Stopping the Spread in the Time of COVID-19:

The story of Ideas Beyond Borders and its campaign to stop

the spread of COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa

Stopping the Spread describes the story of Ideas Beyond Borders and its campaign to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa during the period March through July 2020.

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This slim volume features the beginnings of one such story, that of how a small, young nonprofit sought to meet the moment. In early March 2020, Ideas Beyond Borders (IBB’s) New York and Middle East teams were grappling with the impact, like many organizations around the world. Amidst the mundane, there was an urgent question: How was an organization committed to promoting ideas and self-education as a means of igniting a new Middle East Enlightenment even relevant in the midst of such a crisis? 


Certainly, young people in the Middle East were eager for the facts. At the same time, misinformation and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 were spreading like wildfire. These posts weren’t coming from disorganized social media users on the fringe, but rather from well-organized, well-funded disinformation campaigns run by state actors. 


The people at IBB quickly realized that in reality, there was no truer expression of the Enlightenment than to promote the use of reason and facts in the face of a fundamental challenge for humanity. IBB would play a humanitarian role, promote the facts about COVID-19, and combat disinformation. By providing relevant, direct assistance, IBB would also demonstrate the positive impact of the Enlightenment in action.

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