Celebration of the World Bioethics Day 2017

The celebration of the "World Bioethics Day 2017" was held on October 27, 2017 at the International University of Sarajevo (IUS). The meeting was organized by the Bosnia and Herzegovina Unit of UNESCO Chair in Bioethics.

The topic of this year celebration at the IUS was the Gene Editing Justice. The technique employs a modified form of the "molecular scissors" gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9, which has transformed genetics research and created excitement, hopes, headlines, and concerns since its power was first demonstrated in 2012.

The ceremony was opened by the IUS Rector, Prof. Dr. T. Erkan Türe, who pointed at the significance of organizing this scientific meeting, saying what could be more important than strengthening the upholding of bioethical principles in scientific research in gene editing and thus, creating awareness among various stakeholders, including the health care providers, government institutions, scientific communities, and general public.

The audience was also addressed by Mr. Ammar Mirascija, the Head of the Science Department at the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This Ministry has generously supported this and last year’s World Bioethics Day celebration at the IUS through the research grants awarded to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sabina Semiz, the Head of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Oliver Feeney, the Head of the Ireland’s Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics. Dr. Feeney is a researcher in political theory and bioethics with the Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis, National University of Ireland (Galway) and visiting researcher with Ghent University. Dr. Feeney delivered a lecture titled “Gene-editing Justice: Reproductive Liberty and Post-Genomic Egalitarianism”, in which he spoke about the opportunities of the recent discoveries related to the human genome and gene editing, as well as about the importance of the relevant ethical, legal, and social issues associated with these technologies.

The IUS students, led by student Amina Agovic, also took an active and important part in this celebration with their project resulting in the movie "Future of Change", while the IUS academicians, Prof. Dr. Philip Aka and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ayla Arslan, contributed to the dynamic Round Table discussions “GenEthics Today”.  The program was concluded with an art exhibition "Facing the Change", which was held at the IUS Art Gallery.