By Special Correspondent, CMU
The University of Dar es Salaam Deputy Vice Chancellor-Planning, Finance and Administration, Professor Bernadeta Killian has been appointed as one of the Vice Chairpersons of the UNESCO's International Bioethics Committee (IBC), to represent Africa region.
The appointment of Prof. Killian, a Political Science and Public Administration don, was done through an election conducted during the IBC 30th (Ordinary) Session, held in Paris on 18-23 September, 2023, at the UNESCO Headquarters.
According to the information posted on the UNESCO website, in this Paris meeting, IBC proceeded with the election of its Bureau leaders namely, a chairperson, four vice-chairpersons and a rapporteur, who would remain in office until the end of the 32nd (Ordinary) Session in 2025, if they are still members of the Committee.
Other members who were elected to the Bureau include Ms Mylène Deschenes (Canada) for the chairperson post; and Ms Paula Siverino Bavio (Argentina) as a rapporteur. The vice-chairpersons, apart from Prof. Killian (Tanzania), also included Ms Joanna Rozynska (Poland); Mr Ehsan Shamsi Gooshki (Islamic Republic of Iran) and Mr Bahaa Darwish (Egypt).
In June 2022, Prof. Killian was appointed a member of the UNESCO's International Bioethics Committee (IBC), for a period of four years, from 2022 to 2025. IBC is the only advisory body within the United Nations System to engage in transdisciplinary and multicultural debate on ethical issues in the life sciences field and its applications in order to ensure respect for human dignity and freedom.
A body of 36 independent experts
According to UNESCO information, IBC is a body of 36 independent experts who are appointed by the UNESCO Director-General in their personal capacities based on cultural diversity, balanced geographical representation, gender balance and proposals from States of qualified specialists in the life sciences and in the social and human sciences including law, human rights, philosophy, education and communication. IBC, which was established in 1993, is the only global forum for in-depth reflection in bioethics.
The Director-General of UNESCO convenes IBC at least once a year; and, through its sessions and working groups, the Committee produces reports, advice and recommendations on specific issues that are widely disseminated and submitted to the Director-General for transmission to Member States, the Executive Board and the General Conference.
Meanwhile, Prof. Killian said she was “very excited to have an opportunity to be involved in the deliberations at the global level on ethical issues of a wide range of topics ranging from COVID-19 pandemic, biotechnology, international solidarity and cooperation, neurotechnology and many others”.
Prof. Killian is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration in the College of Social Sciences. She holds a PhD and a Masters in Political Science, both from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA); and a Masters in International Relations and Bachelor of Education from the University of Dar es Salaam.
Prof. Killian has held various leadership positions, locally and internationally. She has also received various academic awards and published and provided consultancy in the areas of democracy and elections, gender equality issues, development cooperation and governance.