Bioethics Made Personal: An Interview with UNESCO Chair Global Art Competition Board Member on the Artistic and Ethical Significance of the Exhibit
An interview with Hallie Moore by Michael Baggot
What is the value of the UNESCO Chair Global Art Exhibit?
This exhibit offers the viewer insights into accomplished artists' capacity to make visible such abstractions as "vulnerability." We are creatures who with our five senses understand the objective world. We can see, smell, feel, hear, taste the sensory world. But the abstract concepts that this exhibit highlights: respect for the vulnerable, concern for the ethics of life, these are difficult ideas. Such an exhibit as this one, puts a face on these abstractions. We see the aged, the ill, the impoverished and forgotten, and we are moved to offer compassion.
A most unusual merging of disciplines, the competition’s theme centered around the principles of respect, pluralism, personal integrity and human vulnerability as defined in articles 8 & 12 of the UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. Artists were encouraged to reflect goodness, truth and beauty by means of painting, collage, printmaking, drawing, mixed media, and photography.
225 submissions were received from 23 countries by 132 artists. An international expert panel of six judges was charged with choosing the winners. The official website of the competition is www.bioethicsart.org and the Italian site is www.artebioetica.org The 11 winners can be seen here, together with the 19 finalists a catalogue will eventually be published. (Image shows one of the 11 finalists "Olga" by Andrea Mariconti)
Listen to Alberto Garcia and Yvonne Debina who were interviewed about the nature of the contest on KPFT 90.1 in Houston on August 5, 2011.
The UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights Global Art Competition will be exhibiting 11 winners from 6 countries in the following locations:
- The Woodlands, Texas: Northwoods Unitarian Universalist Church, September 10, 2011 from 3 - 9 p.m. Reception 4 p.m.
- The United Nations: General Assembly Hall, New York, NY, October 3, 2011, Reception from 6 - 8 p.m. ongoing exhibit until October 6, 2011. The 11 winning pieces will be unveiled and the best of show will be announced.
- Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University: Rome, Italy, in conjunction with the Multicultural and Religion Workshop there October 9 - 11.
- M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX at the Conference on Ethics March 31, 2012, Reception and auction.
Our twenty-second meeting and open seminar was held on June 24, 2011 hosting Dr. Michele Farisco who spoke on: The Ethical Pain: detection and management of pain and suffering in patients with disorders of consciousness.
Michele is a philosopher who specializes in ethical issues concerning the areas of transhumanism, cognitive enhancement, severe disorders of consciousness such as the persistent vegetative state, and legal aspects of neuroscience.
On March 3-4, 2011, Alberto Garcia participated in Symposium of UNESCO Chairs in Human Rights, Bioethics, Peace, Democracy and Tolerance on "Developing together a new partnership for a strengthened cooperation" in Bergamo, Italy. This event was organized by the UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Ethics of International Co-operation at the Università degli Studi of Bergamo (Italy) with the support of the Division of Human Rights, Human Security and Philosophy and the Division of Ethics of Science and Technology, Social and Human Sciences Sector of UNESCO (University of Bergamo) This meeting was convoked by Dalfna Feinholz to discuss the formation of an active network of UNESCO Chairs.
One member of the Neurobioethics group, Michele Farisco, published an original article entitled, "The Ethical Pain: Detection and Management of Pain and Suffering in Disorders of Consciousness," in the journal Neuroethics.
Abstract: The intriguing issue of pain and suffering in patients with disorders of consciousness (DOCs), particularly in Unresponsive Wakefulness Syndrome/Vegetative State (UWS/VS) and Minimally Conscious State (MCS), is assessed from a theoretical point of view, through an overview of recent neuroscientific literature, in order to sketch an ethical analysis. In conclusion, from a legal and ethical point of view, formal guidelines and a situationist ethics are proposed in order to best manage the critical scientific uncertainty about pain and suffering in DOCs and ensure the best possible care for the patient.
Alberto Garcia and Joseph Tham visited the Thurgood Marshall School of Law and the University of Houston Law Center, both located in Houston, Texas in September, 2011.
At Thurgood Marshcall they met with the faculty members, the dean of the law school and explained to some freshmen the concept, history and implications of human rights and its relationship with bioethics and human dignity.
They also spoke to students at the Honors program of the Health Law & Policy Institute, University of Houston Law Center, on a similar topic of human rights and bioethics.
August 30, 2011
Alberto Garcia and Joseph Tham spoke to a group of staff working at the headquarters of World Bank and IMF in Washington, DC regarding the concept and development of the "Principle of Vulnerability" based on the UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. It was a preview on a workshop on vulnerability that the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights is organizing in Rome this coming October.
Alberto Garcia and Joseph Tham attended a seminar on "Body Mind and Brain" organized by the University of Houston Law Center ~ Health Law & Policy Institute (HLPI) on August 1, 2011.
This seminar was organized by Bill Winslade, director of the HLPI. Participants included faculty members of the institute and Bill Monroe, Richard Armstrong, and David Eagleman.
The seminar focused on discussing "Our Brains Are Not Us", a chapter from philosopher Walter Glannon's new book, Brain, Body and Mind: Neuroethics with a Human Face.
Our 21st Neurobioethics meeting and open seminar on "Neuroethics in the Italian press: how neuroscientific news by professional journalists and scientists reach the public eye" was held on May 13, 2011.
Professional journalist Antonello Cavallotto who works for the INPS press release office in Rome explained how neuroscientific news reaches a vast public today in Italy. Interest in the discoveries and applications of scientific knowledge related to the brain has increased exponentially.