The Centre of Biomedical Ethics and Culture (CBEC), SIUT was inaugurated on October 8, 2004 in Karachi, and remains the only such centre in Pakistan to date. CBEC was established recognizing the need for ethics related education and research in Pakistan that are relevant and responsive to local cultural and social realities, and the absence of any institution in the country dedicated to this task at a national level.
Primary objectives of CBEC include serving as an academic and intellectual resource for Pakistan, and assisting in development of individuals sensitive to indigenous issues and with the capacity to impart ethics education to healthcare communities and beyond. CBEC faculty undertakes constructively critical research that explores the role of cultural and religious norms and socioeconomic realities in shaping value systems prevalent in society. Through its perspectives, the center aims to enrich the predominantly philosophical and secular discourse in contemporary bioethics, and to network with regional and international professionals and institutions involved in similar efforts.
CBEC conducts workshops, seminars, and conferences many of which are open to the public, both on-campus and in universities around Pakistan. Its formal programs include a one year Postgraduate Diploma in Biomedical Ethics (PGD), instituted in 2006, and a two year MA in Bioethics (MBE) that graduated its first class in the fall of 2011. The PGD program has produced 82 healthcare related professionals and the MBE program has graduated 10 people. The programs have an international group with graduates belonging to institutions in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta, Jamshoro, Larkana and Nawabshah, and Colombo Sri Lanka and Nairobi, Kenya. Additionally, CBEC offers Certificate Courses in Clinical Ethics and Research Ethics since 2014, and we have so far had 11 people from several institutions in Pakistan and from the Kenyan Medical research Institute complete the courses.
Many of the CBEC alumni are playing a leading role in initiating ethics related education in their parent institutions, while others have been active contributors to regional ethics journals such as the Asian Bioethics Review, the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, and the Pakistan Journal of Medical Ethics. Several alumni are also members of the National Bioethics Committee of Pakistan.