The 2nd International Bioethics Conference titled ‘Ethical and Legal Issues of Emerging Biomedical Sciences and Research’ commenced at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) on Sunday under the patronage of H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed al Salmi, Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs.
The conference is being organised by the National Bioethics Committee in cooperation with Sultan Qaboos University and Unesco. The three-day event seeks to address contemporary and emerging challenges related to legislations that govern and relate to existing and emerging bioethical issues. The topics included will cover the interlinked relationship between bioethics and legislations, advances in medicine and biology, issues at the beginning and end of life, and issues related to medical practice.
In addition, the conference will explore how regulatory measures beyond legislation can aid to advance the aims and objectives of bioethics and legislations, especially with the rapidly changing fields of science and medicine.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr Ali bin Saud al Bimani, vice chancellor of SQU, and chairman of National Bioethics Committee, said that the committee seeks to formulate a clear path to deal with ethically contentious medical issues in the spirit of the tolerance of Sharia’a and the developments of modern science.
“The committee has many national responsibilities, including the holding of conferences, seminars and training programmes for professionals in the field. We hope that this international conference that will discuss legislations governing bioethics would enhance the exchange of knowledge and experience, training opportunities, and research activities between ethics professionals locally, regionally and internationally,” he said.
Dafna Feinholz, chief of Section, Bioethics and Ethics of Science, Sector for Social and Human Sciences at Unesco, lauded the efforts of Oman, which has been collaborating with Unesco for organising various events related to bioethics in the region including the hosting of the working groups of the International Bioethics Committee (IBC).
She noted that artificial intelligence (AI) and its ethical concern is a rapidly emerging issue at the global level.
Sheikh Dr Kahlan Nabhan al Kharusi, assistant grand mufti of the Sultanate of Oman and deputy chairman of the National Bioethics Committee, gave the keynote on ‘Ethical and Legal Issues of Emerging Biomedical Science and Research: Islamic Perspective’. Dr Mohammed Ali Albar, director of Medical Ethics Center, International Medical Center, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was honoured for his service and scientific contributions in the field of bioethics.