The 21st Bioethics Summer Course

Course presentation

The 21st Summer Course in Bioethics will be held on July 3-7, 2023. The Course “Dialogue, Friendship and Polarization in Bioethics” will be held in Italian and English.

The Course is organized by the Faculty of Bioethics in collaboration with the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights established within the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum and the European University of Rome.



Today we are increasingly witnessing conflicts in the areas of politics, religions, mass media and economics in our globalized reality. These polarizations are also evident in academia in general and in bioethics in particular. This summer course will examine some of the causes of the tensions and offer proposals for solidarity through the lens of the Social Doctrine of the Church and in light of the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

Structure of the Course

The Summer Course will analyze some of the theoretical roots of the growing division from the perspectives of philosophy, theology, sociology, and communication sciences. It will also touch on the following issues: intercultural and interreligious dialogue, globalization, human rights, media and fake news, truth and tolerance, and neutrality in the sciences. The Course will also examine how these polarized positions are found in bioethical debates. The Course is structured in lectures, question and answer sessions, seminars, film forums and interactive group activities. The group activities will be reserved only for those on campus.

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

– Identify contemporary issues of tensions in bioethics

– Analyze the causes of the tensions and polarizations in bioethics

– Offer for solidarity, dialogue, and social friendship in the field of bioethics


Admission and enrollment

– January 7 through June 26, 2023.

– Number of course participants: 10 to 60.


Academic Fees

The payment is made once the student has registered and according to the instructions that will be provided by e-mail. Payment can be made by credit card, bank transfer, or at the Athenaeum desk by appointment.

Standard Fee:Five sessions (5 days)270€
Five sessions (5 days) + 1 (ECTS) through an exam275€
Special Category:Priests, Religious, APRA Bioethics Students, APRA Alumni, PhD in Bioethics, RIU ProfessorsFive sessions (5 days)220€
Five sessions (5 days) + 1 (ECTS) through an exam225€


Thanks to the support of the Farrell Family Foundation, scholarships are available for those who attend on campus. To obtain the scholarship, register by June 4, 2023.

Practical issues

The course will be conducted in Italian, with simultaneous translation into English. The summer course is one of the optional courses of the License in Bioethics and is valid for 1 ECTS for those who attend on campus  and take the final exam. All participants will receive a certificate of attendance. For other language groups, simultaneous translation will be offered if the number of students is greater than 10.


Mr. Allister Lee’s Talk at the University of Hong Kong

Mr. Allister Lee, Licentiate Student in Bioethics and Intern at the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights,  gave a talk titled “Love and Sex in the Time of Robots: The Ethical Impact of AI Robots on Human Relationships” at the University of Hong Kong. 


Artificial intelligence scholar David Levy declares in his seminal work Love and Sex with Robots that in the near, post-human future, not only will sexual relations with robots be normalised, but it will also be more prevalent to human-to-human sex. Will this be humanity’s (for the lack of a better term) new reality? Current developments in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence have proved Levy’s prediction increasingly probable with Elon Musk’s most recent introduction of Optimus and Hanson Robotic’s Sophia. This progress towards a post-human, AI-inclusive society is also highlighted by intriguing accounts of a man marrying a hologram which raises the question of the social role that AI robots have in society, are they simply tools to complete menial tasks or are they entitled to participate in wider social activities. This talk will outline the current discussion regarding the AI robots and its influence on societal norms and structures. Furthermore, it will expound on AI’s potential affective capabilities and its consequent practical impact on gender division, legal status of robots, and the concept of marriage.

Mr. Allister Lee is currently a licentiate student in bioethics in the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome, Italy. In tandem with his licentiate degree, he is completing a research internship with the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics and Human Rights. He received his first-class honour undergraduate degree in Nursing Studies from the University of Edinburgh. His main research interests focus on artificial intelligence, genome editing and clinical ethics.

Research Scholar Prof. Fr. Michael Baggot, LC, at the Angelicum Thomistic Institute

Recently Research Scholar Prof. Fr. Michael Baggot, LC, participated in The Second Annual Pinckaers Chair Conference: Eschatology and the Human Person at the Angelicum Thomistic Institute.


“The Daring and Disappointing Dreams of Transhumanism’s Secular Eschatology”
Although it is a largely secular movement, contemporary transhumanism borrows heavily from both Christian orthodoxy and its heresies to construct a vision for human transformation and happiness. The presentation traces the roots of transhumanism’s pseudo-religious soteriology and eschatology and then examines the underlying anthropological problems that drive the hoped-for salvation through digital immortality. Unfortunately, the admirable desire to extend life sacrifices an appreciation for the integral harmony of the human person’s animal and spiritual dimensions. Since human actions manifest the person’s intrinsic corporeality, the notion of detaching the human personality from the body through digitalization is doomed to produce replicas without achieving true immortality. The surprising pseudo-religious thrust of contemporary transhumanism’s secular eschatology presents an opportunity to rediscover the Catholic patrimony’s reflection on authentic divinization through the transhumanizing effects of divine grace. The presentation thus concludes with a Thomistic theosiscentered reorientation of secular transhumanism’s eschatological aspirations for immanent immortality toward true human flourishing.