Bioethics, Multiculturalism and Religion

The purpose of this project is to create a permanent academic forum that promotes dialogue and bioethical reflection in the light of human rights and duties from different religious perspectives. Seven international conferences and workshops on “Bioethics, Multiculturalism and Religion” have been held in Jerusalem (2009), Rome (2011), Hong Kong (2013), Mexico City (2014), Houston (2016), Rome (2018), Casablanca (2019). These academic conferences sought to foster the art of convergence and cooperation in global ethics among experts in bioethics coming from the world religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.

Hosted by the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights, established in two Roman universities, the Università Europea di Roma and Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, the conferences are a first step in creating a permanent academic forum to promote dialogue and bioethical reflection in the light of human rights and duties addressed from different religious and cultural perspectives in the worlds actively-advancing medical, legal and technological environment. Ours is the world’s foremost multicultural and interreligious academic bioethics conference and provides important benefits for the experts and institutions in the field of bioethics. It provides a media platform promoting recognition and visibility of the academic and scientific commitment in the field of life sciences and medicine. It highlights their capacity for dialogue and understanding in our challenging globalized and diverse world.

By gathering experts from these religions, a rare space for dialogue has been created where an atmosphere of friendship and respect reigns. Such dialogue and encounters allow us to see the other as our brothers and sisters in our common humanity. This is most urgent in our globalized reality and can eliminate suspicions that are sometimes causes of distrust and even violence.

Our experiences enable us to share values and attitudes that facilitate dialogue and the accomplishment of UNESCO Chair goal of “Fostering the Art of Convergence and Cooperation in Global Ethics”.

International Conferences

2009 - International Conference in Jerusalem: “Culture of Life and Religion”

In the area of life issues, there is a great deal of common ground that can be shared among these three Abrahamic faiths. A great part of humanity is a member of these faiths and more than ever, the advances in biotechnology and medicine are posing new challenges that religion often is not been able to offer an adequate response.

2011 - International Conference in Rome: "Human Vulnerability"

With the advance of biomedicine, certain individuals and groups are vulnerable because of their incapacities to defend themselves.  Many world religions include the protection of the weak, underprivileged and the poor as part of their mission.

2013 - International Conference in Honk Kong: "Religious Perspectives on Human Rights in Bioethics"

The conference provided a broad platform for various religious approaches to the issue of human rights and to bioethics in general.  I was also impressed with the scholarship of my colleagues in Hong Kong.” noted Dr. Henk ten Have, Director of the Center for Healthcare Ethics at Duquesne University.

2014 - International Conference in Mexico City: "Social Responsibility in Health "

Bioethical thought leaders from six major religions and twelve countries gathered in Mexico City for the Fourth International Bioethics, Multiculturalism, and Religion Workshop and Conference to discuss the role of social responsibility in health from their diverse traditions. 

2016 - International Conference in Houston: “Bioethical Challenges in Neurogenomics from an Interreligious and Multicultural Perspective”

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center was the host of the Fifth International Bioethics, Multiculturalism, and Religion Workshop and Conference. During three days Bioethical thought leaders from six major religions and ten countries gathered to analyze and discuss the “Bioethical Challenges in Neurogenomics from an Interreligious and Multicultural Perspective.”

2018 - International Conference in Rome: “Multicultural and Interreligious Perspective on Informed Consent”

The UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights will hold its 6th international Bioethics, multiculturalism and religion workshop to discuss issues of informed consent and clinical research February 21-23. As part of the i-Consent consortium (a project funded by the European Union – Horizon 2020), the ethical reflections of the workshop will focus on the multicultural and interdisciplinary dimension of the ethical requirements of informed consent applied to transnational / clinical research and vaccination.

2019 - International Conference in Casablanca: “Protecting the Future Generation and the Ethics of Human Reproduction”

In this three-day event, the UNESCO Chair workshop will analyze and discuss “Protecting the Future Generations and the Ethics of Human Reproduction” from an Interreligious and Multicultural Perspective. Experts from religious (Buddhist, Christian, Confucian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish) and secular traditions will discuss article 16 of the UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights: “The impact of life sciences of future generation, including on their genetic constitution should be give due regard.”

The Chair seeks to create a forum for diverse bioethics thought leaders. Collaborating in a spirit of respect and friendship we hope to deliver a common framework to guide the application of bioethical principles in the light of the UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. In this manner we can inform and enlighten ethical, legal and public opinions, decisions, and actions relative to medicine, life sciences and human rights and responsibilities.