KIE’s support of prominent European ethics center highlighted at international conference

Opening remarks at the annual conference of the European Association of Centres of Medical Ethics (EACME) paid homage to the important early support that the Kennedy Institute of Ethics (KIE) offered the Interfaculty Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law at KU Leuven, where the conference was hosted.

Professor Chris Gastmans, the Director of the Centre and the conference chair, informed delegates that the KIE had played a part in assisting the Centre’s conception and birth. In 1985, several professors from Leuven visited the KIE to learn about its structure and operation. Around the same time, the idea emerged, particularly in meetings of the International Federation of Catholic Universities with Catholic Hospitals, that KU Leuven should establish its own center. Following the Centre’s inaugural address in 1986, delivered by Professor Richard McCormick SJ of the KIE, regular interdisciplinary meetings between scholars from the KIE and the Centre were organized thereafter by John Collins Harvey (Georgetown) and by Francesc Abel SJ (Barcelona).

Senior Research Scholar John Keown, who attended the conference, reports that the event attracted many experts in biomedical ethics and law, mainly from continental Europe but also from countries further afield including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Indonesia, all of whom came together to celebrate the Centre’s 30th birthday at the conference.

EACME is an international network of academic and non-academic centres which has the aim to promote research, education and consultation in the field of (bio)-medical ethics by way of exchange of information, support of students, teachers and researchers, and organisation of annual conferences. The specific focus of this year’s conference was on a variety of ethical issues in health care:

  • Organizational Ethics in Health Care: Principles, Cases and Practical Solutions
  • Ethical Issues in Care for Older Persons
  • Ethical, Legal and Social Developments in Human Genomics
  • Ethics and Integrity in Research
  • The KIE is grateful for this opportunity to interact with friends so important to our history and to reflect on the ways in which our Institute has served to inspire others, not least the distinguished Interfaculty Centre for Biomedical Ethics and Law at KU Leuven.