While the global divisions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are great, so are the opportunities for connection. As working from home became necessary for many across the globe, people have become more comfortable with online meetings and learning. These online meetings make creating new connections across the globe, allowing people to meet without the need for travel. As technology makes long-distance connections easier, people will be able to share and understand other cultures better.
In addition to the connections formed through business, the pandemic could provide a platform to connect people who may never have met in ordinary circumstances. A scheme could be set up similar to more traditional penpals, but using technology to allow instant exchange of ideas and culture. This scheme could be aimed at children aged 10-16, forming connections between children around the world. The scheme would introduce children to people from cultures they would never typically interact with, showing the leaders of tomorrow that there is more that unites us than divides us. The scheme could also give the children a project, such as creating a business plan or developing an idea that would benefit the environment. This project would teach children to collaborate and overcome problems, such as the difficulty of working online, and navigating language barriers.
The scheme could be run while the pandemic is ongoing, due to it being online, but could still be run online after the pandemic is over, perhaps with a prize allowing the team with the best project to meet in person to develop their ideas further.
This scheme will not be an instant fix to the divisions created by the pandemic, but would allow younger generations to develop a life-long appreciation for the challenges and triumphs of different cultures; as these young people enter the world of business and government this knowledge and understanding would be brought with them. Through cultural exchange, global unity is fostered at an individual scale, which will inevitable follow to the wider world.