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Genetics and the future of Europe

Lord Wayland Kennet

Lord Wayland Kennet, Member of the British House of Lords (UK)
"Why not take initiatives like Danish consensus conferences at the level of the European Parliament or provide EU funding to organise such conferences throughout Europe?"

Of media and mediators

 

  • The dialogue between science and society requi res mediators capable of organising an open and constructive debate. The work of journalists is sometimes criticised. "The media tend to silence the moderate middle and polarise the debate."(1) New settings for mediation must be invented, such as the International Centre for Life Science (UK), which associates life science training, research, economic valorisation, ethical reflection and popularisation, all at the same site.

  • The major scientific institutions and parliamentary offices are becoming increasingly involved in the debate. Other organisations, such as "engineering academies and the European Social and Economic Committee, should do the same"(2).

  • An effort must be made to give health professionals training that will enable them to advise and inform their patients. New counselling professions may emerge at the intersection of science popularisation, public education, and reflection within society.

  • The Danish experience of "consensus conferences" was also applauded. "Why not take initiatives like this at the level of the European Parliament or provide EU funding to organise such conferences throughout Europe?"(4)

  • Today we enjoy the privilege of the fabulous tools that information technology has made available. We can exploit them to develop a dialogue. At the end of the Forum, Commissioner Busquin himself inaugurated this approach by holding a two-hour Internet chat with dozens of citizens of all nationalities, who had been invited to ask questions and give their opinions on "genetics and the future of Europe".

(1) Matt Ridley (UK)
(2) Alain Pompidou, Member of the European Parliament (FR)
(3) Philip Campbell, Nature (UK)
(4) Lord Wayland Kennet, Member of the British House of Lords (UK)

     
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