The conference to be held at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) campus, is jointly organised by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life and GU-Q with the aim of initiating a multidisciplinary exchange on the issues surrounding the treatment of patients facing life threatening illness and death, with a particular focus on opportunities and barriers to care in the region.
“One of the main goals of our substantive research on bioethics and Islam is to contribute to the global body of knowledge on these issues as well as to facilitate dialogue among researchers and scholars from different academic, intellectual and religious backgrounds,” said GU-Q dean Dr Ahmad Dallal. “Palliative care affects all of humanity, and in line with Georgetown University’s values we are pleased to demonstrate our commitment by facilitating a constructive interfaith dialogue and partnering with the Pontifical Academy for Life for this important conference.”
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, explained, “The palliative care community recognises the important role of religion, given religion’s ability to reach the peripheries of humanity, those who in each community are the most in need. Religions are not just one means for increasing the availability of palliative care, they are themselves the true force of palliative care.”
The keynote speakers for the event include the chief executive officer of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), Sultana Afdhal, professor of Islamic Studies at Notre Dame University, Ebrahim Moosa, and director of the Pellegrino Centre for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University Medical School, G Kevin Donovan.
Afdhal will summarise the outcomes on palliative care and the status and guidelines for palliative care in Qatar and the region based on the most recent WISH conference. Afdhal has spent her career forging partnerships in support of innovative initiatives, first for the Doha International Family Institute and later on as the Community and Outreach Manager of WISH. She is also the co-chair of Nursing Now Qatar, and sits on the steering committee of the World Health Organisation’s ‘State of the World Nursing’ report.
The second keynote speaker, Moosa, will speak on Muslim perspectives on the theoretical and methodological challenge of palliative care in Islamic countries. Moosa’s interpretive and historical research on questions of tradition, ethics and law includes two monographs as well as several edited and co-edited books. He has published influential essays on Islamic law, theology as well as contemporary Muslim ethics and political thought.
The keynote addresses will be culminated by Donovan, who will draw on his more than 30 year experience as a clinician ethicist from the Christian tradition to reflect on the theme of palliative care. Prior to his role as director of the Pellegrino Centre for Clinical Bioethics, Donovan was the founding director of the Oklahoma Bioethics Centre at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. He is listed among the top doctors in America and was awarded the Humanism in Medicine award from the Gold