Dr. Mark Wenyi Lai discusses ‘Political Collectivism under Covid-19’ at USTGS web-conference

Wenzao Ursuline University Languages Department Chair Dr. Mark Wenyi Lai, shared his research “Political Collectivism Under COVID-19,” to an audience composed primarily of academics and experts, on December 5, 2020, in a web-conference hosted by the University of Santo Tomas Graduate School (USTGS).

Dr. Mark Wenyi Lai referred to political theorists like Kant, Bentham, and Rousseau. He highlighted that striking a balance between state power and individual liberty has always been difficult. However, the collectivism in this context and as seen in China, Taiwan, and their immediate neighbors (Sinosphere) may come in the form of Confucian obedience; likewise, the effective application of technology offers important lessons in this era.  Political collectivism is viewed as collaboration between the government and its citizens utilizing the balance of control and autonomy, a concept posited by Robert Dahl, to maximize the benefits for the people.

Lai underscored the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on global economic issues.

Global cooperation is essential to prevent a crisis similar to the pandemic coupled with a host of other disasters. He prodded the political scientists, public administrators, health providers, and scholars to think ahead and contribute to possible solutions before another contagion strikes.

Following the lecture, a panel of experts shared their observations from the perspectives in Public Administration, Political Science, and Public Health: Edwin S. Martin, Ph.D. (Lead Discussant), Noel Lansang, Ph.D., Dennis C. Coronacion, Ph.D., and Marilyn D. Yap, Ph.D. 

Dr. Gina Lontoc, USTGS Coordinator for International Relations, was the Moderator for Panel discussion and open forum; Dr. Elizabeth Arenas, USTGS Faculty Secretary, hosted the Conference program.

Cultural patterns feature in the diverse approaches of countries in their responses to COVID-19. Political theorists may provide lights and shadows, but coronavirus penetrates seamlessly. These were commonly shared in the thread of remarks from the welcome message of the USTGS Regent and Dean of the Faculty of Sacred Theology Rev. Fr. Rodel E. Aligan, OP, S.Th.D., the opening remarks of USTGS Assistant Dean Prof.  Camilla Vizconde, Ph.D,, and the introductory remarks of Professor Belen L. Tangco, O.P., Ph.D., Program Lead of Political Science and Public Administration Cluster.

In his Closing Remarks, USTGS Dean Prof. Michael Anthony C. Vasco, Ph.D., reaffirmed the difficulty in finding a balance between authority and safeguarding the freedom of citizens. He thanked the organizers of the event and everyone for participating in the excellent opportunity of having the academic exercise amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The webinar was attended by 197 participants that included renowned professors, experts and practitioners in the health sciences and social sciences, graduate and undergraduate students, scholars, and researchers of the University, and international students from Taiwan, other Asian countries, and other world’s regions.

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