UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights invited to Brescia for two days of study on migration.

Brescia Port of Worlds. Culture Narrates Migrations.

On Feb. 23, 24 and 25, the UNESCO Chair of the University of Brescia’s “Training and Strengthening Human Resources for Health Development in Resource-limited Countries,” in collaboration with the Italian Network of Italian UNESCO Chairs and the CARME Cultural Association, on the occasion of Brescia Bergamo Italian Capital of Culture 2023, organized an event titled “Brescia Port of Worlds. Culture Narrates Migrations.”

The event took place in the Carmine neighborhood, the cradle of more than 145 different nationalities, a symbol of the migration and integration phenomenon in the city of Brescia. Specifically, the event occurred within the C.A.R.M.E. Centro Arti Multiculturali ed Etnosociali, a place that fosters dialogue and social and cultural aggregation. On the initiative of citizens to enhance the former church of Saints Philip and James, CARME lends itself as a workshop, discussion forum and gallery for temporary exhibitions. In this multicultural context, the forum for discussion on the multiple aspects of the migration phenomenon and integration models was held with a focus on Brescia bringing the community closer to speeches and testimonies of experts, professionals and representatives through presentations, round tables and cultural, musical and film performances.

Some representatives of Italian UNESCO Chairs, including our Chair of Bioethics and Human Rights represented by Serena Montefusco, shared their experiences and projects in line with the 2030 Agenda and UNESCO principles on migration. In fact, as stated in the Concept Note, UNESCO pays particular interest to the phenomenon of migration and its implications, in order to understand the links between migration and education and the challenges posed by intercultural education, student mobility and international recognition of qualifications. The organization also addresses the social dimensions of climate change and migration, particularly with regard to governance, conflict, human rights and international law, gender equality, economic and human development and public health.

In light of these principles, interesting interventions aimed at developing the education and skills of migrants and refugees welcomed to the European Union emerged. After the video greetings of the CNIU Secretary General, Enrico Vicenti, the proceedings were opened by the President of the University of Brescia, Prof. Francesco Castelli also Chairholder of the Chair “Training and Reinforcement of Human Resources for Health Development in Resource Limited Countries” who spoke in-depth about the various types of migrants and on the theory of pull and push factors. Then Prof. Raimondo Cagiano de Azevedo of the UNESCO Chair Population, Migrations and Development, Sapienza University of Rome, spoke summarizing the development challenges and opportunities for migrants both in the country of origin and destination. Continuing, Professors Domenico Simeone and Diego Mesa of the UNESCO Chair Education for Human Development and Solidarity among Peoples, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, presented a phenomenon, which is constantly growing, concerning the reception of unaccompanied foreign minors. After a short break, the proceedings resumed with speeches by other representatives of UNESCO Chairs including Antonio Guerci, UNESCO Chair Anthropology of Health. Biosphere and Healing Systems, University of Genoa; Massimo Zortea, UNESCO Chair Engineering for Human and Sustainable Development, University of Trento; Paola Raffa and Natalina Carrà, UNESCO Chair Mediterranean Landscapes in Context of Emergency, University of Reggio Calabria; Serena Montefusco, UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights Chair, Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum and European University of Rome; Annateresa Rondinella, UNESCO Sustainable Energy Communities Chair, University of Pisa and UNESCO Chair On Futures of Education for Sustainability, Pontifical Lateran University; Giovanna Marconi and Solomon Elala Seyoum, UNESCO Chair on Social and Spatial Inclusion of International Migrants, Urban Policies and Practices, Iuav University of Venice.

Serena Montefusco shared the activities carried out within the Bioethics and Human Ecology area of interest, specifically the implementation of projects supported by EU funds i.e. EUROSOL and CivicAL, but also an event presenting the Global Compact on migrants and refugees and the Role and Impact of the Church. With the release of the Encyclical Laudato Sì, the Chair has created a research group to explore the topic of the environment, biosphere and biodiversity. Human ecology means that the ecological issue is an ethical issue concerning human actions. In addressing diverse and pressing environmental issues, it is important to safeguard the centrality of the human person and his dignity. Sustainable development implies that the progress of society must be accompanied by the integral development of the whole person, including his or her physical, psychosocial, cultural and spiritual-moral dimensions. The right to the integral development of the whole person entails the duty to accommodate and provide the means to move from a state of social vulnerability to a state of dignified life (see Art. 3 SDGs) through good education (see Art. 4 SDGs) and the continued work of governments and societies for peace and justice (see Art. 16 SDGs). The responsibility, in fact, lies not only with all governments, but all members of society have responsibilities regarding the promotion and realization of this right to migration, including individuals, families, local communities, nongovernmental organizations, and civil society organizations.

Annateresa Rondinella, shared with the audience the UNESCO Passport to Qualifications for Vulnerable Refugees and Migrants. UNESCO, in the field of Education, established The UNESCO Passport for the Qualifications of Vulnerable Refugees and Migrants drawing on the experiences and methodology of the European Qualifications Passport (EQPR) initiative in an initiative sponsored by the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT) in collaboration with the Council of Europe. Based on the Lisbon Convention adopted on November 14, 2017 in Strasbourg, the UNESCO Qualifications Passport for Refugees is a standardized statement that contains three parts: the assessment part, the explanatory part, and the third part about the way forward. It differs from the European Qualifications Passport for Refugees, which consists of two parts: the assessment part and the explanatory part. Although this document does not constitute formal recognition or authorization or entitlement to practice a particular profession, it summarizes and presents the information available based on the applicant’s level of education, work experience and language skills. The assessment methodology is defined by the combination of an evaluation of available documentation, and the use of structured interview. Thus, the document provides credible information that may be relevant to applications for jobs, internships, qualifying courses, admission to studies. An early example of UQP recognition is right at the University of Brescia.

Another example of mobility, thanks to UNHCR-promoted university corridors, was shared directly by Solomon Seyoum Elala of the Iuav University of Venice. Introduced by Giovanna Marconi, Solomon told the students and participants in the room about his experience starting in Ethiopia and ending in Venice. Despite initial difficulties in adapting due to the cultural context and language limitations, Solomon continues his studies in engineering with the goal of bringing all the practical knowledge he has acquired back to his home country.

The first day ended with a concert by Coleur d’Afrique and a multi-ethnic aperitif organized by the CiboxTutti association. The second day’s work included two panel discussions: the first, “Integration and Equity: Common Good,” Franco Valenti, IDOS Lombardy Referent, Roberto Cammarata, Brescia City Council, Camilla Bianchi, Provincial Coordination of Local Authorities for Peace and International Cooperation, Roberto Memme, LDA Association in Zavidovici, and Roberto Zini, Industrial Association of Brescia. The second: “Places of encounter and dialogue” Alessandro Sipolo, Independent Researcher, Don Roberto Ferranti, Office for Migrants and Interreligious Dialogue of the Diocese of Brescia Omar Ajam, Islamic Cultural Center and Giulio Vita, La Guarimba.

The comparison is inevitable between the Carmine neighborhood of Brescia and the Torpignattara neighborhood of Rome, where the Agenzia Scalabriniana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo operates within the project Casa Scalabrini 634, with which we have collaborated on various projects in the field of migration and human rights.  The UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights, for more than a decade, has aimed to create forums of diverse bioethical thought leaders to promote interfaith dialogue and human rights by collaborating in a spirit of respect and friendship, providing a common framework to guide the application of bioethical principles in light of the UNESCO Declaration (2005). In this way, we can inform and illuminate ethical, legal, and public opinions, decisions, and actions related to medicine, life sciences, and human rights and responsibilities.

Read the Italian version.

A conversation about arts, inclusion, faith and bioethics.

By Serena Montefusco, UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights 

Upon the initiative of Dr Renata Santos Beman, who has been involved in raising awareness of the rights of the blind and visually impaired people for more than ten years, a meeting, or as the organizer called it, “A Conversation” on the topics of art, inclusion, faith and bioethics.  The event was held last Nov. 12 at Florence’s Palazzo San Niccolò, a vintage and welcoming venue from the 14th century.

“This small event is an opportunity to embrace our humanity to meet new people, create friendships and enjoy each other, as, through time, a good conversation has always been a crucial starting point towards hope.  The idea is to challenge ourselves and our imagination on how we see the world and what we can do to transform it into a more inclusive place through arts, education, bioethics, or simple everyday conversations” – Dr Renata Santos Beman.

In an almost old-fashioned atmosphere, there were present The President of the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired & Florence Territorial Section, Dr Niccolò Zeppi, Professor Emeritus Luca Uzielli, Lecturer Emeritus in Wood Technology at the University of Florence, sculptor Andrea Bianco, pianist and writer Duccio Lamberti, Professor and Director of the Science and Faith Institute of the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum, Fr. Rafael Pascual, LC, and Prof. Alberto García Gómez, Dean of the Faculty of Bioethics and Director of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights (Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum and the European University of Rome).

After the opening greetings, a blessing by Fr. Daniel Mauricio, LC, followed by Dr Santos Beman’s reflection on her experience supporting the blind and other vulnerable groups, and how getting to know the reality of many blind and visually impaired, in particular, shifted her career.  It contributed to her interdisciplinary ways of conducting research in the fields of science of behavior inspired by the work of BF Skinner towards arts, education, and the experience of faith, as seen in her recent work on meanings of relics beyond vision and the experience of vulnerability and the Shroud of Turin.  Dr Santos Beman discussed that is still much more that can be done towards equity and social inclusion.  Then, Dr Zeppi shared his experiences, as a blind person, as President of the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired in supporting and promoting autonomy, education, research and rehabilitation. Professor Natalia Parenko representing The International Saint Petersburg Art Academy in Firenze, introduced the piano performance by a talented young pianist Angela Chen with an outstanding performance that symbolized the start of the Conversation with the hope in the young generations.

Next, Prof. Uzielli presented some wood sculptures and plates highlighting how, through sight, touch and smell, it is possible to explore and learn about the world of wood.  Interestingly, one of the participants, Prof. Paolo Pecile, that emphasized the importance of wood’s versatile properties through time for the development of society and technology; above all, he made a point of reflecting on the fact that history is told to us through the Iron Age, for example, and not “the age of the wood.”

After a moment of pause, Fr. Rafael Pascual, LC, introduced interdisciplinary perspectives in religion, mainly through studying the Shroud of Turin and how it has inspired many artists, including Mr Andrea Bianco.  At the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum in Rome, Fr. Rafael Pascual, LC, in addition to coordinating the Master of Science and Faith, the Diploma in Shroud Studies, curates the Permanent Exhibition on the Holy Shroud – Who is the Man of the Shroud?  The exhibition is a collection of images, objects, and sculptures that allow visitors to have a spiritual, historical and scientific experience where the mysteries of the sacred cloth where the figure of a man’s body with apparent signs of torture is imprinted are revealed.

The latest sculpture, “Ecce Homo according to the Shroud,” donated by Andrea Bianco himself on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of the opening of the exhibition, is modelled on the Shroud’s Face.  “There were numerous and dramatic details to be made on that Face.  Starting with a swollen eye like a boxer’s, continuing with the stroke of the stick along the cheek, then that strip of torn beard and the trickle of blood on the forehead.  But the most heinous thing for me was the helmet of thorns.  At this point, I realized in fullness that the purpose was not to create a beautiful work, but rather a sculpture that would represent, as much as possible, the unspeakable pain of our God for the salvation of sinners.”- Mr. Andrea Bianco.

As we approach the end of this conversation among friends, M.B Dallocchio, an artist and social worker from Beverley Hills now living in Florence, introduced the born blind pianist Duccio Limberti that has an incredible history of achievements, graduated in languages in 1987, at the Martini Conservatory in Bologna he obtained the certificate of theory and solfeggio.  Self-taught musician, arranger, singer, improviser author of 2 books. Duccio played national and international hits also accompanied by his wife, Lali Burduli, with whom he creates the LALIMBERTI Duo.  The performance left everyone excited and with goosebumps, then Duccio Limberti and Prof. García (with the guitar) together improvised a Spanish piece, then leaving the floor to Prof. García to share the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights Bioethics and Global Art project, which through the different expressions of art wants to promote inclusion in respect of human rights and the importance of vulnerability in bioethics, as well as the arts as a form of education in the universal values and principles of the Universal Declaration Of Bioethics and Human Rights (2005).  To conclude, Dr. Serena Montefusco Project Manager and Communication Officer of the UNESCO Chair, invited the participants to an aesthetic experience by showing some works from the International Bioethics and Art Competition that the UNESCO Chair realized as an expression of the project.

The conversation ended in the general enthusiasm of all participants who were able to appreciate the magic of meeting and sharing with each other, the magic of the presence of the Spirit that made it all possible.

Renewal of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights, at Università Europea di Roma and Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, Italy

We are honored to share with all fellows, researchers, collaborators, benefactors and friends of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights that the renewal of the Chair has been approved until July 2026.

“We are confident that the Chair will continue to bring added value to UNESCO’s strategic priorities in the field of bioethics and human rights through research, documentation, training, knowledge sharing and inter-university cooperation in the Global South.” Sobhi Tawil (PhD), Director, Future of Learning and Innovation

New GEM 2022 Gender Report

The 2022 Gender Report calls for us to #DeepentheDebate on gender equality in education.

Firstly it calls for us to pay closer attention to data. The Report has relied upon UIS data on gender gaps in out-of-school rates and a new comprehensive dataset on completion rates housed on its VIEW website. They show that gender disparities in education have changed rapidly. Globally, gender gaps in education access at all three levels of education are close to zero – but stagnation in some countries and pockets of exclusion within others prevail.

Updated data housed on its WIDE website also present an almost global picture of the gender gap in learning outcomes. Girls now outperform boys in learning in general but are not among top performers in mathematics. Their advantage over boys in reading in early grades increases with age. They also outperform boys in science in secondary school in middle- and high-income countriesThis analysis provides a baseline against which to compare the next layer of learning data that will be released in the coming 18 months and which will help assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on inequality.
The Report calls for the debate to also look beyond access, completion and learning to societal norms influencing progress. Gender equality in education is influenced by gender-based expectations, by politicians as well as parents, communities as well as businesses and faith leaders. Depending on the context, the role of these actors can push the gender equality agenda forward or undermine progress to maintain the status quo.
Read the Report 
Share the social media pack 
Watch the event (2-3 PM CEST)
Watch the video

Source: The 2020 GEMReport

Report – Brain Awareness Week 2022

From March 15 to 19, the Neurobioethics Study Group coordinated by Fr. Alberto Carrara, L.C., professor in the Faculty of Philosophy and Fellow of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights (School of Bioethics), participated with numerous national and international events during the Brain Awareness Week organized by the Dana Foundation.

March 15-16 NEURO-COVID. The video-recording is accessible by clicking here.

Speakers: Matilde Leonardi (IIRCS Carlo Besta, Milan) “Long-Covid: neurological aspects” (for the video-recording of this speech click here); Stefano Mazzoleni (bio-robotic engineer, University of Bari) “The epidemic during the time of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics – A new anthropology for a safer world? “; Armando Piccinni (neurologist, psychiatrist and President of BRF, BRAIN RESEARCH FONDAZIONE Onlus of Pisa) “Covid: psychiatric aspects”; Fabrizio Mastrofini (head of the communication office of the Pontifical Academy for Life) “Covid 19 between information and misinformation”; Alberto Carrara “Covid: Anthropological and Neuroethical Issues”; Laura Arnaboldi (Psychologist, SISPI) “From Confinement Syndromes to Long Covid in Psychology”; Bianca Tomasi (Psychologist, SISPI) “Online Psychotherapy during Covid time: the experience of a digital native”; Alberto Passerini (Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist, Founder and Director of SISPI) “Phenomenology of the psychotherapeutic setting: adaptations triggered by the pandemic”; Tania Cerasella (lawyer, member of the GdN) “Pandemics and epidemics of information between disinformation and misinformation: “together for”…. ., the person, in search of truth, justice, with love and kindness”; Emanuela Cerasella (lawyer, coordinator of the subgroup of the GdN on Neurolaw) “Pandemic of Covid 19, exceptional conditions of imbalance between necessities and available resources in health care: when clinical ethics meets law”. Both events were presented and moderated by Claudio Bonito, philosopher and coordinator of the GdN subgroup on Posthumanism.

March 17 NEURO-SPORT. The video-recording is accessible by clicking here.

Speakers: “Sport and neurosciences, the historical roots” (Angela Teja); “”Genetic concept of the psychosomatic spirit applied to sport” (starting from the thought of Fernando Rielo, Founder, thinker, poet 1923-2004)” (Father David Murray); Testimonials 1 – Mauro Raffaeli (Sport that heals), Paolo Di Benedetto (the walk that opens the heart and the mind); “Robotic Neurorehabilitation and Adapted Physical Activity: reality and perspectives” (Luciano Bissolotti, Specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, Fondazione Teresa Camplani-Casa di Cura Domus Salutis); Testimonials 2 – Carmine Consalvi and Fernando Ruscito (pedagogical work with children through sport). The event was presented and moderated by Claudio Bonito, philosopher and coordinator of the GdN subgroup on Posthumanism.

March 18 NEURO-TECH. NEUROTECHNOLOGIES THAT LOVE THE HUMAN PERSON. The video-recording is accessible by clicking here.


16:00. Introduction and moderation (Claudio Bonito)

16:10. Greetings from the Rector of the European University of Rome (UER) Prof. F. Pedro Barrajón, L.C.

16:10-18:00. Neurotechnologies that love the human person. Theoretical and practical presentation of neuro-technologies applied to mental pathology at the clinical neuroscience laboratory of the European University of Rome. Prof. Benedetto Farina, Professor of Psychiatry; Prof. Claudio Imperatori, Associate Professor of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, European University of Rome (UER).


On the occasion of the 101st anniversary of the birth of neuropsychiatrist Anneliese Alma Pontius (1921-2018), who coined the neologism “neuro-ethics” in 1973, the newly formed INNBE, INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF NEUROBIOETICS, was presented.

Certainly, a most special moment was represented by the speeches of some of the Honorary Members of the IINBE: the first one was from the United States of America, by Prof. Stephen M. Stahl, a well-known psychiatrist and pharmacologist; then from Mexico, the Vice-President of FISP (International Federation of Philosophical Societies), Prof. Lourdes Velázquez; next from Mexico again, the President of the Mexican Association of Neuroethics, Prof. Karen Herrera; in Zoom connection, the phenomenologist Angela Ales Bello (Emeritus Philosopher at the Pontifical Lateran University); in presence, the philosopher of the Pontifical Gregorian University and coordinator of the subgroup of the GdN dedicated to Neurobioethics and sexual differences, Prof. Giorgia Salatiello; the coordinator of the subgroup of the GdN on Neurolaw, the lawyer Emanuela Cerasella and Dr. Franco Arosio, for 33 years General Director of the IRCCS Carlo Besta in Milan.

To our big surprise, Prof. Borys Ivnyev, psychiatrist, Rector of Kiev Medical University and Honorary Member of IINBE, was able to connect via WhatsApp call directly from Ukraine. His speech was greeted with loud applause, which caused to both Prof. Ivnyev and to all of us strong emotions. It was a very touching moment that you can see in the video-recording (at the minute 1:40:00), as well as on our social pages.

Finally, we connected with Aversa, one of the local sections of the GdN coordinated by Prof. Mara Marano, who in parallel has organized for this important anniversary for neurobioethics, a prestigious conference attended by: The Bishop of Aversa, the Mayor, the scientist Antonio Giordano, the philosopher Michele Farisco, the Chief Francesco Verde, the theologian Guido Cumerlato and the philosopher Pasquale Giustiniani.

Lastly, the following events were officially announced: (1) the upcoming release of the volume “Anneliese Alma Pontius. A hundred years after her birth. Neuroethics from a female perspective” by A. Carrara and E. Barboni and (2) the Prize of 2,000 euros on Neuro-Education dedicated to the founder of neuroethics “Anneliese Alma Pontius”, whose call for tender will be released in the coming months.

The video-recording is available on the YouTube channel on this link.