Meridian Exchange | October 2020

An ongoing pandemic coupled with a historic U.S. Presidential Election means it's anything but quiet in Washington. Meridian continues to work each day to strengthen engagement between the United States and the world through diplomacy, global leadership and culture—and we know now more than ever that global collaboration is the only solution to the greatest economic and health crisis of our time.

See below for highlights from the 9th Annual Meridian Summit, our conversation with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and more. Join us next week for a conversation with NAACP President Derrick Johnson.

Global health security is national security

Seven months after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic countries around the world continue to struggle as we work towards an equitable global recovery plan. Over 40 world leaders joined the 2020 Meridian Summit to explore The Rise of Global Health Diplomacy, agreeing that a collective multidisciplinary and multifaceted approach is the only solution to solve this international crisis.

Didn't tune into the Summit? Here's how you can catch up:

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on tackling crises

COVID-19 exposed every weakness in our country and forced leaders to rethink strategies for equitable recovery. "We're in a situation we're not accustomed to being in," Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in conversation with NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro during a virtual MeridianOnline event, adding that her top priority is making sure D.C. residents feel safe returning to work and school. Speaking on the racial injustice movement happening in Washington and across the United States, Mayor Bowser said she implemented robust regulations to ensure law enforcement are held accountable, highlighting the importance of balancing funding in public investment with crime prevention. On tomorrow's U.S. Election Day, Mayor Bowser stressed the importance of safeguarding the democratic process and ensuring every voice is heard. "Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t vote, you demand your vote," she concluded. Read more here.

Redefining diplomacy in the wake of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic reconfigured so much of our normal lives—and in some ways, there is no 'normal' to return to. Meridian’s inaugural Redefining Diplomacy in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic report, authored by journalist Elise Labbot and produced by the Meridian Center for Diplomatic Engagement, examines how diplomatic norms, embassy operations and the role of diplomats has and will continue to transform in the wake of the greatest health crisis of our time. This report synthesizes insights shared by current and former diplomats from around the world on post-COVID practices, the short- and long-term effects the virus will have on diplomacy, and how global leaders can support the evolution of the foreign service. As the fundamentals of diplomacy continue to change over the coming months, the Meridian Center for Diplomatic Engagement will research and analyze these trends in greater detail as part of our Redefining Diplomacy Initiative. Now is the time to engage in bold thinking and reimagine collaboration. Read more here.

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