An international ethics conference in Botswana.
How did the journey begin?
In the Fall of 2007, I had transitioned into an executive position with one of the United States federal agencies to design, direct, and promote educational conferences and liaison development initiatives within the United States and overseas. Specifically, I was exploring the possibility of an international conference concerning the relationships between ethics, healthcare, medicine, and research. One evening, with that task in the forefront of my mind, a television commercial reminded me to download from iTunes a favorite song of mine by the British artist, Annie Lennox. My download led to a series of web searches that finally ended with my viewing her video-clip, Sing.
Singcaught me up in a whirlwind. I watched Annie Lennox move HIV+ women in South Africa to dance and sing themselves into a personal resilience beyond words. Tears streamed, and the index finger of my right hand pointed at my computer monitor, "I am going to do something about that. "
Until the early morning hours, I explored the southern African area and the health needs of the people of the region. I recalled various academic collaborations within the Society of Research Administrators International that I had enjoyed with a few colleagues at the University of Botswana. Over the years, they had made me increasingly aware of the critical mission that the University was leading for the benefit of those most in need.
Suddenly, the conference-concept exploded. It could meet a number of goals both practical and greater. Realizing the time difference, I raced into my office very early and called my colleagues at the University. The collaborations began.
From the start, the conference-concept needed a title that would act as a powerful metaphor. What came about was a need to capture not just the sharing of intellectual information for the enrichment of the brain, but, more importantly, the powerful energies of the heart for the deepening formation of persons and communities. Small wonder the conference title became, "Retrieving the Human Face of Science: Understanding Ethics and Integrity in Healthcare, Medicine and Research."
The concept was slowly taking shape as a global force for the good--an act of systemic educational sharing with the ultimate goal of humanitarian assistance for the sick, the suffering, and those who care for them. Things seemed to be well on track.
Suddenly, though, an unexpected transition...