Between 1 and 4 October 2020, the Department of Moral Theology within the Faculty of Theology hosted an online International Conference on Bioethics entitled 'Bioethics and the Five Senses: Between Clinical Practice and Metaphors'.
The event was organised by Rev. Dr Ray Zammit, head of the department, with the scientific advice of Prof. Pietro Grassi, lecturer at various academic institutions in Rome and member of the scientific committee of Rivista Italia Etica. The Department of Moral Theology partnered with Casa dei Risvegli Amici di Luca, an Italian organisation working with patients either in coma or having awakened after a coma, and their relatives, and the conference was included in the organisation's programme celebrating the 22nd National Day of Awakenings (Giornata dei Risvegli) in Italy.
The online conference was opened and addressed by the President of Malta, Dr George Vella MD, and the Archbishop of Malta, Mgr Charles J. Scicluna. Beside the keynote speech by Prof. David Le Breton, the academic event featured 37 different papers delivered by 44 different academics from Malta, Italy, France, Switzerland, Tunisia and Brazil, with expertise ranging from bioethics, various fields of medicine, pharmacology, philosophy, anthropology, psychiatry and psychoanalysis, biomedicine, forensic criminology, and theology. 86 participants from Malta, Italy, and Canada registered for the conference which was held in two parallel sessions: English and Italian. All papers were transcribed, translated and presented in both languages simultaneously. Academics from the Faculty of Theology moderated the online sessions.
The conference was promoted by the Maltese Association of the Order of Malta, by Italian journalists Dr Fulvio de Nigris and Gabriella Oldano, and by Dr Franco Balzaretti, Vice President of the Associazione Medici Cattolici Italiani. It featured on La Republica (Emilia-Romagna edition), Avvenire, Servizio Informazione Religiosa, and the websites of ACMI, the Fédération Internationale des Associations de Médecins Catholiques, the Archdiocese of Malta, the Ufficio Nazionale per la Pastorale della Salute of the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI), the Polo Universitario Uni-Astiss (Turin), and the Office for Family Ministry of the Diocese of Pitigliano-Sovana-Orbetello, Italy.