Aaron Maniam (MPP 2013) delivered a talk at TED's virtual conference on 'New ways to understand life in a pandemic', examining the language we use to describe the COVID-19 pandemic and how this affects our response to it. Drawing on his background as both a poet and policymaker, he outlines the limitations of the metaphors we use to discuss the pandemic – whether as a "war", a "journey" or, as he suggests, an "ecology" – and calls for a nuanced approach that draws on multiple, interlinking metaphors to help us engender a sophisticated, inclusive approach in responding to the pandemic.

Aaron is currently pursuing a DPhil in Public Policy at the Blavatnik School.