MEDICAL JOURNAL/ ARABISCHES AERZTEBLATT, Vol. 9, 3/1999
16th Annual Convention of the Union of Arab Medical Doctors in Europe
An Important and Far Reaching
Contribution to the Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Dialogue
Many Europeans nowadays are not conscious of the fact anymore that one
of the foundations upon which Europe and its cultural and scientific
development through the ages were based on was laid by Arab culture and
science. As history tells us it was the eminent role of Spain during
the times of the Moorish rule to be a mediator between the orient and
the occident. Without the far reaching ideas of Arab philosophers like
Aver-roes (lbn Rushd) and Avicenna (Ibn Sina) the history of Western
science up to the development of modern sciences would not have been
It was specifically Arab medical knowledge,
skill and expertise
which set standards for centuries also for Western
medicine. A lot of other influences could be mentioned which
contributed to the development of European Culture in various fields
(the arts and literature for instance).
As far as science is concerned the Union of Arab Medical Doctors
(ARABMED) in Europe nowadays plays an important role in continuing this
great heritage which Europe ows so much to. ARABMED is of great
importance insofar as through its solid and convincing activities the
Arab world is now present in Europe as a partner for scientific
dialogue and the free exchange of ideas - to the benefit of all
participating in this dialogue.
This year's 16th Annual Convention in Düsseldorf has again proved
high quality and standards of ARABMED activities. Well organized by its
president Dr. Naggar, the convention was a forum not only for
scientific discussions among medical specialists but also for an
interdisciplinary dialogue which becomes allthemore important as
medicine goes ahead with its groundbreaking research in various fields
of human interest. The ongoing medical progress and various discoveries
made through the last couple of years especially in genetic research
and other areas of modern high tech medicine pose ethical questions as
well as questions for social policy and health systems which cannot be
dealt with in an abstract manner only but have to be answered in very
concrete forms - to the benefit of mankind.
The 16th ARABMED Annual Convention has been very successful in opening
a free and lively debate on these problems. Furtheron there were topics
discussed that had to do with the institutional prerequisites and
structures of scientific progress. "Science policy and basic research
programs" had been a topic that in cooperation with Dr. Sradj
(philosopher and medical scientist, Regensburg) was thoroughly worked
on. It was shown that the pluralism of scientific theories as well as
the competition between different scientific positions is necessary to
promote scientific and technological development. Therefore
governmental institutions should pave the way for such "open
structures". These structures, of course, can only exist if freedom of
scientific work and respect of human rights is guaranteed.
It was made clear what kind of responsibility science itself has to
take and what kind of responsibility we as politicians as well as
members of the scientific community have to take for science, i.e. for
creating adequate conditions for successful scientific developments.
This subject deserves further discussions internationally since science
and technology are a driving force behind the globalization process.
This discussion is very important for establishing sufficient and
sustainable institutional structures that form a framework within which
science can be organized most effectively. This includes that
sufficient reference is made to the specific cultural background of a
nation or country affected. Only on such a basis a broad based
acceptance of new scientific developments can be reached.
As a member of the European Commission's (Brussels) Peer Review Board
of Experts in Bioethics and Medical Ethics as well as a member of the
Ethics Committee of the Medical Authorities in the state of Bavaria
(LandesÄrztekammer) I congratulate ARABMED and its president Dr.
to the excellent work they have done so far.
Prof. Dr. Dr. Joseph
(Director of the European Academy for Cultural and Social Affairs,
University of Regensburg)