With so many things causing division in the world today, where can we look to find unity, cooperation, and progress? For starters, we can look to the science field. On April 10, 2019, astronomers and astrophysicists released the first picture of a black hole. This is an amazing feat that could not have been done by one country on its own.
The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) consists of eight telescopes across the globe that were each used to capture pictures of a black hole 55 million light-years away within the Messier 87 galaxy in order to create one cohesive image. According the program website (see previous link), “The EHT collaboration involves more than 200 researchers from Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America.” Such an incredibly large undertaking and accomplishment requires coordination and cooperation that isn’t often broadcasted and publicized.
Think back on the Space Race of the 1950s and 1960s, a time of intense competition between countries. This was a time when space exploration was just beginning to come to the forefront of science and discovery. At the heart of it, however, it seemed to be motivated by conflict and a need to be the “number one” country, essentially to gain power. We have come a long way in terms of working together for the progress of humanity, as opposed to the individualized thinking that sometimes clouds potential opportunity for advancement, often advancement that would benefit more than one country and its people.
Nowadays, we have projects like the Event Horizon Telescope that show the benefit of working together as a species to make discoveries not known to man before this point. Those in the field of space exploration and their contribution to international cooperation doesn’t stop there. The International Space Station, for example, is a monumental ongoing project of collaboration that has been visited by over 18 countries. This field seems to see the need for international inclusion and involvement in order for progress to take place.
Perhaps other areas can use the space exploration field as an example of how international collaboration can be done successfully and productively. They have not only shown how to be successful, but also how we can overcome past power struggles throughout history. Although we can’t deny history, we as a people do not necessarily need to follow the past patterns and history does not need to repeat itself if it can be improved. We can work together to continue advancing our knowledge and reaching our potential as a collective unit rather than as individuals, even on a global scale.
About the Author
Camille Meeks is a senior at UMKC and currently serves as a community intern with the IRC.