REPORT ON THE 14th WORLD CONFERENCE of the International Chair in Bioethics
(Porto, Portugal, 7-10.3.2022)
Bioethics from the bridge to the lifeboat
The 14th World Conference of the International Chair in Bioethics “Bioethics, Medical Ethics and Health Law” was held in Porto from 7 to 10 March 2022. Now more than ever has Potter's brilliant intuition returned to relevance, which just over forty years ago proposed ethical reflection as a science of survival and a bridge to the future of man's existence under various threats. In light of the latest events in the world, today bioethics also aims to become a necessary lifeboat to cling to in order to face the challenges to the survival of humanity and the entire planet. And our Chair is confirmed as the most authoritative voice of bioethics in the world. The proof is in this following point report.
1. Prof. Amnon Carmi was not in Porto, who among other things turned ninety and to whom the Conference repeatedly and warmly paid in the four days of work acknowledgments of respect and esteem, when not of real admiration and deference. His absence, of course, extremely justified for his health safety from high-risk contacts (frequent close contacts in a Conference entirely in presence), being cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) still now in Portugal, although the particular containment measures. Therefore, Rui Nunes, Full Professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Porto, as the landlord and co-president of the event, chaired the meeting. During the opening ceremony, Dr. Miroslava Vasinova, Head of the European Centre for Bioethics and Quality of Life and Director of Child & Youth Bioethics Education of the International Chair in Bioethics, was awarded the prestigious "Honorary Award International Chair in Bioethics" for the activity carried out by the Italian Unit from 2000 until today.
2. About COVID, the overwhelming majority of over a thousand Conference participants came from 75 countries where the line of prudence was still in force, and therefore the political choice of managing this phase, as a pandemic or, hopefully, as its tail, was yet prevalent. Even in these conditions, the Conference was a unique and extraordinary event, an unmissable opportunity for dialogue and debate so far repeatedly postponed by the persistence of the virus indeed.
3. As usual forensic doctors, surgeons, psychiatrists, child neuropsychiatrists, dentists, biologists, geneticists, lawyers, jurists, psychologists, paedagogists, philosophers, teachers as well as educators, nurses, speech therapists, physiotherapists, and operators of the most disparate sectors have brought their own contribution and own experience. on topics of great interest.
4. The beginning and the end of life, informed consent, the rights of minors and those of the elderly, doctor-patient relationship, humanity in care, the fundamental difference between treating, with therapies and drugs, and taking care, the priorities of the sick and people with disabilities, organ donation, stem cells, in vitro fertilization, genetic engineering, eco-bioethics and the arts in support of ethics, education in bioethics in schools and for the health professions, social inequalities and diasporas in the world, emigration forced by wars and abuses, democracy and the hegemony of profit and technocracy in the times of the digital society, the lessons of history starting with conflicts and from the Holocaust, the havoc of international law today… all these are but some of the topics presented and discussed during the Conference. In order to highlight the value of moral commitment, in every field even stubbornly, with or without hope of immediate success in our societies, also due to rulers sick of cynicism and often inclined to turn their attention elsewhere.
5. Even from Porto, Ukraine seemed to be close. And it was not taken for granted given the premises. On the eve, among the participants it seemed that everything would be talked about except the war, considering topicality a topic to be absolutely avoided because considered divisive. Instead, even in the corridors, the desire to give meaning and direction to the horror gradually coming from Ukraine has developed, once every limit, every border, every human law, every rule, and every international right has been trampled on. When freedom, justice, and dignity of the human individual seemed only words pasted on the paper of the newspapers or recurring only on social media and ignored instead by the barbarism in the theatre of war events.
6. In Porto there was a delegation from the World Medical Association (WMA) led by Dr. Otmar Kloiber, who signed the Memorandum of Understanding between the same WMA and the International Chair in Bioethics on 23 April 2021 with Prof. Carmi. With more than 100 federated associations and 10 million members, the World Medical Association is one of the most representative organizations in the world of medicine. A highly qualified WMA group was part of the delegation present in Porto: all good communicators, impeccable professionals and always available. They collected significant appreciation from the Units of the International Chair of Bioethics, so far to let many people think this synergy will certainly lead the International Chair of Bioethics together with the World Medical Association to achieve a plus on the fronts opened above all by the debate in the field of medicine and law.
7. The next Conference will always be held in Porto on 16-19 October 2023.
We thank you in advance for your opinions and impressions.
Dr. Giacomo Sado
Presse Office Director
Portugal - Porto 2022 World Conference on Bioethics, Medical Ethics & Health Law