Among all the news stories that dominated the headlines in 2020 one stood out as it impacted on our lives like few before: the coronavirus pandemic. It was therefore only fitting that its impact and “the world after corona” should be the topic of the 2020 edition of our Beuth-Sprachenpreis. Judging from the student interest in the competition, the choice of the topic was certainly right!
The Jury would like to thank all the students who devoted their time and energy to composing and submitting their essay entries. We were very impressed by both the quality of the work submitted and the detailed analyses of the implications of the pandemic for all the spheres of our lives.
We would like to congratulate the following winners of the 2020 edition of our Beuth-Sprachenpreis:
Matthias Pedro Fluhr (1st place)
Matthias Pedro Fluhr has written an insightful, thoughtful and compassionate essay on the effects that the Covid crisis has had on the plight of migrants and refugees worldwide.
In his work, Mr. Fluhr takes a historical perspective on previous pandemics and demonstrates how these have been instrumentalized to intensify prejudice against some of the most vulnerable people in our society. He applies the lessons of history to the current crisis and analyses the reasons why the crisis has accelerated the acceptance of migrants and the legalisation of their status in some societies (e.g. Japan), while, unfortunately, further endangering their welfare and security in others.
Mr. Fluhr concludes that although the pandemic “has intensified a declining trend in egalitarianism in numerous countries ... [it is also] an opportunity to rethink how democratic values can be upheld in a sustainable way”.
David Freyny (2nd place)
David Freyny, in his essay, focuses on the economic effects of the pandemic as well as the social, technological, and environmental ramifications (both positive and negative) that the current crisis has had thus far and will produce in its eventual aftermath. He argues that the Big Five tech companies will continue to benefit from the changes to society and the economy wrought by the pandemic, and that smaller businesses will probably suffer quite badly. In this well-researched, clearly expressed, and cogently argued essay, Mr. Freyney concludes on a positive note that: “There have been previous economic crises and recessions in the last century and the global economy always recovered from [them], even if it takes time”.
- Anna Mukhina (3rd place)
Anna Mukhina has written an insightful analysis of how the pandemic has affected our lives in the spheres of government policy, the economy, society, technology and the environment. She argues for the importance of governments taking swift and decisive action against the spread of the pandemic, and emphasizes the need to willingly accept the restrictions imposed upon our lives by responsible governments. Ms. Mukhina also argues that the pandemic has permanently changed the way we work and study, and has offered us an opportunity to rectify some of the work/life imbalances that have taken their toll on the working population since the introduction of digital technologies to the workplace. Ms. Mukhina concludes that “An important lesson from this situation should be for all humanity to understand what thoughtless, careless consumption can lead to, and to understand that we all live in one common, global space”.