Summer 2014

IDN News

Director’s Note

Sita Ranchod-Nilsson

The Ebola crisis is threatening to undo hard-won development progress in West Africa, a region just beginning to recuperate from more than a decade of civil wars. Responses to the Ebola crisis vary. Reports from Liberian colleagues detail many examples of organizations and individuals working tirelessly to care for the afflicted and contain the spread of the disease. However, there are also many examples of misinformation and people acting out of fear and distrust. Some compare their present insecurity to the civil wars that ravaged Liberia for more than a decade. There is understandable disbelief and anguish that something on that scale could be happening again.

Closer to home, the treatment of two infected aid workers at Emory University Hospital also has elicited a range of responses—fear about the disease spreading, ethical concerns about the experimental serum being used to treat the aid workers, and pride in those who are stepping up to care for the afflicted both here and in West Africa. 

As the crisis continues to unfold, no area of life in Liberia is immune from its impact. Education, the economy, and the justice and security sectors are deeply affected. The crisis also dramatically illustrates that we are all profoundly, globally interconnected. Addressing the Ebola crisis and rebuilding in its aftermath will require the joining of hands across the world.  

As the current issue demonstrates, Emory faculty and graduate students, along with colleagues at The Carter Center and in-country partners, are making a positive difference not only regarding Ebola in Liberia. With no less determination, they are building cultures of peace in Sudan and South Sudan and ending sexual violence. After reflecting on these stories, I hope you will get in touch to share your thoughts.  

All the best,

Sita Ranchod-Nilsson
Director, Institute for Developing Nations,
Emory University

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