UNESCO and the Bioethics Centre: Ethics of Knowledge Production

Keynote Speakers

Justice Michael Kirby, Chair International Bioethics Committee Expert Group on the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights

Justice Kirby has held or holds various international posts. He chaired two Committees of the OECD on Privacy and Data Security. He has taken an active part in UNESCO at its General Conference and in specialised expert bodies. He served as a Member of the Global Commission on AIDS of the World Health Organisation. For the International Labour Organisation he undertook a mission to South Africa in 1992-3 to examine that country's labour laws. In November 1993, he was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Human Rights in Cambodia - a position he held until April 1996. In February 1994 he acted as the Independent Chairman of the Constitutional Conference of Malawi. In 1995 he was appointed to the Ethics Committee of the Human Genome Organisation in London, monitoring the largest cooperative scientific project in history. In 1996 he was appointed to the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO, Paris. He was a Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists between 1984 and 2000. Between 1995 and 1998 he was ICJ President. In 2000 he was appointed to the Board of Governors of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University in the United States. At the end of 2000, he was elected a Member of the American Law Institute. In 2001 he was appointed to the Advisory Council to the International Programme of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London. Also in 2001 he was appointed Chair of an Expert Panel of UNAIDS on HIV Testing in UN Peacekeeping Operations.

Justice Kirby was created a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1983 and a Companion of the Order of Australia, the highest civil honour awarded in Australia, in 1991. In 1991 he was also awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal. In 1998 he was named Laureate of the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education, awarded biennially. He holds various Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Letters, Doctor of Laws and Doctor of the University. In 2002 he was elected to the Advisory Board of the Intl H Rts Institute to the De Paul University, Chicago, USA and was appointed co-chair of the Expert Group on Human Rights and Biotechnology of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. In 2005 he received the Lifetime Achievement Aweard in the Australian Law Awards. He lives in Sydney and Canberra.



John Buckeridge, RMIT University , Melbourne

Professor John St James Stewart Buckeridge BSc (Cant.), MSc (Hons), PhD (Auck.), FIPENZ, FAustIMM, CP(Env), FGS (Lond.) is Head of the School of Civil, Environmental and Chemical Engineering at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

John is currently President of the International Society of Zoological Sciences, Chairs the Bioethics Committee of the International Union of Biological Sciences and has acted as consultant on environmental ethics to UNESCO's COMEST ( World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology ). He has wide interests in engineering and the natural sciences, having been a visiting professor in France, Germany, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, Turkey and the USA. John has published more than 200 books, journal articles and reports, in subject areas ranging through geology, geotechnical engineering, palaeobiology, engineering systems, ethics, marine biology, forensics and natural resources management.

Sabina Colombo, Division of Ethics, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris


Donald Evans, Member, International Bioethics Committee (IBC)

Donald Evans taught at the University of Wales for twenty nine years. He developed the first European Masters degree programme in Medical Ethics, served as a member of the Governing Body of the Institute of Medical Ethics and has published numerous books and learned papers. He was elected a member of the Academy of Humanitarian Research, Moscow in 1996. He has conducted research projects for the UK Department of Health and led two European Commission international research projects. He has completed two research reports on health care systems in the Third World - one for the European Commission and the other for the World Health Organisation and further research reports for the Health funding Authority and the Health Research Council. He served as a member of the Independent Biotechnology Advisory Council, the HRC Ethics Committee and the National Ethics Advisory Committee. He is currently a member of the UNESCO International Ethics Committee and the UNESCO Commission on Ethics as well as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Stem Cell Oversight Committee. Professor Evans was appointed Director of the Bioethics Centre in the University of Otago in 1997.


Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop, Director, Vaomanu Pacifika (Victoria University of Wellington)


Raewyn Good, SPEaR Secretariat and Principal Analyst, Centre for Social Research and Evaluation


Principal Analyst, SPEaR and MSD.   Convenor ASSR.  Member RSNZ social science committee.    Holds post-graduate qualifications in Social Anthropology and Public Policy.   Many years involvement in community issues and organisations including Women's Refuge, Taeaomanino, local body.  Worked in research and policy for some 30 years.


Meto Leach, Leader, Maori Research, Crop and Food Research Limited, New Zealand

Darryl Macer, UNESCO Office, Bangkok


Karlo Mila-Schaaf, Pacific Health Research Team, HRC, New Zealand

Karlo Mila-Schaaf worked at the HRC from 2001-2004 as the Manager, Pacific Health Research.  One of the projects she was responsible for during that time was the drafting of the Pacific health research guidelines.  
In partnership with an expert panel of Pacific health and ethics specialists, the HRC developed these guidelines in consultation with the Pacific health and research community.  
Karlo Mila-Schaaf is of Tongan and Palangi ethnicity.  She is currently completing a PhD focusing on the health needs and priorities of the New Zealand-born Pacific population.  Karlo is also a poet and has written a poetry book titled "Dream Fish Floating".

Rosslyn Noonan, NZ Chief Human Rights Commissioner

Rosslyn Noonan was appointed as Chief Human Rights Commissioner in May 2001, at a time of growing recognition in New Zealand of the need to move beyond a primary focus on discrimination to active implementation of the broader human rights framework.

A childhood in Nigeria and the then Belgian Congo, a degree in history from Auckland University, an active involvement in the women's and the anti-racism movements of the 70s and 80s, experience as a trade unionist, a City Councillor and membership of the Royal Commission on Social Policy (1986-88) and of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Southern Africa (1988-1990) have all contributed to her recognition that the international human rights standards are of value to all New Zealanders and are integral to what it means to be a New Zealander.

She has extensive experience in the trade union movement, including eight years as National Secretary of the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI Te Riu Roa) and four years on the National Executive of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU). During the 1990s she was one of two New Zealand workers delegates to the International Labour Organisation.

Immediately prior to taking up the position of Human Rights Commissioner, from 1996 to 2001, she worked as Coordinator for Trade Union and Human Rights with Education International. Her responsibilities included major programmes in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo and in Sierra Leone and Ethiopia. She was one of the trade unionists who led the campaign and negotiations that resulted in ILO Convention 182 on Worst Forms of Child Labour.

As Chief Commissioner she attends the relevant session of the annual sittings of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, is a Councillor of the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions and has worked with national human rights institutions throughout the region, most recently with the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens Rights and the Jordan Human Rights Centre.

Loudeen Parsons, Samoa

John Pennington, Executive Officer, Toi te Taiao NZ Bioethics Council, New Zealand

Currently Executive Officer Toi te Taiao; The Bioethics Council. 1999 - 2002 Senior Private Secretary to Laila Harre, Minister of Womens and Youth Affairs. MA Hispanic Languages and
Literature, MA Social Science Research, Post-Graduate Diploma International Relations

Sylvia Rumball, Massey University, New Zealand

Professor Sylvia Rumball is Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor ( Ethics and Equity) at Massey University and Chair of the Massey University Human Ethics Chairs Committee. Professor Rumball is also Chair of the Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ACART), a member of the Ethics Advisory Panel of the New Zealand Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA), a member of the Social Sciences Sub-Commission of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and an auditor for the New Zealand Universities Academic Audit Unit.Previously Professor Rumball was a member of the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO, the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and the Health Research Council Ethics Committee and also chaired the National Ethics Committee on Assisted Human Reproduction (NECAHR).

Kabini Sanga, Faculty of Education, Victoria University, New Zealand

Dr Kabini Sanga is from Malaita Island, Solomon Islands, and is a senior lecturer in education at Victoria University of Wellington.


Kiwi Tamasese, The Family Centre, New Zealand


Konai Thaman, University of the South Pacific

Konai is currently Professor of Pacific education and UNESCO Chair in teacher education and culture at the University of the South Pacific (USP). In her latter capacity, she is a member of the Joint ILO/UNESCO Committee of Experts on the Application of the 1966/1997 Recommendation Concerning the Status of Teachers (CEART), as well as a member of the UNESCO Asia Pacific Scientific Committee on Research and Knowledge in Higher Education. She has been a staff member of USP since 1974 and held several senior administrative positions including: Director of the Institute of Education, Head of the School of Humanities, and Pro Vice Chancellor. She is originally from Tonga where she received her primary and secondary education. She received a BA from Auckland University (1968); a MA from the University of California at Santa Barbara (1974) and a PhD from USP (1988). She has published widely in the field of Education, especially in the areas of curriculum research and development, teacher education, women in higher education management and indigenous education and research. Her hobby is creative writing and five collections of her poetry have been published. Her writing is studied by school and university students throughout the Pacific Island region.




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