History of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights

On May 28, 2009, the Director-General of the UNESCO signed the agreement for the establishment of the UNESCO Chair.  The rectors of the two universities which submitted the proposal for the founding of the UNESCO Chair, Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum and the Università Europea di Roma, signed the agreement on July 7, 2009. During this past year, there has been constant communication with officials of the Italian Commission.

Alberto Garcia currently directs the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights under the auspices of Institute of Bioethics and Human Rights.  A Board of Director has been formally established and had several meetings.  At present, three fellows collaborate with the Chair in the areas of Neurobioethics, Bioethics and Mass Media, and Bioethics, Multiculturalism and Religion.

In this past year, an executive director has been established to oversee the development of the Chair in the USA.  Another executive director who will be stationed in Rome will begin his function in September.  A four-day strategic planning session was held in February, 2011.  The Chair has also invested in a two-day fundraising planning session in New York during October, 2010.  A correspondent and a development officer have been named.  A Board of Advisors is in the process of being formed.

A first report of 2009-2010 was submitted to the UNESCO in December 2010.

Activities of Institutional Relations

During the past year, the director and fellows of the UNESCO Chair have met with heads of international institutions that have direct relationship with our mission to share with them the Chair’s different activities and initiatives.

  • On October 13, 2010, Alberto Garcia met with Msgr. Kuriakose Bharanikulangara, Counselor, and Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to UN in New York City.
  • On November 4, 2010, Alberto Garcia met with Msgr. Fortunatus Nwachukwu, Head of Protocol at the Vatican Secretariat of State in Rome, Italy.
  • On January 5, 2011, Alberto Garcia met with Msgr. Fernando Chica, Section of General Affairs, at the Vatican Secretariat of State in Rome, Italy.
  • On January 13-14, 2011, Alberto Garcia met with Sonia Bahri and Dafna Feinholz at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
  • On January 13, 2011, Alberto Garcia met with Msgr. Francesco Follo, Representative, Permanent Observer of the Holy See and Marina Misitano, Consul of Permanent Representative of Italy in the Headquarter of UNESCO.
  • On January 15, 2011, Alberto Garcia met with Msgr. Aldo Giordano, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the Council of Europe.
  • On February 17, 2011, Alberto Garcia met with Msgr. Jean-Louis Brugues, Secretary, Congregation of Catholic Education.
  • 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, Aula 1 S. Agostino) This meeting was convoked by Dalfna Feinholz to discuss the formation of an active network of UNESCO Chairs.
  • On March 8, 2011, Alberto Garcia and Joseph Tham met with Luigi Di Salvia, President of Religion for Peace, Italy who agreed to be a sponsor of the Workshop on Vulnerability to be held in October 2011.
  • On July 15, 2011, Alberto Garcia met with Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca, Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

In the past year, the director and fellows of the UNESCO Chair have met with different academic institutions and interested parties in different parts of the world to involve them in one or more areas of interest of the Chair.  This extensive of network comprises of 140 institutions from Argentina, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong,  Lebanon, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States.

UNITWIN activities

During this year, UNITWIN partners actively cooperated with this initiative.  In February, 2010, Alberto Garcia met with Oscar Martinez, Dean of the School of Bioethics of the Anahuac University in Mexico City who is coordinator of the UNITWIN program of the UNESCO Chair, to discuss and plan of the actions of the subsequent years.  On June 30, 2011, Martha Tarasco, Coordinator of the Doctoral Program, Researcher and Professor of the School of Bioethics, Anahuac University participated and gave a lecture on the “History of bioethics in Latin America” in Rome.

In the past year, an effort has been made to activate a Diploma on Bioethics and Human Rights at the Center of Human Rights of the Universidad Anahuac del Sur of Mexico.  This Center seeks to deepen the different aspects and basis of human rights by means of international academic exchanges.

In the past year, the UNESCO Chair has further discussed its collaboration with the UNITWIN partner Universidade Agostinho Neto of Luanda, Angola.  In the foreseeable future, an intensive course on Bioethics and Human Rights for professors is being planned.

On February 26, 2011, the UNESCO Chair signed a Memorandum of Understanding with University of St Thomas d’Aquin, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso situated in West Africa to cooperate in the areas of Bioethics and Human Rights.  Dr. Jacques Simporé signed this MOU with the UNESCO Chair director, Alberto Garcia and we anticipate future collaboration of academic exchange in teaching and research activities.  Dr. Simporé is the President of the University of St Thomas d’Aquin and director of the Center of Biomolecular Research Pietro Annigoni (CERBA).  Opened in 2006, CERBA focuses on the treatment of genetic and viral diseases; clinical research and basic biomolecular and pharmacological research, with special attention to HIV-AIDS.

Activities in the Different Areas of Interests

In this year, the activities of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights were made known through the internet page www.unescobiochair.org, brochures, YouTube videos, newsletters, and Facebook.

The following activities were organized, sponsored or participated by the UNESCO Chair in a significant way.

1. Bioethics, Multiculturalism and Religion

  • On September 29, 2010, Alberto Garcia gave a conference organized by the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute at the University of Toronto entitled “UNESCO Chair and its project on religion, multiculturalism and bioethics: Fostering the art of convergence and cooperation in global ethics.”
  • On May 14-15, 2011, Joseph Tham participated as conference speaker and panelist in Faith and Leadership Conference, organized by Renewal in the Spirit Community in collaboration with Catholic Studies Center of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Magis Center of Reason and Faith and Caritas in Veritate International, Chinese University of Hong Kong.  The title of his conference was “Does Science need Ethics?”
  • On May 26-28, 2011, Joseph Tham gave a paper on “The Challenges of Bioethics in Asia: A Natural Law Perspective” in the Joint Conference on “Christianity in Asia: Past Present and Future” by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and University of Notre Dame.
  • Second International Workshop and Conference on “Human Vulnerability” is being organized and will be held in Rome from 9-11, October, 2011.  With the advance of biomedicine, certain individuals and groups are vulnerable because of their incapacities to defend themselves.  The International Bioethics Committee as a UNESCO working group has for the last several years dedicated to deepen this principle of human vulnerability and personal integrity based on Article 8 of the UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (2005). We wish to supplement this effort with a religious perspective, since a great number of the world’s population is affiliated with some religious traditions.  This meeting will consist in a two-day workshop where bioethics experts from six major world religions—Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism—gather to discuss the meaning and implications of this principle in their respective traditions.  The third day would be an open conference for the public. The collection of these papers will result in the publication of a book.

Speakers and paper presenters at the event

Mustafa Abu Sway Associate Professor of Philosophy and Islamic Studies, Director of the Islamic Research Center, Al Quds University, Jerusalem

Dariusch Atighetchi Professor of Islamic Bioethics, Faculty of Theology, Lugano, Switzerland.

Michael Barilan Senior lecturer, Department of medical education, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Pedro Barrajón President, Regina Apostolorum University, Rome, Italy

Keung Lap Jonathan Chan Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy Department, Associate Director, Centre for Applied Ethics, Hong Kong Baptist University, China

Prakash Desai Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, UICMC, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, USA

Ricardo di Segni Chief Rabbi of Rome, Italy

Jonathan Halevy General Director, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem

Adina Halevy MSW, Psychotherapist, Jerusalem

David Heyd Chaim Perelman Professor of Philosophy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Dafna Feinholz UNESCO Chief of Section, Sector for Social and Human Sciences, Paris, France

Colleen Gallagher Chief and Executive Director, Section of Integrated Ethics in Cancer Care, Associate Professor, Critical Care, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA

Alberto García Director, UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights

Soraj Hongladarom Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Ping Cheung Lo Director, Centre for Applied Ethics, Hong Kong Baptist University, China

Gonzalo Miranda Dean, School of Bioethics, Regina Apostolorum University, Rome, Italy

Vasantha Muthuswamy Former Senior Deputy Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India

Paolo Scarafoni President, European University of Rome, Italy

Henk ten Have Professor and Director, Center for Healthcare Ethics, Duquesne University, USA

Martha Tarasco Coordinator of the Doctoral Program, Researcher and Professor, Facultad de Bioética, Universidad Anáhuac Norte, Mexico City, Mexico

Joseph Tham Professor, School of Bioethics, Regina Apostolorum University, Rome, Italy

Stamatios Tzitzis Research Director, Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Université Panthéon Assas Paris II, Paris, France

Hans Ucko Former Program Executive in the Office on Interreligious Relations and Dialogue of the World Council of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland

Ellen Zhang Research Fellow, Centre for Applied Ethics, Hong Kong Baptist University, China

2. Neurobioethics

The Neurobioetica Study and Research Group was founded on March 20th, 2009, in Rome, under the auspices of the Master in Science and Faith of the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum and the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights. www.neurobioetica.it A Board of Directors was created.  The group has been meeting approximately every month.  As of today, the group consists of 34 members coming from China, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, and USA.  Their background ranges from Medicine (Anesthesiology, Neuroradiology, Psychiatry, Neurosurgery, Geriatrics), Bioethics, Medical Biotechnology, Pharmacy, History, Journalism, Law, Neuroscience, Neurophysiology, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, Sociology and Theology.  Adriana Gini, MD and specialist in nuclear imaging, is the Fellows of the Chair and coordinator of the area.

Since its inception, the group has met monthly.  In these meetings, new members introduce themselves;  members and invited guests participate in presenting papers, conferences, and seminars that are either open or closed to the public followed by question period and debate; the Neurobioethics corner where upcoming neuroethics events, conferences and courses are announced, new books are recommended; and neuroscientific news and discoveries are outlined and discussed.  Below are summaries of past year’s meetings:

  • Thirteenth meeting and second open Seminar on “Neuroeconomics: interdisciplinarity in decision making” was held on September 14, 2010. Speakers included Adriana Gini, Alberto Garcia, Michael Ryan, Tomas Cozy, Francesco Orzo, and Alejandro Canada.
  • At the fourteenth meeting, Pedro Barrajón, Rector of the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, focused on the important role played by interdisciplinarity in our fragmented world and the need of a unifying theological vision.  Javier Fiz, Professor of Adolescent Psychology at the European University in Rome and Professor of Social Bioethics at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum presented his new book La costruzione della mente tra neurologia e pedagogia (Mind construction between neurology and pedagogy) Juan José Sanguineti of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross presented a paper on “The self as a cause”.
  • Fifteenth meeting and third open seminar “Treating neurological diseases while respecting human life: for an ethical use of stem cells” was held on December 3, 2010.  Maria Addolorata Mangione, moderated the event. Giovanni Gaviraghi, CEO of Siena Biotech, spoke on “Stem cells: discovery, classification and use in pharmaceutical research and regenerative medicine”.  Martin Bednar, Executive Director and General Director of the Clinical Section, Neuro-rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine and Alzheimer’s Projects of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, spoke on: “Stem cells and Restorative Therapy for CND disease”.  Gonzalo Miranda spoke on, “Stem cells: Ethical Dilemmas”.
  • Sixteenth meeting and open seminar “Neurotechnologies and their application to severe disorders of consciousness” was held on January 21st, 2011. The speakers were Paola Ciadamidaro, anesthesiologist from the Cristo Re Hospital in Rome, and Andrea Soddu, Coma Science Group in Liege, Belgium.
  • Seventeenth meeting and seminar “For a moral comprehension and awareness: proposal of neuroscience-philosophy integration” was held on February 11th, 2011. The speakers invited include Warren Brown, neuroscientist and Professor of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA; Jose Angel Lombo, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, who spoke on “Moral awareness: a philosophical and scientific approach”, and Marco Forghieri of the University of Verona.
  • Eighteenth meeting and open seminar “The HABITVS project: Human Archetypes – Biology, Intersubjectivity, and Transcendence in Virtue Science” was held on March 14, 2011. The main speaker was Michael Spezio, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, Scripps College, Claremont, and Visiting Associate Scientist, Psychology & Neuroscience Division of Humanities & Social Sciences, Caltech, Pasadena, CA. He is also an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church.  He spoke on Social Neuroscience and the Neuroscience of Morality.
  • Nineteenth meeting and open seminar “Brain Stimulation: therapeutic horizons, ethical and legal issues” was held April 1, 2011.   Speakers included Alberto Carrara, Massimo Gandolfini, Director of the Neuroscience Department of Fondazione Poliambulanza of Brescia and Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Lucilla Bossi, President of Parkinson Italia, and Riccardo Carrara from the University of Padua.
  • Twentieth meeting was held on April 6, 2011. James Giordano, Director of the Center for Neurotechnology Studies at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies in Arlington, VA, USA and a Senior Research Associate at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics at the University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, spoke on “Neuroethics: Balance and Prospective”.
  • Twenty-first meeting open seminar “Neuroethics in the Italian press: how neuroscientific news by professional journalists and scientists reach the public eye” was held on May 13, 2011.  Participants included Antonello Cavallotto, journalist of INPS press release office in Rome, Mario Bernardini, President of the Association of  Medical Journalists, Massimo Tognioli, Expert of Communication from the Campus Biomedico in Rome; Carla Basili, Institute Ceris/CNR, Silvia Mattoni, CNR press office, Claudio Pensieri, Campus Biomedico in Rome and Carlo Climati.
  • Twenty-second meeting and open seminar “The Ethical Pain: detection and management of pain and suffering in patients with disorders of consciousness” was held on June 24, 2011. Michele Farisco, specialist in transhumanism, cognitive enhancement, severe disorders of consciousness neuroscience and law, presented the findings of his paper based on functional MRI studies of severely compromised patients in the Liegi Coma Science Department.

Other Activities

  • On April 8, 2011, the Neurobioethics group held a roundtable discussion on “Mind, Brain, and neuroethics” at Viterbo’s Brugiotti Palace. This event was cosponsored with the Carivit Foundation of Viterbo. Orzi Francesco, a neurologist at La Sapienza University of Rome, was the moderator. The roundtable began with a reflection by the Bishop of Viterbo, Lino Fumagalli, followed by Gilberto Corbellini, history professor of medicine at La Sapienza University, Edoardo Boncinelli, Professor of Biology and Genetics at Vita-Salute University of Milan and James Giordano of Oxford University and Aurelio Rizzacasa, professor of moral philosophy at the University of Perugia.
  • William Casebeer. Technical Council, Joint Warfare Analysis Center, US Air Force Academy, Dahlgren, VA, USA spoke on “Souls’ in the Naturalistic Worldview: Consilience, Reduction and Ontological Claims.” This was organized by Masters in Science and Faith and Neurbioethics Group, Regina Apostolorum, March 9, 2010.
  • Adriana Gini and collaborators participated in teaching the course on “Elements of Neurobioethics” by Science and Faith Diploma Program, Academic Year 2010-2011.
  • Dr. Gini was a visiting scholars at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies under the Direction of Prof. James Giordano, Director of the Neurotechnology Center at the same Institution, October 2009 and subsequently with Prof. Vito Antonio Amodio, May 2010.
  • Michele Farisco, group member, spent four months in Liege, Belgium, working at a research project with the Coma Science Group (Steven Laureys, Andrea Soddu), thanks to a European Grant.
  • Alberto Garcia, Joseph Tham, and Alberto Carrara attended a two day seminar “Neurosociety, What is with the brains these days?” Institute for Science, Innovation and Society and the Said Business School, University of Oxford, UK, December 7-8, 2010.
  • 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 on August 1, 2011.


  • “Consciousness and the end of life issues: a multi and interdisciplinary proposal by the Neurobioethics Research and Study Group in Rome”. R. Amante v., Amodio G., Chieragatti P., Ciadamidaro, M. Farisco, A. Garcia, A. Gini, R. Luna, M.A. Mangione, P.R. Pascual, L.C., A. Soddu.
  • Proceedings, Conference of the National Forensic and Legal Medicine Association, Ancona, Italy (September 29th – October 2nd, 2009).
  • Adriana Gini gave a talk “Severe Impairment of Consciousness Revisited: Can Interdisciplinarity Solve the Dilemma?” at the Second Meeting of the Neuroethics Society “Setting the Agenda for Global Brain Health and Neuroethics,” November 11-12, 2010, San Diego, CA. An abstract for a poster presented at the meeting will be published in the American Journal of Bioethics-Neuroscience.
  • Publications by Michele Farisco: M. Farisco, Ai confini della coscienza. Libertà umana tra prima e terza persona, in M. Signore-G. Scarafile, Libertà. Crisi e ripresa della coscienza morale, Edizioni Messaggero, Padova 2009; M. Farisco, Uomo-tecnica-natura. Il modello postumanistico, Zikkurat Edizioni&Lab, Roma-Teramo-Senigallia 2009; M. Farisco, «Neuro-bio-diritto: tra imputabilità e negazione di responsabilità. Verso un nichilismo giuridico?», in Archivio Giuridico, 3, 2009, pp. 317-355; M. Farisco, «La coscienza. Elementi di indagine filosofica», in Ricerche Teologiche 1/2010, pp. 115-129.

3. Bioethics Global Art

In November 2010, the Bioethics Global Art competition was launched, inviting artists to create visual art with a 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.

The competition ended in June.  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 The 11 winners from 6 countries will be exhibited 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.

Catalogs will include 30 art works: the 11 winners and the remaining 19 finalists. The catalogs include original music composed and performed for the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights Global Art Competition by Keith Lathrom and his orchestra.

4. Bioethics and Mass Media

Biomedi@ is a Group for Research and Training on the relationship between bioethics and the media.  This group offers the public a database of bioethics news gathered from some of most important international and Italian newspapers.  To date, over 1000 articles are in the database which will provide a useful service for scholars in bioethics and those interested to the media.

5. Bioethics and Human Ecology

On November 9, 2010, a conference entitled “RomaINetnico – Congo and development” was held at Regina Apostolorum University, seat of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights. This event was co-organized by the Italian Representation of UNESCO and the UNESCO Chair, with the objective to foster networking and collaborations between Roman institutes and communities of developing countries living in Rome.  The list of speakers and participants included: Fabrizio Calabresi of UNESCO Italy; Valeria Laganà of RomaIN; Mulumba Bin Kazadi of CEBAD; Albert Tshiseleka, Ambasador of Congo; Alberto Garcia; Giuseppe Fraticelli, Assessor of the Province of Viterbo; Miriam Celoni, Assessor of the Province of Pisa, Mr. Cestari, honorary Consul; Mons. Angelo Gagliardi, former Responsible of Vatican affairs at the Apostolic Nuntiature of Kinshasa; Virgilio Fantuzzi; Giuseppe Carrisi; Valentino Piana; Cristiana Ruggeri; Filomeno Lopez, and NGO

Ethiopian IESS.  A selection of the documentary by Giuseppe Carrisi “Voci dal buio” was shown.

On February 17, 2011, the second meeting of RomaINetnico “Net in Ethiopia: culture, economy, sustainability, development, environment, tourism, art, and photography” was held at Regina Apostolorum University, Rome, to discuss the ethnical realities of living and working in Italy.  This event sought to put these peoples in touch with the Italian and Roman realities in order to create and nurture an active and creative network. This event was co-organized by the Italian Representation of UNESCO and the UNESCO Chair.

6. Dignity and Equity in Women’s health

A two-year research contract was signed in Madrid on October 20, 2010 by three entities: Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Fundación Mujer, Familia y Trabajo and the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights. The cooperating entities will work to propose public health policies in the areas of prevention of physical and mental harm for women in work environments, equal opportunities, and optimizing work conditions to protect personal integrity of women. Two of the professors and researchers at UNED will devote part-time to the Chair’s area of interest in “Dignity and Equity in Women’s Health”.  The researchers will begin by focusing on the topic of “Reconciling family and work”. UNED is a prominent provider of long-distance education in Spain, and will offer the technological platform for the collaboration of the researchers in the realization of this joint venture.

7. Ethics of nanotechnology

Alberto Garcia gave a seminar course at the School of Bioethics for a group of students in the Master Degree program on the “Ethics of nanotechnology” in the Fall semester of 2010.

Alberto Garcia gave a conference at the Bioethics summer school on “The Ethical and Legal Aspects of Emergent Nanotechnologies” in July, 2011.

8. Others Activities

  • On August 26, 2010, Alberto Garcia presented a lecture at World Bank/IMF on “UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights: A step in the right direction” held at Washington, DC.
  • On September 23, 2010, Alberto Garcia and Joseph Tham participated as conference speakers at a medical ethics conference entitled, “Bioethics – A Humanistic Approach to Medicine” held near Detroit, Michigan, USA
  • On Oct 12, 2010, Alberto Garcia gave a conference at Center for Bioethics, Columbia University entitled, “Labels, Concepts and Metaphors around the UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights”.  Present at the conference were students and faculty including Dr. Robert Kiltzman, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Dr. James Colgrove, Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences.
  • From Oct 15-16, 2010, Joseph Tham participated in a panel discussion at the conference “Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Fair Minded Words” held at Princeton University.  Experts in law, religion, and philosophy exchanged their different points of view and sought common ground on the controversial topic of abortion.  Over the two days, panels of invited speakers were given topics to address and the audience was encouraged to listen, learn and pose questions in an atmosphere of respect. Diverging moral views were represented among the organizers, the speakers, and the audience who nonetheless was able to dialogue in a spirit of civility and academic professionalism. An estimated 550 people attended the conference. Alberto García, Director of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights and Mike Gannon, US Executive Director also attended the Conference.
  • In January, 2011, Alberto Garcia, attended a meeting in Paris as member of the Ethics Advisory Board of Cultivated Adult Stem Cells as Alternative for Damaged tissuE (CASCADE), a consortium granted by the 7th Framework Program of the European Commission.
  • In May-June, 2010, Joseph Tham gave a series of four seminars “Second annual seminars for Christian healthcare workers” organized by the Guild of St Luke, Catholic Nurses Guild and Diocesan Committee for Hospital Pastoral Care, Hong Kong,.
  • On June 1, 2011, Joseph Tham gave a seminar on “Cloning, Stem Cells & Hybrids” organized by the Guild of St. Luke and Diocesan Committee for Bioethics, Hong Kong.