Today, January 24, 2024, is International Day of Education! It was established by the United Nations General Assembly to celebrate the role of education in peace and development, and this year focuses on "Learning for Lasting Peace."
We would like to take this moment, in this context, to share an update from the ISAPS Board of Directors regarding its position on education in times of conflict.
Fostering science and international education in times of conflict.
Finding and defining our role and responsibility for delivering unbiased education in times of conflict.
Throughout history, times of relative peace and international collaboration have been punctuated by periods of war and other acts of violence or conflict, and we, as an international society, find ourselves challenged with ethical decisions on how we should respond to such acts.
As a society of members, not of national societies, it has always been our tradition to put the interests of our individual members first, and to provide an unbiased and safe-space environment where the ISAPS mission to inspire and nurture excellence in Aesthetic Education Worldwide® is protected.
As some of you may know, two years ago, in the light of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, the Board of Directors decided unanimously to suspend all educational activities in Russia until further notice and furthermore limited the involvement of individual Russian members as invited faculty or teachers at our educational events.
This decision was taken after long discussion and was aligned with many other international organizations at the time. Throughout this period, our policy of not restricting membership, or access to education to any qualified individual on the basis of nationality, religion, or location has remained a constant.
Over the course of the last two years, we have been approached by various members who either fully supported this decision or positioned themselves strongly against it. This feedback and the knowledge that more than 110 armed conflicts are currently recognized globally, some of them recent, and others that have lasted more than 50 years, led us to bring this matter back for review by the Board.
Our newly revised Code of Ethics states in its core principle that ISAPS members shall respect each other and foster good professional relations with all colleagues, independent of their race, sex, religion, beliefs, or origin. To be in line with this statement, we, as the Board, unanimously decided to remove any limitations on participation by individual ISAPS members, as delegates or speakers, at our educational events.
We welcome diverse views from members while upholding ethical, sensitive, and fair policies that serve our global community, and therefore recognize that respected members may still have principled objections. ISAPS continues to stand strongly against any act of violence and in support of our colleagues and members in affected regions. We will continue to suspend ISAPS educational events in areas directly affected by war or conflict for reasons of safety.
We believe this position aligns with our mission and Code of Ethics: allowing science, education, and collaboration through our International Society of selected individual members to be maintained as much as possible in a safe, unbiased, and neutral space.
K. O. Kaye MD, PhD
Chair of ISAPS Ethics Committee