Dear colleagues, delegates and friends

We hope you are all well and safe during these extraordinary times as we face unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic! Many lives have been lost and millions around the world have suffered ill health. Vulnerability has taken on new meaning in previously robust contexts and countries. Although the African continent is only now experiencing the pandemic, the number of infections is rising. Prevention measures like physical distancing implemented in the global north are close to impossible to implement in overcrowded informal settlements. South Africa is in lockdown as our healthcare system prepares to care for the ill.

The Centre for Medical Ethics and Law, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, is looking forward to hosting the 16th Annual International Conference on Clinical Ethics and Consultation (ICCEC) in Cape Town, South Africa, in December this year. Given that this is the first time that the ICCEC will be hosted on the African continent, the theme “Beyond Borders: exploring new frontiers” is apt. The theme is also perfectly aligned with the myriad ethical dilemmas that have emerged during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The conference will explore clinical ethics challenges that traverse borders and shift paradigms in an ever-changing world.

We hope that the ethical challenges raised by the theme will be of interest to healthcare professionals and scholars, bioethicists, legal scholars, policy makers and health science partners from around the world. We look forward to sharing ideas and contributing new and diverse perspectives on clinical ethics that will help us to step beyond our boundaries of comfort to experience different philosophical systems that influence decision making in clinical ethics in different parts of the world. This is particularly relevant as geographical borders become more porous, as international travel takes COVID-19 and its ethical challenges to various corners of the globe.

Africa is a continent of wide diversity – genetically and culturally. In South Africa, we embrace a spirit of Ubuntu or interconnectedness that is vital to building peaceful human relationships and to resolving differences in healthcare perspectives when they conflict. We are also, as one human family, all part of the 4th industrial revolution and we will face the challenges that this new digital journey in health care and clinical ethics will bring as we see this unfold during the pandemic.

We sincerely hope that the worst waves of the pandemic will have abated towards the end of this year when we are able to extend a warm welcome to all delegates to an academically stimulating ICCEC in Africa! We also hope you will find time to enjoy the historical university town of Stellenbosch, the vineyards with breath-taking views of the Helderberg mountains and the beautiful city of Cape Town with its world-renowned tourist attractions. We live in hope of a better, safer and healthier world.




Conference Host                                        Chair: Organising committee