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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

What Has HIV/AIDS Led Us To Understand about Global Ethical Challenges?

Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

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James Keenan, S.J., Boston College
Date: Thursday, April 8, 2010
Time: 12:00-1:15 PM
Location: Boisi Center, 24 Quincy Road

In the aftermath of SARS and swine flu, many public health officials have acknowledged that thirty years of combatting HIV/AIDS made the world more prepared to deal with other potentially catastrophic global health threats. The experience of HIV/AIDS has also prompted those in public health and in ethics to understand that questions of income, gender, and social structures are deeply related to bioethical questions. Finally, while looking to the global, people cannot but acknowledge that success in both prevention and treatment programs depends not on universal generalizations but rather with the specific experience of the local.

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James Keenan, S.J. holds the Founders Professorship in Theology at Boston College.  He has been a Jesuit of the New York Province since 1970, and an ordained priest since 1982. Keenan received his S.T.L. and S.T.D. from Gregorian University in Rome. He has served as a consultant to National Conference of Catholic Bishops for the Revision of the Ethical Guidelines for Catholic Health Care Institutions and a group leader on Surgeon General’s Task Force on Responsible Sexual Conduct. Keenan currently is an advisor to the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance, chair of the Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Christian Ethics. His has recently edited Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church: The Plenary Papers from the First Cross-cultural Conference on Catholic Theological Ethics (Continuum, 2007) and is also the author of numerous works including Toward a Global Vision of Catholic Moral Theology (Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram Press, 2007) and The Works of Mercy: The Heart of Catholicism (Sheed and Ward, 2007). His research interests include fundamental moral theology, the history of theological ethics, Thomas Aquinas, virtue ethics, HIV/AIDS, genetics, and church leadership ethics.