Event: Day Conference: Spiritual and Ethical Challenges for the C21.

Speakers and Facilitators: Dr Sarah Chan, Prof Charles Cockell, Dr Elizabeth Drummond Young, Prof Tim Hayward, Dr Kieran Oberman, Prof W C K Poon, Dr Naomi Richards, and Dr Ian Wight.

Venue: Sanctuary, Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL.
Date: Saturday 9 December 2017.
Time: Registration: 9.30am-10am. Day Conference: 10am-4.15pm.
Event Description: This Day Conference will look at issues associated with Spiritual and Ethical Challenges for the C21.




Day Conference: Spiritual and Ethical Challenges for the 21st Century.


Venue: Sanctuary, Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL.


Date: Saturday 9 December 2017.


Time: Registration: 9.30am-10am. Day Conference: 10am-4.15pm.


Organised by Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, EICSP,


Scottish Charity, SC038996, www.eicsp.org



Conference: 9.30am-4.15pm.


9.30am-10am: Arrival and Registration.


10am-10.10am: Introduction and Welcome: Dr Elizabeth Drummond Young.


10.10am-11am: Keynote address: Professor W C K Poon.


Title: Taking Risks.

Description: I will discuss how our society no longer knows how to take calculated risks, from drug trials through to exploring transgender issues, and suggest why we should get ourselves out of this situation.

Biog: Wilson Poon is a physicist who works on soft materials an bacteria. He also teaches and researches on the relationship between science and religion, and has a keen interest in medieval history.


11.05am-11.35am: Plenary address: Prof Tim Hayward.


Title: The Manufacture of Hate.

Description: Hate is not an abundant natural resource. How, then, is it synthesised today in such quantities as to sustain so much war? This talk looks particularly at the role of the media in the manufacture of hate.

Biog: Tim Hayward is Professor of Environmental Political Theory and Director of the Just World Institute, University of Edinburgh. Currently completing a book on Global Justice and Finance, he also blogs on misrepresentation in the media and how this lends spurious legitimacy to wars and military interventions. He has also written extensively on ecological values in social and political thought. timhayward.wordpress.com


11.40am-12am: Tea/coffee break.


12am-12.30pm: Plenary address: Dr Naomi Richards.


Title: Dementia and Assisted Dying.

Description: In 2016, dementia became the leading cause of death in the UK. But what do we know about what people with dementia might want or expect at the end of their life? The option of assisted dying, whilst contentious, has recently become part of the public conversation. This talk will discuss the ethical challenges involved in contemplating assisted dying for people with dementia and how it relates to the broader societal challenge of offering everyone, regardless of diagnosis, a ‘good death’.

Biog: Dr Richards is a leading expert on the politics of assisted dying in the UK. She has over 10 years of experience conducting research with older people, people with dementia, and people nearing the end of their life.


12.30am-1pm: Plenary address: Dr Ian Wight.


Title: Ethos-Making: Meshing the Personal, the Professional and the Spiritual.

Description: Ethos may be positioned as prior to ethics, as something we collectively ‘make’, and enact, together; it is especially critical for professional community wellbeing, and for professionals’ contribution to societal wellbeing by design. This is especially so in the context of this century's ethical challenges. The presentation will feature Agency in Communion - the outcome of an ethos-making workshop for built environment professionals contemplating their inter-professionalism.

Biog: Ian Wight FCIP PhD, Senior Scholar, City Planning, Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba.


1pm-2.15pm: Lunch break.


2.15pm-3.05pm: Keynote address: Prof Charles Cockell.


Title: Liberty Beyond Earth: an ancient challenge with a 21st Century twist.

Description: Can you be free when the oxygen you breath is manufactured and controlled by someone else? Is freedom possible when authorities protect you from an instantaneously lethal environment? The question of how much freedom an individual can have vexed Pericles and will challenge the settlers of the space frontier. I will discuss this problem and suggest some solutions.

Biog: Charles Cockell is Professor of Astrobiology at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the UK Centre for Astrobiology, which he established in 2011. His academic interests encompass life in extreme environments, the habitability of extraterrestrial environments and the exploration and settlement of space. He has previously worked at NASA and the British Antarctic Survey. His work has taken him to both poles and many other extreme environments. He has published over 300 scientific papers and numerous books, including a series on the conditions for liberty beyond Earth. He leads the Life Beyond program, which engages prison inmates in the design of human settlements in space. He is Chair of the Earth and Space Foundation, a non-profit organisation he established in 1994 and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.


3.10pm-3.40pm: Plenary address: Dr Kieran Oberman.


Title: Immigration is a Human Right.

Description: Free movement is currently under attack: witness Trump, Brexit and the securitisation of the Mediterranean. But why value international free movement? The answer lies in the freedoms that are recognised as human rights in international law including freedom of expression, association and occupational choice. People are entitled to communicate their ideas, spend time with the people that matter to them and pursue the jobs they are interested in. Immigration restrictions violate all these freedoms. They prevent people from communicating, associating and working freely. When repressive states enact such restrictions internally, they face condemnation by the international community. Yet the legitimacy of immigration restrictions, which are enforced by all states, is commonly taken for granted. There is only one way to solve this anomaly: to recognise that people have a human right to immigrate to other states.  

Biog: Kieran Oberman is a Lecturer in Political Theory at Edinburgh's School of Political and Social Science. He received his DPhil from Oxford University and has held positions at the University of Louvain, Stanford University, the Asian University for Women and University College Dublin, before coming to Edinburgh in 2013. His research addresses ethical questions concerning contemporary issues, in particular war, poverty and immigration.


3.45pm-4.15pm: Plenary address: Dr Sarah Chan.


Theme: Ethical Aspects of Gene Editing.


4.15pm: Thanks: Dr Elizabeth Drummond Young.

Spiritual and Ethical Challenges for the C21

Cost: Day Conference: £10/£8 (Concessions/£3 (Students). For a Registration Form:
Contact: Neill Walker, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 0131 331 4469.

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