Emerging Voices for Global Health (EV4GH) is a multi-partner blended training program, aimed to support young and emerging health policy & systems researchers and practitioners, particularly from Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), in becoming influential global health voices and/or local change makers. The program typically includes online, and face-to-face training. Over the last decade, the EV4GH training program has been held biannually, in close association with the global Health Systems Research symposia. 

This year, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Health Systems Research symposium (HSR2020) was converted into a largely virtual event, to be held in three phases: (a) First phase consisting of skills building sessions, special panels and plenaries from the 8th to 12th November 2020; (b) parallel sessions to be held every two weeks from end of November 2020 to March 2021; (c) and, ideally (if the COVID situation allows), a small (invitation-only) face-to-face synthesizing event in Dubai. This edition of EV4GH will follow a similar program. The Emerging Voices (EV) 2020 program will be held in two phases: (a) a virtual phase that will have both synchronous and asynchronous training sessions in September-October 2020, followed by (b) a short Face-to-Face (F2F) phase in Dubai end of March 2021 which will align with the United Arab Emirates Health Policy Forum (subject to COVID-related travel possibilities). New and alumni EVs will also participate in the various stages of the HSG symposium. 


For this venture, the EV4GH selection committee received over 400 applications for the two tracks this edition offers – (a) the young researchers, track; (b) change agents track. The participants for the EV 2020 venture were selected through a comprehensive two-stage review & selection process.  In the first stage, all applications were reviewed by 2-3 reviewers independently. Reviewers included EV alumni, teaching staff/faculty from EV partner institutes, and other EV well-wishers and facilitators involved in previous EV programs. End of June 2020, the EV scientific committee (consisting of representatives of the EV partner institutes, a representative of the HSG secretariat and a few EV governance members) made the final selection. 

The selection was based on the shortlist from the (first stage of the) review process, and aimed once again for a good mix of EVs, based on participation from different regions, representation from partner institutions, area of work, inputs/preferences from the main financial supporters of the EV 2020 venture (and of course funding available), gender, level of experience. All selected candidates demonstrate an interest to engage critically on global health issues that have local relevance within their country/local health systems and share a strong commitment to health equity. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many uncertainties, and we are navigating this much like everyone else. The EV governance team (in close collaboration with the local host, the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government) is keeping a close eye on the evolving situation. We hope the EV 2020 programme (including the planned F2F event in Dubai end of March 2021) will be conducted as planned! Plans have been made for certain foreseeable contingencies, such as dropouts due to local travel restrictions. A short waitlist of EV applicants has been developed as a backup to address this. All 400+ EV applicants (accepted applicants, applicants on the waiting list, and the ones who didn’t make it to the selection) were notified early July. 

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the EV program and offers an opportunity to look back and ahead. Over the years, the network has nurtured a focus on equity and action on social determinants of health. This equity focus has been embedded in the programmes of various cohorts, including through application of gender and power lenses, and a more recent focus on climate change and on fragile and conflict affected states. Reflecting on the past decade of EV4GH, we seek to reaffirm its promise of continuing to incubate disruptive and critical early career leadership within global health. And as EV chair Dorcus Kiwanuka Henriksson says, the EV network “might bend but will not break”, even in difficult COVID-times. In fact, the Emerging Voices have perhaps never been needed more! 

The EV team is looking forward to a successful EV 2020(/2021) venture, in collaboration with the local host the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government in Dubai. Preparations for the virtual programme are in full swing now, under the supervision of Tanya Seshadri (in collaboration with EV governance members Faraz Khalid and Goran Zangana, and a whole team of EV alumni & staff of partner institutes).  

See you all in early September!

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