Leave No One Behind: Launch of 2019 GEM Report UNESCO

Leave No One Behind: Launch of 2019 GEM Report UNESCO

On Tuesday November 27th, the Global Education Monitoring Report on Migration, Displacement and Education was launched at Accademia dei Lincei in Rome. The event was hosted by UNESCO and opened a window on the education for migrants and refugee by analyzing what have been done by governments until now. Ministers, academics, civil society, youth and UNESCO Chairs were present during the launching of the report; among them Franco Bernabè, President of the Italian National Commission of UNESCO; Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO; Anna Cristina D’Addio, Senior Policy Analyst GEM Report, Fr. Fabio Baggio, Under-Secretary, Migrant and Refugees Section, Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development.  For our UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights, it was a moment of sharing the mutual principles on equal education in developed and developing countries.

The 2019 GEM report focuses on “presenting evidence on the implication of different types of migration and displacement for education but also the impact that reforming the curricula, pedagogy and teacher preparation can have on embracing diversity,” Stefania Giannini.  This report serves as a guide for teachers and governments to determine education objectives for future multicultural generations.

Franco Bernabè opened the discussions claiming that “in order to have social development it is crucial not to build walls but bridges,” rephrasing and broadening the subtitle of the report. The encounter of different cultures is what is needed to increase our societies.

Since our societies are becoming more multicultural, it is fundamental that our teachers are well prepared to communicate and teach children from different backgrounds. It is important to underline that the language used to study and to communicate are not the same.

Indeed, within the 2019 GEM Report are listed seven recommendations, which the main are the following: 1) teachers should receive more support to satisfy the quantity of roles and tasks that they are called to achieve to educate migrants and refugees. 2) Other Italian cities should look at some inclusive activities already established, for example, in Milan and Turin. 3) Governments should insist more on gathering data to estimate better the dimension of migration within their country.

Anna Cristina D’Addio also emphasized the importance of increasing trainings for teachers: “it is relevant that they have the right workflow tools to make these kids, the new generations part of our communities.” Often teachers do not feel supported and well prepared to work in a multicultural environment. According to a survey done in France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Spain and United Kingdom, teachers agreed that adjusting the new requests in favor of migrants’ education brought much work and caused frustration due to the lack of support.

The second part of the conference was dedicated to discussions and opened questions. Eugenio Bruno of il Sole 24 Ore, chaired two round tables pointing out interesting arguments around the launching of the report. First, he asked to Fr. Fabio Baggio the Vatican point of view of the situation of migrants’ education, which should be based on the development of centered education.  Mario Giro (Former Deputy Minister and Community of Sant ’Egidio), quite surprised, commented that finally UNESCO focused its research not only on the safeguarding of cultural heritage but also on education. Prof. Livi Bacci (University of Florence), on the other hand, introduceed the concepts of the Global Compact and its repercussion on Italian politics. Finally, Prof. Alberto Melloni (UNESCO Chair for Religious Pluralism and Peace), commented that the matter to migration (not an issue) linked to the religious aspects is not well considered in Italy.

Anna Cristina D’Addio welcomed representatives of international organizations such UNHCR, IOM, and Save the Children in the second round table. Ana de Vega, Paola Alvarez, and Francesca Bocchino discussed the difficulties of accessing the education not only for children but also for adults. Often migrants are collocated in different classes increasing the number of migrants that leave education at early stages. Another factor that pushes away people from education is the bureaucracy and its complex procedures, problems which the 2019 GEM Report is committed to change and improve.

As a UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights that promotes bioethical and human rights principles based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it was illuminating being present during the launching of the 2019 GEM Report and contributing with our activities and mission. In this context it is important to underline the constant work that our UNESCO Chair has been doing through the project EUROSOL and CivicAL to improve and understand the nature of migration flow.

Civic Education for Social Inclusion – CivicAL

Civic Education for Social Inclusion – CivicAL

 

Civic Education for Social Inclusion – CivicAL

 

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” Sydney J. Harris

The UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights for the last year has been involved and active in raising awareness of the situation of migrants and refugees in Europe, specifically in Italy. Within the project European Citizens for Solidarity (EUROSOL), co-funded by the Europe for Citizens programme of the European Union, the UNESCO Chair was committed to overcome the misconceptions regarding migrants and refugees in Italy by organizing a debate on  “Human Dignity and Human Rights of Refugees”.

As a continuation of this project, the UNESCO Chair has signed an agreement to participate in Civic Education for Social Inclusion (CivicAL) project within the Erasmus + programme coordinated by the Altius Francisco de Vitoria Foundation, Spain. The aim of this project, which started in October 2018 and will end in September 2020, is to give to migrant and refugee adults access to civic education to integrate more fully into the community. In other words, CivicAL is responding to the increasing demands of the European Union (EU) to be a large family of multiethnic and multicultural societies, to witness in each state to a growing diversity due to the migration flows where a national cultural identity is compatible with a European identity.

While much has been done, the level of knowledge of the EU, its policies and institutions, is not enough. This is particularly valid for adults in disadvantaged situations, such as those who are migrants, of an ethnic minority background, refugees and recently arrived migrants. The current proposal will address the gap in civic education for adults in disadvantaged situation in six EU countries. The consortium is composed of Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, Romania from different public and private sectors. In two years, the consortium is going to develop the Trainer’s Manual entitled “Civic Education for Disadvantaged Learners” and the EU citizenship game, both translated into six EU languages

The UNESCO Chair team involved in this project will be focused on:

  • Organizing the kick off meeting;
  • Developing unit 3 of the manual: EU citizens’ rights and responsibilities;
  • Developing level 2 of the game: Learn the citizens’ rights and responsibilities
  • Organizing Regional CivicAL Forum to disseminate the development CivicAL output, tested and available for free use by the project targets.
  • Opening and managing Facebook Group.

Moreover, to facilitate the aforementioned project, the UNESCO Chair will also provide a Code of Ethics to guide the work of the consortium.

“As Professor of Philosophy of Law, International Law, and Chairholder of UNESCO Chair, I granted the request to participate in CivicAL project, because I think it is fundamental to understand that on one hand migrants’ rights need to be respected, and on the other, migrants have their responsibilities towards the host countries. Education is a pillar in the existence of a person, a tool that frees minds and gives access to opportunities. As a UNESCO Chair, which seeks to Foster the Art of Convergence and Cooperation in Global Ethics, in EU, it is our duty to provide education tools to migrants, but it is also their responsibility to be committed to it.” Alberto Garcia, Chairholder of UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights.

 

VIII International Bioethics Conference in Bogotá

VIII International Bioethics Conference in Bogotá

By Santiago Marcet – 

The Director of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights, Dr. Alberto García Gómez, attended the VII International Congress of Bioethics held by the Universidad Militar Nueva Granada in Bogotá, Colombia, during the 3rd, 4th and 5th of October.

 

In his lecture titled “Neurobioethics, Placing the Human Being at the Center of Neuroscience, Ethics, and Law” Dr. García reviewed some of the most prominent topics in the field of neurotechnology, and as the title suggests, he was able to explore the ways in which the human being ought to remain the gravitational center of such a rapidly evolving reality.

The first issue Dr. García addressed was the need to re-formulate the ways in which we think about our brain. What is the relation between mind and brain? Despite the common claims that both are one and the same thing, we are still unable to locate the human sense of identity and self within any of the 28 substructures of the brain. The intangibility of human singularity invites us to think of the human being not only as an material entity, but also as a transcendent one: by means of rationality, we are able to place our inclinations beyond the contingencies of our material body, interact with others in society and foment virtue.

 

This perception of the human being introduced Dr. García’s next discussion, namely the bioethics of neuroscience. As he insisted, a position open to progress and change must belong to all bioethicists, as long as the overarching anthropological view is not lost. Moral judgement, he stated, must focus on two elements when talking about neuroscientific ends: the means by which they are achieved and their intention. Drawing on this distinction, Dr. García talked about the essential differences between therapy and enhancement, which lead him to address Transhumanism in a neutrally critical way: the disposition to endow the human being with a higher degree of dignity by means of biological enhancement can prove to be a slippery slope, and common good must prevail over individual dispositions. Many questions surround this topic: does all scientific advance constitute progress? Will enhanced human capabilities increase the already existing gap between the rich and the poor? Will the transhuman being constitute a new paradigm that will make the concept of human singularity blur? These and many other issues should always be addressed bearing the idea of human dignity in mind.

 

Reversing the actors of his previous discussion, Dr. García talked about the neuroscience of ethics. Or in other words, the ways in which neuroscience can help us understand the intricacies of our moral thought. He explained the problems that arise from the implantation of recent theories that deny the existence of human free will. If there is indeed a measurable relation between certain brain structures and human behavior, if human choices are nothing more than the end of a chain of causality that is merely material, he states, the concepts of responsibility (in moral terms) and imputability (in legal terms) lose all meaning.

 

Dr. García finished his lecture reminding us that human dignity is not derived from the complexity of our biological structures nor from our mental functions and faculties. Rather, it is found in the metaphysical reality that goes along the fact of being human: transcendence.

Ethical Challenges in Clinical Experimentation and Vaccines

Ethical Challenges in Clinical Experimentation and Vaccines

By Fausto Martinez & Andrea Iannone –

Bioethics is the discipline that studies human behavior in healthcare and life sciences. It also examines values, rational, and moral principles at the basis of decisions in medicine and biology. Bioethicists recognize that mankind has always pursued greater knowledge, and that the goal of scientific research is to obtain concrete benefits for patients. Therefore, bioethicists are often concerned about the researcher or doctor on one hand, and the patient as the subject of experimentation on the other. In between them lie a vast array of recent technological developments (for example, biotechnology) that stimulate a series of questions. Is science “unstoppable” or does it have limits? Is biomedical technology truly morally neutral? Is emphasizing the human utility of scientific investigation and experimentation ethically relevant?

Researchers addressed these and other questions at the third symposium by A.S.I.E.R.I (Asociación de Investigadores Españoles en la República Italiana, the Association of Spanish Researchers in Italy) on May 18, 2018, at the the Real Academia de España en Roma, Italy. The topic of the conference was “Responsible Innovation and Research”. Further discussion centered on the I-Consent project, funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme. Briefly put, the project aims to improve guidelines on informed consent in vulnerable populations under a gender perspective.

 

Innovation and research can be defined as “responsible” if they respect human rights. Based on the ethical and juridical principles of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, human rights are human beings’ inherent moral and legal entitlements to dignity, liberty, and equality at any historical moment, in any context. Therefore, the human dignity of both the patient and the researcher must be respected in scientific research and medical practice.

Since they can experience pain, distress and lasting damage, animals are also entitled to humane treatment in medical and scientific research. Whenever possible, appropriately licensed scientists should experiment with specimens with lower neurophysiological sensitivity, thus reducing the number of live vertebrates involved. When animals with higher pain sensitivity are necessary for experimental purposes, researches are advised to adopt techniques to avoid suffering, stress, or injury.

During the symposium, Prof. Alberto García, Director of UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights at Università Europea di Roma and the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, underscored the importance of respecting the human patient’s privacy. This process includes compliance on the part of the experimenting institution with data collection and sharing regulation being paramount. Patients have a right to know what data is collected, with whom it is shared, and how they can rectify or delete it – if they so choose – in the future.

According to García, non-discriminatory and non-stigmatizing medical research practices ensure the equal treatment of patients. He also stated that patients’ rights need to be observed not only during research, but also after its completion. Once a drug has been released onto the market, there must be a phase of pharmaceutical vigilance to monitor identify and evaluate previously unreported adverse reactions to the drug.

 

 

In his last point, Garcia discussed the I-Consent project. In particular, our UNESCO Chair will explore and analyze baseline knowledge of IC for the development and validation of ethical issues concerning informed consent in translational/clinical research and vaccination. Clear informed consent procedures ensure that patients’ dignity is upheld. Informed Consent is a document of utmost important for a patient since it allows him to voluntarily decide to participate in research. However, the research’s objectives are often not shared with the concerned stakeholders. That is why informed consent must become a process during which patients have the essential information clearly presented to them. Innovative tools, such as videos, comic strips, or apps might favor communication among all stakeholders. If not, those unable to consent – often the most vulnerable among us – risk seeing their human rights violated.