Shahzia Sikander, Epistrophe, 2016, Ink and gouache on paper, 5x16 Feet (Detail)

News release

Launch of Ideas & Futures online journal re-imagines societies beyond the pandemic

May 27, 2020

Thinking and beauty matter. A new online journal, launched earlier this month in response to the COVID-19 crisis, aims to intertwine aesthetics with a desire for social justice. Ideas & Futures is an open online journal, created by long-time friend and associate of the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies, Dr. Sadia Abbas from Rutgers University - Newark, and the director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, Raza Ahmad Rumi. 

Originally from Pakistan, Sadia, who is also an author, describes her struggle trying to get back to her home in New York in one of the first articles posted on the journal’s website. For a period, she wonders if it might be safer staying in Karachi, a city with its own dangers, rather than returning to New York, one of the cities most affected by the virus. It was during this time, a little over a month ago, that Sadia began to see the need for a collaborative international response to this complex and multifaceted crisis.

At the same time, Raza Rumi, a policy analyst, journalist and author, was mirroring Sadia’s experience. Raza, a Pakistani citizen, was quarantined in Ithaca, in upstate New York, observing the steep rise of COVID-19 deaths and infections in the city and across the U.S., when he heard from Sadia. Together they began to explore what such a platform would look like, and soon afterwards, Raza’s colleagues at Naya Daur Media (NDM), published the website.

Ideas & Futures offers an alternative and safe space for meaningful discussion and reflection on today’s most pressing issues, away from the hysteria and fear-mongering of today’s mainstream news media. Both hope to see a wide variety of voices contribute to their platform, including international scholars, activists, journalists, authors and artists. “The role of intellectuals and thinkers and writers has always been paramount in not just shaping ideas, but also giving visions for the future,” says Raza. Sadia is particularly excited for artists, such as Shahzia Sikander, who’s breathtaking painting, “Epistrophe”, is featured on the journal’s home page, to contribute visual art that combines thinking and beauty, in the pursuit of just and vibrant societies.

Though this journal was born out of the COVID-19 crisis, Sadia credits the concept for Ideas & Futures to her experiences in Greece, specifically, her time spent on the island of Lesvos. “My engagement with Greece at that historical moment from 2007 to then what happened in 2015 when the economic and refugee situations converged had a lot to do with it,” she says, “in a village like Molyvos you can see everything in microcosm...a village that’s very open to the world because it’s both a tourist village and then becomes at the front line of the refugee for me, my encounter with Greece was very central to the direction that a lot of this work has gone.”

Those interested in learning more about this project, or in submitting content for the journal can find instructions on the Ideas & Futures website.

For more information about the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies and its programs, please visit our Media page.

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