The Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East & Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI) had the official launch of its first edited book titled, ‘The Covid Challenge: Impact on Middle East & Africa’ on April 12,2021. The Keynote address was delivered by Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant of Pakistan’s Prime Minister and Federal Minister, Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Ministry. The Chief Guest on the occasion was Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister for Education. Other distinguished discussants included: Dr. Khalid Hussain Memon, Special Secretary Middle East, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan; Mr. Ali Javed, Additional Secretary Africa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan and Ambassador Rizwan- ul-Haq Mahmood, Former Pakistani Diplomat to Muscat, Abu Dhabi & Jeddah. The launch was attended by former ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps, academics, students and media personnel.
While introducing the book Ms. Amina Khan, Director CAMEA said that when the Coronavirus pandemic took the world by storm in 2020, everyday life came to a standstill. While the pandemic has become the ‘new normal’, it has increased our yearning to return to normalcy. As editor of the book, I have been fortunate to receive diverse views and analyses on this very important subject that brings forth relevant and well-rounded discourse on the topic in question. She highlighted that, this book is CAMEA’s humble attempt to make sense of this collective quandary gripping humanity all over the world. While the future remains fairly uncertain still, valuable lessons have been learnt, such as the necessity of working together, not taking things for granted and understanding that no matter how meticulously we prepare, some challenges will still blindside us. In short, we should not let the pandemic rob us of our sense of humanity.