginning of everything. In addition, he also stated that solving global health issues not only needs medical background and scientific analysis but also requires social scientists and diplomats’ help. We should see the whole picture when addressing a global issue. After that, Dr. William Stanton said that the simulation was really well-planned, active and the students played the role of different countries really well. He also hopes that the students can learn how hard it is for different countries to reach an international agreement and that you would need persistence and patience. Dr. Stanton also stressed the importance of equal vaccine distribution in light of globalization. Dr. Sana Hashmi, an expert on Indian studies also stated that global health is really important because “No one is safe until everyone is safe”. She also said that the team representing India really did a great job in stating India’s position. What’s more, writer Brian Hioe, one of the founders of New Bloom Magazine also helped the students to report the simulated live news on the event’s twitter account. Then, ICI Dean Prof Wen-ling Tu gave closing remarks on behalf of ICI, she thanked all students and professors for participating in this course. She is so grateful that this year ICI took one step forward to work with NYCU and had more VIP guests in the events. She is also really looking forward to next year’s WHO Simulation.

Being asked about his opinion towards the event, Professor Liu shared his thoughts that he felt really proud of the students: “We have a diverse group of students this year, 20 out of 26 are students are international students which are from 10 different countries, our students learned how to do teamwork effectively as a team and thank you NYCU students for travelling to NCCU to take the course. Since the class has both undergraduate and master degree students, undergraduates can take this chance to learn from their seniors too.” A student from the Political Science Department shared that this event was the highlight of the course and what he found interesting about it was that the students could not represent the country that they are from and had to present why they chose that country. Through this course, he could enhance his English skills, had a broader perspective of global health issues and also learned how to collaborate with students from different backgrounds and countries.

In the end, everyone took a group photo together to close the meaningful event. The Global Health Governance course from ICI is open every Fall semester with the view to equipping students with knowledge about global health issues and how to deal with it. Students are more than welcome to join if they have interest in this field and want to broaden their horizons as a global citizen.
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