The Challenges of Bioethics the focus for international conference hosted by Notre Dame

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 4-9-2009

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



Is there and absolute truth, or are we hostage to moral relativism and technological imperialism?

This question and many more were raised at the 17th annual Association of Southeast and East Asian Catholic Colleges and Universities (ASEACCU) Conference hosted by The University of Notre Dame Australia’s (UNDA) Sydney Campus.

The theme of the conference was, Building a Culture of Life: Catholic Higher Education and the Challenges of Bioethics.

From August 27 to 30, academics, university leaders and a contingent of students from across Southeast and East Asia joined Notre Dame students and staff. They discussed developments in bioethics and medical technology and and the claims of Church teaching for balancing progress with faith and ethics. Renowned bio-ethicists, Dr Patrick Gerard Lopez Moral (The University of Santa Tomas, Philippines) and Associate Professor Bernadette Tobin (Australian Catholic University) joined Notre Dame academics, Adjunct Professor Most Rev. Anthony Fisher OP and Dr Brigid McKenna in addressing a range of topics in relation to bioethics and higher education. A paper by Dr Nicholas Tonti-Filippini (John Paul II Institute) was also presented by Dr Adam Cooper.

Topics covered at the conference, included: ‘Tradition and the Critique of Consequentialist Bioethics’; ‘Challenging Secularism: Bioethics, Culture and Collaboration’, ‘Culture of Life and the Mission of Catholic Higher Education,’ and ‘Is Bioethics an American Plot?’

Academic papers probed the pros and cons of current bioethical wisdom and its relation to Western and Eastern values. Cultural difference was carefully debated in the light of the Church’s universal ethic.

Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Sydney Campus, Professor Hayden Ramsay commented, “For many, and in particular the students, this event will be a key moment in their university experience, introducing them to Australian university life and finding similarities with our countries and cultures within the Catholic family. Notre Dame Sydney was very proud to host this event.”

ASEACCU is a regional association of Catholic Universities for countries within Southeast and East Asia. The purpose of the organisation is to promote Catholic higher education and contribute to educational dialog on an international level.

Media contact:

Moira Saunders 02 8204 4407