The UNESCO Chair of Bioethics and Human Rights was proud to join the Regina Apostolorum School of Bioethics in presenting the 2013 international summer course of bioethics from July 1-14 in Rome, Italy.  This year´s annual event was named “Bioethics at the Crossroads of Faith, Reason and Science.”

Doctors, professors and lawyers travelled from Italy, the United States, Mexico, Nigeria and other countries to share their experience applying bioethical principles in their given profession.  Conferences were offered in English, Spanish and Italian, with simultaneous translation to accommodate the diversity of the group.  Group activities and common meals fostered lively discussion of the conference material between scheduled presentations.

Diversity of language, culture and religion marked enriched the group united by a common interest in bioethics.  For instance, representatives of the Judaic and Islamic traditions explained how their respective religious traditions confront modern bioethical challenges.  Moreover, representatives of the Asia and Africa shared the contributions of their continent to the global bioethical concerns that extend well beyond Europe.

Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, offered a keynote address that transmitted effectively his zeal for the progress of sound bioethical reflection.  The presentations that followed during the first week examined the distinction between the disciplines of empirical science, philosophy and theology and the pressing need to achieve a bioethics vision that synthesizes the insights of each mode of knowledge.

The second week began with the presence of Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, president emeritus of the Pontifical Academy of Life and renowned as one of the first major figures of modern bioethical thought.  The presentations of the week examined how the interdisciplinary vision of bioethics developed in the first week could address specific contemporary bioethical discussions, such as organ transplants and “transhumanism.”