ICoCSPA emphasizes Social Sciences importance in handling pandemics

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ICoCSPA FISIP UNAIR international conference through a zoom meeting on Thursday (22/10/2020). (Photo: Intang Arifia)

UNAIR NEWS – The Covid-19 pandemic has been in a spotlight in various dimensions of life due to its widespread impact. This issue inspired the holding of the sixth International Conference on Contemporary Social and Political Affairs (ICoCSPA) to highlight the contribution of social science in overcoming the pandemic. The annual international conference by Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIP) Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) was held on Thursday, October 22, 2020 and presented three speakers from Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia.

In the opening, Vice Dean III of FISIP Irfan Wahyudi, S.Sos., M.Comms stated that ICoCSPA 2020 was held to facilitate the exchange of ideas and networks between social science practitioners. “Today we gather to listen to, discuss your innovations and views, ladies and gentlemen. I hope the results of this conference can be solutions to social problems in the pandemic, “he said.

In the main event, Professor of Anthropology, FISIP UNAIR Prof. Dra. Myrtati Dyah Artaria highlighted the problem of Covid-19 pandemic from an anthropological perspective. According to her, humans have actually experienced many pandemic eras, and one of the main ways of handling it is adaptive behavior. However, the professor of anthropology revealed that people still find it difficult to adapt to healthy behavior due to fear, trust issues, stigma, and political affiliations affecting their views. 

The second speaker was Prof Abdul Jalil Mohamed Ali as Assoc. Professor from Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia presented a topic on political leadership and public trust in times of crisis. “In times of crisis, especially pandemics, the public will definitely expect leaders who are able to act strong, calm and trustworthy,” said the Dean of Faculty of Administrative Science and Policy Studies.

Therefore, leaders must develop excellent crisis communication skills by being honest, transparent, showing empathy and optimism, using credibility to build trust, providing a forum for public opinion, and being present as a role model for society. According to Prof. Abdul, this strategy is able to increase public trust in the government and encourage better crisis accommodation through community participation.

Meanwhile, on the last occasion Prof. Mark Turner from University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra presented his observations on leadership during a pandemic. According to him, one of the best examples of leadership in times of crisis can be seen in the leadership of Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern. The results of Ardern’s leadership can be seen from New Zealand which so far has only recorded 1972 positive cases with 25 deaths.

“For this reason, a leadership framework in times of crisis is needed by emphasizing a unity of action in handling pandemics. Some of the main keys lie in the participation of experts in decision making, mobilization of collective efforts, and openness to input and criticism, “said the adjunct professor of UNAIR State Administration Program.

From this conference, 50 participants from Indonesia, India and Taiwan will compete to present their ideas in handling Covid-19 pandemic. To implement FISIP’s commitment to inclusiveness, the event committee also provided sign language translators throughout the international conference which was held via Zoom and YouTube live streaming.

Author: Intang Arifia

Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia

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