AUSN Visiting Professor Takao Takahashi giving a lecture on the Genealogy of Shinto and Bioethics to AUSN scholars, during a research exchange visit.
The picture illustrates the point – AUSN Visiting Professor giving a lecture on the Genealogy of Shinto and Bioethics to AUSN scholars, during a research exchange visit. There are interesting parallels in belief systems in Native American cosmologies and ethics from around the world, that affect our ethos and behavior.
Global public health concerns have also been the center of much media attention. The public health emergency of Ebola has been a feature that has often been discussed in our AUSN classes and is a theme for all of our reflection and papers.
Seasons Greetings after Eight months of Classes at AUSN
As we approach December 2014, eight months of teaching students in AUSN has proven to be an exciting adventure for the faculty and for the students who have joined us. There are over 50 students now enrolled in the masters programs of a AUSN and some of them have completed more than half of their degree already! The international community has appreciated the global nature of AUSN programs, with the combination hybrid programs providing the best of residential and group online learning. The 60 faculty from famous universities all around the world who have joined together to make this endeavor a truly international festival of learning have been the decisive factor in AUSN’s success.
Some students are working on the research for their Master’s thesis. We are currently reviewing proposals for the research, and some of these will go for review in the AUSN Institutional Review Board (IRB) that is registered with the Office of Human Research Protections and the FDA of the United States government. We also implementing our strategies for consultation with the communities and partners that will be involved in such research studies. Some of our students are choosing to do their thesis on theoretical work, crossing boundaries of traditional concepts that have been long accepted, and thinking about how we can move forward in the creation of new disciplines and new fields of knowledge production.
In fact this is similar to the whole idea of AUSN that we would produce a new generation of scholars able to synthesize knowledge from many traditional disciplines, and work together with people around the world. We all hope that this will work together for many different communities to think about how we can make the world better. Although the world’s attention has been focused on the climate change talks in Lima, Peru this month, although we can see the difficulties of having 190 Nations from around the world agree on a text which agrees on reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, we need to build upon the common goal that peoples around the world have to provide a good future for their children and grandchildren and the ecosystems that we are members of that have nurtured us. We have also been blessed by the presence of visiting researchers, including AUSN research fellows, who conduct research around the world, and come to AUSN for visits from collaborating institutions around the world.
How do we think about the future? 2014 has been a busy year for AUSN also in the holding of conferences and in entering into collaborative agreements, as you can see from the previous news reports that I’ve shared in the previous months and in the growing list of collaborating institutions.
From 2-4 January 2015 the next Intensive Bioethics Training Conference of AUSN will be held in Dhaka University, Dhaka, Bangladesh, with the cooperation of the Bangladesh Bioethics Society which AUSN also has an MOU with. This will be a way to allow many of the enthusiastic young researchers and young professionals in Bangladesh to acquire a Masters in Bioethics and Global Public Health (MBGPH) or a MPH. The degree will better equip them to teach bioethics scholars in this country. I think we can safely say that we have developed a long way from the idea that simple 3-4 day long training conferences are sufficient to train people, rather we need to develop capacity by world class professional degrees for national development. Although AUSN is not the first body to embark on such an approach to provide diplomas and certificates to scholars and young university lecturers who wish to teach bioethics often across traditional disciplinary long lines, there is a lack of such dedicated institutional capacities for professional development in bioethics.
In the second week of January 2014 another Intensive Bioethics Training Conference of AUSN will be undertaken in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. The local host, the Center for Ethics of Science and Technology of Chulalongkorn University, is one of the first institutions that AUSN signed a MOU with. Here we will have a chance to see some of our researchers, faculty and students from South East Asia.
At the end of January 2015 back in Arizona we will have a further intensive fixed training workshop and a chance for students to come and meet with some researchers and teachers from different parts of the world as well. These endeavors provide us an opportunity for reflection on the future ethics and how we can teach. The results of these workshops point to a great appreciation for the pioneering work of AUSN by people from around the world who tried to cross disciplines and think out of the box. The spirit of AUSN is dedicated in the coming year to further promotion of crossing knowledge traditions and barriers to transform our world. We wish readers a pleasant New Year and Merry Christmas and Festive season. Please join us in contributing your time, Skills, resources, and yourself and thanks to all who assisted us in 2014. We welcome innovative proposals to try to cross boundaries and move forward.