Center for Ethics and Bioethics

Bylaws of the Ethics and Bioethics Center

Project/ Version of June 2014

Given the interest that the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik devotes to the human being and society,

Given the quest for meaning which is one of the University’s founding values,

Given the commitment of the University regarding the exhortations of the Catholic Church to develop research in the fields of ethics and bioethics and to give rise to fruitful discussions among all the components of the University’s community,

The Ethics and Bioethics Center has been established in the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, and opens its doors to the University’s community as well as to professional involved in ethical and bioethical issues.

Objectives and Missions
The Ethics and Bioethics Center:
- is a place for thinking, research and debate;
- focuses on health-related, medical, economic, technological, social, cultural, political, environmental fields; within the framework of Lebanese, Arab and Mediterranean contexts (contextual ethics);
- adopts a multidisciplinary approach;
- accompanies students and professionals throughout their critical thinking on human actions. To this end, the Center develops ethical questions tailored to their experiences and their own resources in order to deal with ethical dilemmas at the time of confrontation between values and reality and to give meaning to their professional practices;
- helps to redefine the purpose and the basis of any decision.

Legal status
- The Center is part of the USEK’s Higher Center for Research.
- On the academic and practical levels, the Center closely collaborates with the faculties of Theology, Medicine, Philosophy, Human Sciences, Law and the Higher Institute of Nursing Sciences.

Intervention and Competence Fields
The Center carries out the following activities:
- Observing and analyzing situations falling within the scope of ethical issues ;
- Meeting the needs of professionals that match their fields of experience;
- Organizing thematic meetings, conferences, seminars, symposia, etc.;
- Writing notices relating to particular situations that might be of interest to professionals and public authorities;
- Disseminating, internally and externally, reflections and recommendations;
- Establishing a certificate, a university degree and a Master in Ethics and Bioethics, in an advanced stage, in partnership with the concerned faculties;
- Taking part in establishing a center of competences, documentation and dissemination of specific documents serving the Church and the society.

Composition
- The Center is managed by a director assisted by a secretary and permanent members, a scientific council, an Ethics’ Committee and visiting professors ;
- The director is appointed by the President upon the recommendation of the Head of the Higher Center for Research for a period of 3 years, renewable twice;
- The permanent members are representatives from the faculties of Theology, Medicine, Philosophy, Human Sciences, Law and the Higher Institute of Nursing Sciences. They are appointed by the President upon the recommendation of the Head of the Higher Center for Research after consulting their respective deans for a period of 3 years, renewable twice;
- The scientific council consists of specialists who meet the objectives of the Center set by the University and the various Lebanese and foreign universities : sociologists, philosophers, psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, specialists in practical theology, nurses, midwives, specialists in philosophy of religions, anthropologists, specialists in health policy, economists, scientific journalists, specialists in human rights. They are considered as associate members. The notion of term duration is not applicable on the members of the said council.
- The Committee of University Ethics consists of specialists to be consulted about the projects of faculties and research teams;
- Leading scientists, as needed and in on a consultative basis, could be invited to participate in the ongoing work or in the evaluation of the work done. The notion of term duration is not applicable.

Functioning of the Steering Committee
The Office: it is composed of the director, the secretary and the permanent members.

Role
- Defining initiatives and guiding activities;
- Suggesting working themes;
- Setting the annual budget.
Frequency
- Meetings of the Center take place six times per year with an agenda.
Extraordinary Situation
- Members of the Center can meet in an extraordinary manner;
- Members will be convened without any set delay.
Working Groups
- Members of the Center can decide to form working groups by themes.

Functioning of the Scientific Council
Role
- Guiding and informing, through its multidisciplinary competence and through its expertise, the trends of the Center;
- Suggesting working fields and ensuring their implementation;
- Deepening and evaluating the chosen themes;
- Undertaking the final assessment of projects.

Frequency
- Members of the Scientific Council are kept informed in real time of all research and thinking activities, along with debates and trainings;
- They are invited to participate in the various activities, each in their field of expertise;
- Meetings by expertise are organized once per semester and according to the needs;
- A plenary meeting is organized once per year.

Functioning of the Ethics’ Committee
Role
- Responding to the ethical interrogations of researchers in different units of the University;
- Being a place for multidisciplinary debate and exchange;
- Examining the conditions for carrying out experimental research on humans and on their behavior.
 
Composition
- The President of the Ethics’ Committee is the Director of the Center of Ethics and Bioethics;
- Members of the Committee are affiliated to the human sciences disciplines, actors in the health sector, who are known for their ethical expertise; personalities from the field of scientific research, a jurist and a PhD candidate.

Conditions
- The Ethics’ Committee is independent;
- The Committee may be apprised by Faculties, research teams in different units, the Scientific Council of the Center and all teachers at the University;
- The Committee collaborates with the Ethics’ Committee at Notre Dame de Secours University Hospital;
- The Committee is not a disciplinary body;
- The Committee shall draw opinions and recommendations;
- The meetings of the Committee shall be held behind closed doors.

Rules of Procedure
- The new team of the Ethics’ Committee will draft the rules of procedures.
Operation Means of the Center
The Center is equipped with the necessary premises

Confidentiality
- The obligation of discretion concerns all members of the Center who are called to sign a document to authenticate their commitment;
- Each person participating in one of the meetings of the Center is also subject to the obligation of discretion.

Evaluation of Research Work
The evaluation of research work is based on the following:
- First, the self-evaluation performed by the Center presenting the work;
- Then, exterior, independent, individual or collegial and transparent evaluation undertaken by experts who are not affiliated to the University and who are not members of the Center;
- Finally, on an evaluation and written report by two reviewers mentioning their different observations.

Partnership
- The Center is called to cooperate with different national, Mediterranean and international ethics’ centers and research structures;
- The Center falls within the scope of societies bringing together different world ethics’ centers in order to exchange knowledge and experiences.

Evolution and Modification of the Statutes of the Center
- The Center of Ethics and Bioethics is likely to evolve and modify its operation, composition and mission according to the novelties especially in this field;
- Developments and modifications are submitted to the office of the Center and approved by the latter, following the modalities defined in the rules of procedures;
- It is desirable to revise the regulations and statutes every five years. When needed, the revision can take place at any time;
- Regulations and statutes of the Center should finally be approved by the Higher Center for Research and ratified by the University Council.
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