Key Activities

Coping with COVID-19: Arab-German Perspectives on Living through a Global Pandemic


The current coronavirus pandemic is challenging our societies in unprecedented ways. AGYA members, alumni and invited experts from various disciplines across the Arab world and Germany discuss the multifaceted implications of the novel coronavirus not only for science and medicine, but also for our societies, economies, culture and politics. This cross-disciplinary dialogue platform addresses questions like: Is Germany’s Basic Law fit to address the governance challenges posed by the pandemic? How could Saudi Arabia theologically justify cancelling the Islamic pilgrimage, the Hajj? In what ways can isolation affect physical and mental health? And what might the ongoing pandemic mean for the global economy?

This page gathers views and analyses of the AGYA members and alumni on different aspects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Podcast: 'AGYA goes viral'

Welcome to the podcast ‘AGYA goes viral’! We here at the Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA) invite you to join us as we explore the diverse implications of COVID-19 for science and society at large.
In each episode, Arab and German AGYA members and alumni from different scientific disciplines come together to discuss research on and amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. Find the latest episode below:


Plagues in Ancient Times & Modern 3D Simulations for Potential Therapies

Episode 3 – Jul 2020

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In this podcast episode, AGYA members Professor Dr. Zeina Hobaika from Lebanon and Dr. Konstantin Klein from Germany discuss lessons learned from plague epidemics in ancient times as well as the benefits of using modern software and 3D simulations to better understand how COVID-19 behaves and how it might react to certain treatments.

Find all podcast episodes here.

AGYA members on COVID-19

Patterns of International Coverage of Covid-19

AGYA Alumna Hanan Badr discusses ‘Patterns of International Coverage of Covid-19’ in the journal Democracy (Al-Demoqratiya) published by Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.

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Making 3D Printed Face Shields

The OpenLab of the Helmut-Schmidt-University is currently producing 3D-printed face shields and investigating their practicality. AGYA Alumnus Tobias Redlich, Leader of the OpenLab finds that 'the advantages of urban production are being more and more recognized by decision-makers, especially now in the corona crisis. This could lead to a more self-sufficient, economically and socially compatible production method in the long term'.

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How could Saudi Arabia theologically justify cancelling the Hajj?

Against the background of the Corona Pandemic, Saudi Arabia has called on Muslims from around the world to suspend their preparations for the Hajj for the time being. In her article (in German), published online at the, AGYA member Lena-Maria-Möller, explores the question how Saudi Arabia could theologically justify cancelling the Hajj.

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What consequences does the pandemic have for countries of the Global South?

The corona pandemic poses additional challenges for the countries of the Global South. In this interview (in German) by, AGYA member Irene Weipert-Fenner discusses particularly vulnerable regions and sectors, regional and international initiatives and long-term impacts.

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Is Germany’s Basic Law Fit for the Current Coronavirus Epidemic?

‘Not really‘, says AGYA alumnus Pierre Thielboerger, Professor of German Public Law and International Law at the Ruhr University Bochum. ‘The emergency regulations of the Basic Law are unclear, incomplete and in need of revision‘.

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How does the Lebanese government deal with the COVID-19 epidemic?

‘A track record of 'deliberate inaction' when it comes to policymaking has left Lebanon completely ill-equipped to tackle the coronavirus crisis‘, says AGYA alumna Tamirace Fakhoury, Associate Professor of Political Science and director of the Institute of Social Justice and Conflict Resolution at the Lebanese American University.

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Unmasked: The Cultural Dimensions of the Debate on Mandatory Face Masks

AGYA Alumna Julia Hauser argues that the controversy around masks in the context of covid19 may be rooted in the deep-seated suspicion of facial covering in Europe since the nineteenth century.

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Covid-19 and the intensification of socio-economic conflicts in the MENA region

In her article for the PRIF blog (in German), AGYA member Irene Weipert-Fenner discusses three crises in the MENA region that are intensified by the spread of the coronavirus: the labor market crisis, the budget crisis, and the political crisis.

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