BEINGS Update: Where are we now and where are we headed?

The extremely fruitful Summit in May 2015 provided the critical groundwork for BEINGS delegates to meeting one of the primary goals of the Summit: to generate an global consensus document on the future ethical and policy aspirations of human cellular biotechnologies.

 BEINGS2015 brought together distinguished faculty of thought leaders and 200 delegates from 30 countries, drawn from visionary thinkers in the sciences, engineering, policymaking and government, industry, law, philosophy, religion, the humanities, and the arts to work toward an international consensus on the future of human cellular biotechnology. The Summit Founder Dr. Paul Root Wolpe had the ambitious vision to create a document that captures as  many opinions as possible and faithfully represent differing voices on select topics related to the future and aspirations of human cellular biotechnologies.

 BEINGS was designed to generate and capture as many ideas as possible while delegates could interact face-to-face. The ultimate goal of the Summit was to start a process that could and has continued beyond the Summit to create an international consensus on the future of human cellular biotechnology.

 The writing process is overseen by Dr. Paul Root Wolpe and BEINGS program co-chair Dr. Karen Rommelfanger. Approximately 80 delegates from the Summit self-selected to write in one of five topic areas under the following headers: Aspirations; Alien Organisms and new (ID)entities; Bioterror and Bioerror; Ownership; and Donorship. Longer descriptions of these groups can be found here: http://beings2015.org/program.html. Each topic group is led by two to three group leaders who have been successfully shepherding the drafting of their respective sections of the consensus document. Despite the challenges of collaborating virtually, across time zones and vastly differing perspectives, the groups have each managed to move toward creating drafts of the document. The first draft of each group’s section of the document is due August 15, 2015 with the goal of combining and submitting the final document to a high impact science journal in January 2016.

 From now until then, delegates will continue to write and receive feedback from a pool of 30 delegates who have agreed to serve as reviewers and editors. Prior to submission the document will be sent to all delegates for confirm their support as signatories for the document.

About Beings 2015

As biotechnology increases in power, we are able to engineer new forms of life, to incorporate biomechanical technologies into living bodies, to alter cognitive and affective functioning. At the same time, biotechnological applications have the potential to release new pathogens or toxins into our environment, or to redefine human and animal form and function. The implications for the future of humanity are profound.  Yet no consensus exists internationally on how we should think about, direct, or limit our biotechnological efforts. In an attempt to reimagine the aspirations of biotechnology, and to develop for these important questions, the Emory University Center for Ethics, along with academic, civic, governmental, and corporate partners, is organizing an international summit in May of 2015 entitled: Biotechnology and the Ethical Imagination: A Global Summit (BEINGS 2015).

BEINGS 2015, the first in a series of such summits, will focus its attention primarily on cellular biotechnology.  In the spirit of the 1975 Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, BEINGS 2015 will gather together a distinguished faculty of thought leaders and 200 delegates from 30 countries, drawn from visionary thinkers in the sciences, engineering, policymaking and government, industry, law, philosophy, religion, the humanities, and the arts. A visitors’ gallery will host 800-1000 observers. 

The conference will bring together the world’s premier thought leaders with two goals:

1) To establish an aspirational vision for the highest and most desirable uses of new cellular biotechnologies.

2) To reach consensus on reasonable guidelines for cellular biotechnologies such as synthetic biology and stem cell research, as well as animal and human applications of these biotechnologies.  

We believe with mutual respect and open dialogue, all stakeholders can help shape a future where aspirational goals and reasonable standards and guidelines maximize biotechnology’s contribution to human flourishing.

  • Participating Countries

    Australia

    Hong Kong SAR

    Poland

    Austria

    Hungary

    Russia

    Belgium

    India

    Singapore

    Brazil

    Ireland

    South Africa

    Canada

    Israel

    South Korea

    China

    Italy

    Spain

    Czech Republic

    Japan

    Sweden

    Denmark

    Mexico

    Switzerland

    France

    Netherlands

    United Kingdom

    Germany

    New Zealand

    United States

    Questions or Comments?

    For summit information:
    Tanya Woodward
    Communications Manager
    404-727-1179
    lande22@emory.edu
    For sponsorship information:
    Jennifer Hill
    Development & Planning Officer
    404-727-2279
    jennifer.hill@emory.edu