AS THE Covid-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill in the first half of 2020, political analyst, news host on CNN and bestselling writer Fareed Zakaria found himself wondering about the long-term impact of what was obviously one of the most defining events of the 21st century. While he tried to make sense of the crisis for himself, he used his sharp analytical skills to unpack the far-reaching consequences of the pandemic in his most recent book, Ten Lessons For a Post-Pandemic World (Allen Lane), released in October last year.
Zakaria, 56, will be the guest at the Express e-Adda on Wednesday. He will be in conversation with Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Indian Express Group, and Vandita Mishra, National Opinion Editor, The Indian Express.
One of the most influential international relations analysts of our times, Zakaria grew up in Mumbai, where he attended the Cathedral and John Connon School. Afterwards, he moved to the US, where he got a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, and, later, a doctorate in political science from Harvard University. As the host of ‘Fareed Zakaria GPS’, a weekly international and domestic affairs programme on CNN since 2008, Zakaria’s interviews with global thought leaders and heads of states have offered viewers deep insights into contemporary socio-politics, including, most recently, on the aftermath of the Capitol Hill violence in the US by the supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump.
Apart from a weekly news column, the New York-based Zakaria is also the author of ‘The Post-American World’ (2008), ‘The Future of Freedom’ (2007) and ‘From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America’s World Role’ (1999). Part of ‘Foreign Policy’ magazine’s top 10 global thinkers of the last decade in 2019, Zakaria was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian honours, in 2010.
In his latest book, Zakaria writes about how the world is set to undergo significant behavioural changes in the aftermath of what has been one of the most unsettling events since the end of the Cold War. He offers insights into how we need to repurpose ourselves and move beyond populism to meet the economic, political, social and technological challenges that will inevitably follow.
“What the pandemic has done is that it has shone a light on the state of governance in the world and what we have seen is almost like a social science experiment. The pandemic essentially is global and yet you have these very different national performances,” he said, in a podcast with New York Times’s Pamela Paul earlier this month.
And so, he opined, the older political order will have to yield to a new paradigm based on the quality of government, one in which “good well-functioning institutions staffed by technocrats, systems that are not corrupt, not dysfunctional” will mark the decisive distinction between nations that meet crises better and those whose response is inadequate.
The Express Adda is a series of informal interactions organised by The Indian Express Group and features those at the centre of change. Past guests at the event include Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the Dalai Lama, economists and Nobel laureates Amartya Sen, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, world badminton champion PV Sindhu and national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand, actor Pankaj Tripathi and others. During the pandemic, the event has moved to an online format.