When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, leaders around the world scrambled to develop policies to protect their citizens, with varying degrees of success.
Incoming Harvard Medical School student Sai Rajagopal ’20 started doing research into why it seemed that his native Canada was doing better than the U.S. “I noticed that in Canada they were implementing stricter lockdowns and achieving better epidemiological outcomes than in the U.S. I wondered, ‘What if we could bring some of these other countries’ COVID-19 responses to American listeners so they could see for themselves what is working and what isn’t,’” he said in an interview with SEAS.
Since May the pair have interviewed leaders and policy makers over Zoom in a Q&A format and posted the 15-minute edited recordings to the Bridging Borders website. More than a dozen episodes are currently available. Guests include presidents, prime ministers, and other policy leaders from different countries and territories across the globe.
During interviews with several different prime ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states, for instance, Hundal and Rajagopal said they noticed a common theme of mask-distribution challenges. And they proposed a solution to address them.
“We followed up with recommendations for inter-island mask-distribution schemes that aligned with CARICOM ‘travel bubbles,’ which were implemented to kickstart the tourism-based economies,” Hundal said, referring to agreements that ease travel between neighboring countries.