1. In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge we are facing in this pandemic era?
(00:15 – 03:25)
Well, if we are facing the possibility that the system of our international relations
as we know will be deeply affected, actually it is already affected.
Of course, we hope that, again, after the pandemic things could go back to normal as we say.
But we don’t know what would be this normal.
You know at the moment there are disruptions in the life of everyone, and,
also, in the international relations systems It is difficult to travel
it is so difficult to keep relations as we have had before.
At the same time, I must say that either way, contacts are made easy by the new technologies.
So, a while before we thought that should always be in person to talk.
Now, instead, we are used to talk with different platforms with webinars.
I have an average a couple of webinars a week.
Sometimes, also, they’re not convenient because if they’re based in Europe, that is 8 hours difference.
So, sometimes we learn to work in also in different time zones. It is the positive aspect.
Of course, we are worried that some effects like the…
I can say the difficulties to enter countries, could stay for a period.
Before, we used to travel quite easily from a place to another.
Now, instead, you need visa almost everywhere.
You need, sometimes, to present some medical test result.
We don’t know how long this will stay or when this would be taken away.
This is affecting not only our personal life.
But think of companies that do business all over the world.
Think of people that work, travel and so on.
For instance, Italy is a country that relies very much on tourism.
Before pandemic more than 1 million Koreans a year visit Italy.
Of course, now, there are not anymore.
So, the people are suffering because of this pandemic and
we don’t know when we can travel for business for leisure or for any reason again like we did before.
2. Recently, the pandemic has been undermining the cooperation among countries. In your opinion,
how can the governments and international organizations reinvent multilateral cooperation to make peace and prosperity in the world?
(03:25 – 05:12)
This is this is a very good question.
We don’t have to (should not) give up.
We don’t have to (should not) think that these problems can be solved domestically.
(pursuing) Only the national approach is wrong.
In this case, during this period, of a global challenge like COVID-19,
we have to strengthen our cooperation.
Think for instance, when the vaccine, finally, will be available.
It will be a tremendous effort in terms of logistics, for instance, must be produced must be delivered.
Must be also must be some choice will be made as to who has to get this vaccine first.
And we don’t have to (should not) forget that actually it is very up in our agenda.
We don’t have to (should not) forget that
there are now countries that usually have difficulties in getting access to
normal medicines in this country’s example, the right to get the vaccine like, let’s say,
the more advanced countries.
So, we have to think not only in terms of our country,
But this is a problem that either is solved globally or is not solved at all.
So, this is the international cooperation we have to aim to think
in terms of what is necessary to do.
It is to have a solution that is convenient for everyone.
3. Could you please talk about the roles of non-governmental sectors to survive and overcome the pandemic crisis?
(05:13 – 06:47)
I think it is an essential role because non-governmental sector already has,
for instance, not only in European and Italy,
but also in Korea they perform a very important role in supplying
and in the substituting some actions that the maybe the governments,
especially at the central level, cannot do, and do in terms of welfare.
Non-governmental organizations are very important.
When the pandemic strikes, This means that it causes many troubles for many people.
Health problem, and the economic problem, NGOs are fundamental.
You know, Italy and Korea share the fact that they are not exactly young societies.
Thanks also to the the level of a healthcare both in Korea and Italy,
the average life (expectancy) is very high and also both countries don’t have a high birthrate.
So, our societies are aging.
This means that there are a lot of people in need of care and sometime during the pandemic
these people were isolated. So, NGOs can perform a very important role in this regard.
4. How long do you think the pandemic situation will last?
(06:48 – 08:17)
Well, if I knew this answer, probably I’d be rich!
I guess, in my opinion, I don’t expect the vaccine to be widely available until middle next year.
They’re encouraging signs that
the production of vaccine will be probably completed by the end of the year or beginning of next year.
But I said before then we must manufacture them at very large-scale.
We have to think of 7 billion people we cannot think only for few hundred thousands or millions.
So, only the people of Italy or Korea. So, also this would be an enormous logistic effort.
And I hope that the governments are preparing for this because having the vaccine is not the final part.
The final part is, when this vaccine will be available to common citizens,
then, I hope, by the middle next year, we might come back to a kind of New Normal.
5. Do you think the way and level of global cooperation will be changed in the post-pandemic era? If yes, how and why?
(08:18 – 10:09)
I hope so. I am sure and I hope so.
We need to have a high level of cooperation.
This pandemic has shown very important features. For instance, countries that were prepared,
like Korea, they performed, pretty, pretty well.
I mean, actually, exceptionally well in handling the pandemic and keeping the numbers very low.
In Europe, where we were not prepared to this kind of event,
our last pandemic was 100 years ago. Probably at the beginning, and we were caught by surprise.
It took a while. And took a while to coordinate ourselves.
and it seems that we should do much, much more at every level.
I think, at the scientific level, I think, at the economic level,
I think, at the welfare level, because such global challenges cannot be dealt (with) by a single country.
I mean, take the case of Korea.
I said before that the Korean government has done an excellent job,
but, of course, it is not that Korea can go normal life before.
if the other countries are not.
I mean, we cannot let people in from areas where the pandemic is still very strong.
So, this affects the life of Korean citizens.
So, this means that it must be a global effort to contain and bring the pandemic under control.