WARNER, NEW HAMPSHIRE — Nestled on the side of a mountain, Northeast Catholic College’s campus was the venue for the World Youth Alliance’s Emerging Leader’s Conference on February 9-10, 2018. The theme of the conference was “The Person and Bioethics.”
The two-day event began Friday night with a welcome reception, dinner and a showing of the movie Life Is Beautiful. After the movie, participants joined in a lively discussion about the nature of and relationship between freedom and suffering.
Weronika Janczuk, the Director of WYA North America, began the talks on Saturday morning with the presentation “What Is the Human Person?” Participants delved more deeply into the fundamental identity of the human person and its various capacities and capabilities. Following brunch, Ms. Janczuk expanded upon her morning discussion with a talk titled “The Person, Ideology and Bioethics: The Modern Identity Crisis.” She explained several of the most common ideologies, describing how each drives us deeper into an “unreality.”
The next session of the day was presented by Julia Kenney, Director of Operations for WYA North America, and Ruby Amezquita, Recruitment Manager for Seton Educational Partners. Ms. Kenney introduced several of WYA’s Projects, such as FEMM and the Human Dignity Curriculum, and Ms. Amezquita spoke about the Brilla Charter Network as well as a fellowship with the Seton Teaching Fellows, and the work of these organizations to educate and form children in the Bronx.
After a short break, Ms. Kenney continued with a presentation of WYA’s mission, chapters and committees. Participants enjoyed hearing what others are doing across North America and were inspired to become more involved in the WYA New Hampshire Chapter hosted at Northeast Catholic College. The chapter will be reaching out to local high school students as well as holding several events in the upcoming year such as movie nights, discussion groups, and Dignity Dances.
The presentations for the day concluded with a panel discussion on “Threats to Human Dignity.” Ms. Janczuk was joined by George Harne, President of Northeast Catholic College, and Paul Burke, Principal of Burke Bioventures LLC. Dr. Harne opened the panel by invited Dr. Burke to share his experience as a consultant in the biotechnology field. He highlighted ethical concerns while providing several examples of current biotechnology projects. Then, Ms. Janczuk shared her thoughts on the philosophical underpinnings of the ethical considerations.
After dinner, the conference ended in true Northeast Catholic College style with a Dignity Dance and a bonfire. The WYA New Hampshire Chapter looks forward to hosting another WYA Emerging Leaders Conference next year.