UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights. Roma, Italy

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Bioethics Art Exhibition at the University of Texas

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Mexico Workshop updates

playa_carmenThe Fourth International Bioethics, Multiculturalism and Religion Workshop and Conference On Social Responsibility in Bioethics to be held in at Anahuac University, Mexico City, November 10-12, 2014 is well under way.  There will be a public conference by Prof. Dafna Feinholz who is Team Leader, Sector for Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France. The workshop is well represented by experts of many different religions from different parts of the world.  Being in Mexico, the Mesoamerican perceptive will be represented for the first time. See Speakers list and Schedulepdf_button .

For practical details on participation, see Letter to participants

A special Side trip to Playa del Carmen has been organized for those who want to relax after these busy days of meeting.


A Picture meant for history books, not headlines

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by Michael Gannon

Families fleeing their homes, leaving their city behind forever, carrying on their backs the little they can cling to, with innocent little faces trailing them with tears dripping onto the desert sand beneath them…

Imagine that picture…spare a moment to try and sense the pain, the loss, and the trauma in need of healing that will lie ahead. You have probably seen the like in a history book, where you were taught about a past injustice and moved by the suffering faces you saw. You might have wondered how anything like that could happen, and you might have felt assured that it couldn’t happen again in our modern and progressive times. But the picture you are imagining now describes a reality that is current, happening today, and the pain is being felt by our brothers and sisters in their lives, in their hearts, and in their families.

The situation of persecuted religious groups in parts of the world is real, and has intensified. People are being pressured to renounce their religion against their true desire, or to face heavy tax penalties and societal discrimination that would incessantly burden if not cripple their families. If they refuse to submit to either, they are threatened with death. Most have chosen another option, that of fleeing their hometowns where they are no longer welcome. This reality is dramatic, extreme, tragic, and begging for compassion. The children are the most heart-wrenching victims of these crimes.



Progress Report 2012-2014

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Executive Summary   017_2__Light_In_the_Square

Some of the chief outcomes of our commitment to promote  an integrated system of research, training, information, and documentation on bioethics and human rights are the following:

  • Improvement of communication regarding the project of the UNESCO chair, its mission, and its activities within the organization and to the public (particularly through our internet site: www.unescobiochair.org and periodical newsletters)
  • Design, launching, and consolidation of some academic programs and activities in collaboration with our UNITWIN partners in Mexico and Angola
  • Strengthening of the Neurobioethics Research Group (through ongoing monthly meetings)
  • Continuation of a forum of diverse bioethics thought leaders through the organization of our 3rd International Workshop on Bioethics, Multiculturalism and Religion in Hong Kong (Dec 2013), which offered a framework to guide the application of bioethical principles with regards to various religious traditions. Preparation has begun for the 4th Workshop on the Principles of Social Responsibility and Health in collaboration with Anahuac University in Mexico City (Nov 2014).
  • Innovative involvement of artistic community in bioethics issues through the organization of our 2nd International Bioethics Art Competition focusing on cultural diversity and the protection of future generations (May 2013) and preparation of the 3rd edition of the same competition.
  • Increased interest and involvement of new scholars and students from our host institutions (UER-APRA).  Some have volunteered as fellows and interns, making possible the consolidation and development of our activities.

Read the full report here.


UNESCO Chair Fellow Participates in the 7th Annual Pisa Days of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology

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Prof. Fr. Alberto Carrara, LC, Fellow of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights and Coordinator of the Italian Research Group in Neurobioethics (GdN) participated in the 7th Annual Meeting – Pisa Days of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology titled: Psychiatry: time for change, that took place in the Galilei Hotel in Pisa (Italy) on June 16-18, 2014.

Prof. Carrara gave a plenary lecture dealing with the contemporary application of neuroscience in psychiatric practice, with a particular focus on psychiatric patients as vulnerable members of society. The lecture was titled: Neuroethics in Psychiatry, and took place on June 18, 2014, at the end of the meeting.

Carrara noted that psychiatry has greatly changed with the advances in research. The remarkable increase in neuroscientific research in recent decades has corroborated the notion that “mind” and “brain” largely correspond and that psychiatric symptoms also result from brain disturbances. Neuroscientific research has opened new horizons to psychiatric interventions, thanks to the development of treatments such as psychotropic drugs.  Today we can affirm that we know much about the pathophysiology of mental disorders, we can control most psychiatric disorders and symptoms and, in an increasing number of cases, we can even restore normal equilibrium. Likewise, psychological practice has become more scientifically-oriented with some techniques showing reliable effectiveness, to the point that the combination of both drugs and focused psychological treatment can be decisive in some patients.



Newsflash: Chair Director to Address Association of Latino Leaders

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New Book: Religious Perspectives on Human Vulnerability in Bioethics

9789401787352Springer press has published a new book: Religious Perspectives on Human Vulnerability in Bioethics.  Editors: Joseph Tham, Alberto Garcia, Gonzalo Miranda.  This is second in the series of Global Bioethics.  The new volume is a product of the Second International Workshop held in Rome on Human Vulnerability.



Chair Fellow Speaks on Person-Centered Health Care at Spanish University

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UNESCO Chair Fellow Fr. Joseph Tham gave delievered two bioethical talks during his visit to the Universidad Franciso de Vitoria in Madrid Spain July 3-4. Tham addressed the European Society for Person Centered Healthcare in his conference on “Person-centered Healthcare according to the Catholic Tradition.” Tham’s own abstract of the talk is included below.

Tham also commemorated the legacy of the late Dr. Edmund Pellegrino in an address to the Institute of Bioethics entitled “Testimony on Dr. Pellegrino, virtuous man and educator who lived what he preached.” Tham’s original Spanish abstract of the talk can be found below, followed by an English translation.


UNESCO Chair Fellows Participate in the 4th European Conference on Religion, Spirituality and Health in Malta

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Prof. Fr. Joseph Tham, LC and Prof. Fr. Alberto Carrara, LC, Fellows of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights participated in the ECRSH14, the 4th European Conference on Religion, Spirituality and Health that took place in the Mater Dei’s Hospital in Malta Island From the 22nd to the 24th of May 2014.

The conference, organized by Prof. Dr. Donia Baldacchino (Educating Health Care Professionals on Spiritual Care, University of Malta), focused on the integration of religion and spirituality into clinical practice. The keynote speakers approached the topic from their specific professional background. The Malta Lecture was held by Prof. Harold G. Koenig, an expert in this field from Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, USA.

The ECRSH14 was sponsored by the Research Institute for Spirituality and Health, Langenthal/Switzerland, in collaboration with Malta University, and was titled: Integrating Religion/Spirituality into Clinical Practice: Focus on Health Care Professionals.

Prof. Fr. Joseph Tham, LC and Prof. Fr. Alberto Carrara, LC also met Malta’s President during the opening congress event on the 22nd of May in the Presidential House (see image below).

The speakers came from different countries around the world: Prof. Dr. med. Arndt Buessing (Universität Witten/Herdecke, Germany), Rev. Prof. Christopher Cook, MD PhD (Dep. of Theology and Religion, Durham University, UK), Prof. Farr A. Curlin, MD (Program on Medicine and Religion, The University of Chicago, IL, USA), Prof. George Fitchett DMin, PhD (Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Il, USA), Rev. Dr. Ewan Kelly (NHS Education for Scotland, National Health Service, Edinburgh, UK), Dr. Piotr Krakowiak (Nicolaus Copernicus University Torun, Poland), Prof. Dr. Christina Puchalski (George-Washington-University Washington, DC, USA), Rev. Prof. John Swinton (King’s College University of Aberdeen, UK), and Dr. Jackie Watts (The Open University, London, UK).

You can find more information here. http://www.ecrsh.eu/

You can download the congress’ program here. http://www.ecrsh.eu/mm/ECRSH14-First-Announcement-Sep-6.pdf

UNESCO Chair Director receives COEBIO award in bioethics in Mexico City

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The COEBIO (Council for the Recognition of Bioethically Responsible Businesses) awarded UNESCO Chair Director Dr. Alberto García with a prize for his work in the field of bioethics in a March 27 day in honor of various Mexican business characterized by bioethical responsibility held in Mexico City.  Upon accepting the award, García delivered a brief talk on “The importance of being a bioethically responsible business.”

“The value of a bioethically responsible business is measured by its contribution to the common good and not only in its balance sheet and income statement,” noted García in his talk.

The ceremony recognized the commitment to respect life, dignity, moral values, health and the environment in the following organizations:. Refrigeración Ojeda, Hospital de la Mujer Médica Sur Lomas, Grupo Zapata, Red Queen Technology, Comedor Santamaría, Metro Producciones, Laboratorio Clínico Biomédica de Referencia y el Instituto Las Águilas.  The business Citelum México is also in the process of being recognized for a similar comitment to bioethical responsibility.

“Our mission is to empower businesses to implement a bioethical culture among its employees, as well as to support companies in restructuring their code of ethics”, explained Lorena Malpica, General Director and  founding partner of COEBIO.

“This entrepreneurial attitude or virtue that cares and is concerned with bioethics does not diminish, but rather increases the sensitivity and identification of employees with the business’s mission.  It also stimulates job security and productivity by providing greater awareness of the social value of  the fruit of one’s labor, increases one’s interest in training to provide better services, creates or promotes more harmonious relations that are more open to collaboration,” explained García.

COEBIO seeks to promote these noble ideas by training companies and institutions through courses that enable them to live bioethical values ​​in their daily activity.  The courses are taught by a team of specialists in bioethics (doctors, lawyers, philosophers) that offer an interdisciplinary approach.  A council of experts also assures that the business accords with high standards in their code of ethics.

“Bioethics is applied in all business sectors because the person is the center in all these areas.  It is about transforming a business by transforming the people of whom it consists," added Malpica.

“Therefore, bioethics in a business is not an expense, but rather an income,” concluded García.

For more information, please visit the organization’s official website: www.coebio.org.


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