Christian and Muslim Perspectives on Palliative Care and End of Life

Tue Jan 22, 2019 - Wed Jan 23, 2019 08:00 AM - 06:00 PM
Georgetown University Qatar
Palliative care, or specialized medical care for people with a life-threatening illness,  is recognized as a human right by the World Health Organization (WHO). At the same time, it is understood that palliative care is culturally sensitive, more than other specialized medicine practices, as it deals with critically important existential concerns such as death and dying, and requires a vision of aging toward death. 
Opportunities for and barriers to palliative care vary according to geography. For example, addressing existential suffering is a huge challenge for end of life care in affluent countries, while the provision of morphine as a basic painkiller still remains the main challenge in low-income countries. Furthermore,  different regions develop original models of integration of palliative care into the care of the dying according to their culture.


The aim of the PAL-LIFE Conference in Qatar is twofold: 

  • To initiate a scholarly exchange on palliative care between Muslim and Christian scholars, clinical and other practitioners and providers, and religious leadership on palliative care and end of life issues in the Islamic world.
  • To discuss contextually specific opportunities and barriers in depth in order to promote the diffusion and implementation of palliative care in Islamic countries.


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Day 1 (Tuesday, January 22)

8:30 - 9:00 Welcome and Opening Remarks
Dr. Ahmad Dallal, Dean, Georgetown University in Qatar
His Grace Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President, Pontifical Academy for Life

9:00 - 9:30 Keynote Address 1: Report on the World Innovation Summit for Health Conference and the Status and Guidelines for Palliative Care in the Region
Ms. Sultana Afdhal, CEO, WISH

9:30 -10:10 Keynote Address 2: A Muslim Perspective: Palliative Care in Islamic Countries, Theoretical and Methodological Challenges
Dr. Ebrahim Moosa, Professor, Notre Dame University

10:10 -10:30 Break

10:30 -10:50   Reflections by a Christian scholar
Dr. G. Kevin Donovan, Director, Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics and Professor of Pediatrics, Georgetown University
10:50 -11:30 Q&A

11:30 -11:45 Break

11:45 -1:30 Panel 1: Palliative Care within the Clinical Context
Dr. Erna Rochmawati, Program Secretary, School of Master in Nursing at Universitas Muhammadiyah School of Nursing in Yogyakarta
Prof. Salam Al-Kindi, Head, Department of Hematology at Sultan Qaboos University
Dr. Kathleen Foley, Attending Neurologist Emeritus, Pain and Palliative
Care Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Professor of Neurology, Cornell University

1:30 - 2:30 Lunch

2:30 - 4:00 Panel 2: Regulating Palliative Care: Legal Questions and Governing Frameworks
Dr. Kartina A. Choong, Reader of Medical Law and Ethics, Lancashire Law School at University of Central Lancashire
Dr. John Keown, Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Christian Ethics, Kennedy Institute of Ethics

4:00 - 4:15 Break

4:15 - 6:00 Panel 3: Framing Palliative Care: Ethical Concepts and Principles
Dr. Aasim Padela, Director, Program on Medicine and Religion at University of Chicago
Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, Acting Director, Kennedy Institute of Ethics

6:00 - 6:30 Concluding open discussion


Day 2 (Wednesday, January 23)


9:30 -11:00 Panel 4: Medical Treatment between Necessity and Futility
Baroness Ilora Finlay, Professor of Palliative Medicine, Cardiff University School of Medicine
Dr. Ayman Shabana, Associate Research Professor, Georgetown University in Qatar and Director of the Islamic Bioethics Project

11:00 -11:15 Break

11:15 - 1:00 Panel 5: Interface between Religion and Medicine at End of Human Life
Dr. Mehrunisha Suleman, Post Doctoral Researcher in Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge
Fr. Myles Sheehan, S.J., Assistant to the Provincial for Senior Jesuits of the Maryland and Northeast USA Jesuit Provinces and Associate Faculty, Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University Medical Center

1:00 - 2:30 Lunch

2:30 - 4:00 Panel 6: Pontifical Academy for Life PAL-LIFE White Paper for Global Palliative Care Advocacy
Dr. Nunziata Comoretto, Bioethicist, Pontifical Academy for Life
Dr. Khalid Al-Ali, Director, Higher Education Institutions Affairs, Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Qatar
Dr. Azza Hassan, Program Director, Supportive and Palliative Care Unit of the National Center for Cancer Care and Research, Hamad Medical Corporation and Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College

4:30 - 4:45 Break

4:45- 6:00 Concluding discussion