UNESCO Chair in Bioethics

The establishment of the Chair

On June 24th 2001 an agreement was signed by the Director-General of UNESCO and the Rector of the Haifa University, Israel, concerning the establishment of a UNESCO Chair in Bioethics at the International Center of Health, Law and Ethics, University of Haifa.

Article 2 of the Agreement defined the purpose of the Chair. To coordinate and stimulate an International Network of Institutes for Medical Ethics Training (NIMED), associating higher education institutes in both the developed and developing countries, and to develop an up-to-date syllabus for medical ethics education which will satisfy the requirements of medical schools in the world.

The reason for that important initiative resulted from two international researches carried by the International Center in 1996 and 2001 under the guidance of Prof. Carmi (see below). The aim of the project was to check whether the lack of proper study of ethics in medical schools was one of the reasons for the deterioration phenomenon in the relationship between doctors and patients. Apparently, the findings offered a validation to this assumption and brought about the establishment of an international Steering Committee that undertook the mission of preparing a new method for ethics education. The Committee consisted of six members: Prof. A. Carmi (chairperson), Prof. M. Cotler (USA), Mr. S. Fluss (UK), Dr. G. Kutukdjian(France), Prof. A. Okasha (Egypt), and Prof. N. Sartorius (Switzerland).

The new curriculum.

The International Center for Health, Law and Ethics at the University of Haifa has initiated an international project, the aim of which is to form a new, modern curriculum of medical ethics to be taught in medical schools all over the world.

The UNESCO Chair adopted the idea and undertook the mission. The Chair started to establish a network of Unit within universities and research centers committed to disseminating, improving and monitoring education in ethics in medical schools. The work will be bolstered by an international advisory committee. In addition, the Chair develops an updated and modern curriculum, reflecting the need for integration of ethics in daily practice, increasing interest and respect to values involved in health care delivery and raising awareness for competing interests. Students are introduced to various non-medical facets of medicine: sociology, economics, and public administration. The Chair develops novel, modern and sophisticated educational tools and materials that facilitate attractive teaching. The Chair produces a series of training manuals . Each manual contains actual cases, up to thirty in number, which presents ethical problems to members of the medical profession all over the world. The cases are preceded by a general description of the type of ethical problems involved and each case is followed by general guidelines for the edification of students who must themselves, under the guidance of their lecturer, study the case, discuss the possible solutions and reject what they consider unsuitable before reaching their own decision.

The Chair holds world conferences: 2000(Israel, Eilat), 2002(Eilat), 2004(Eilat), 2005(Israel, Haifa), 2007(Eilat), 2009(Israel, Zefat), 2010(Israel, Zefat), 2011(Singapore), 2012(Israel, Kinar), 2013(Italy, Napoli), 2015(Israel, Jerusalem), 2015(Italy, Napoli), 2017(Cyprus, Limassol), 2018(Israel, Jerusalem).


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