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Copyright (c) 2001 The Green Bag, Inc.
The Green Bag An Entertaining Journal of Law

DIALOGUE: Think Globally

Spring, 2001

4 Green Bag 2d 287

Author

Michael Kirby

Excerpt

Through the United Nations you've been involved in efforts to understand and reach agreement on some legal issues relating to the human genome - but how did you get started down this path?
 
I was appointed chairman of the Australian law reform commission in 1975. That commission quite early in its life was given a task to prepare laws on the subject of human tissue transplantation. That took me into the area of bioethics. I've remained attached to that area ever since - because the issues have become larger, they've become more complicated and more sensitive and more global. So, one thing led to another and I became involved in the OECD work on data protection and data security, and later I became involved in the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee, which was in turn responsible for the preparation of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Human Genome. I also became involved in the ethics committee of HUGO - the Human Genome Organisation.

Indeed I leave tomorrow for a number of conferences, three of which will be related to the genome. So, that's a long way of saying that, in life, you tend to get on a track and it leads onto all sorts of opportunities. I find it a great joy to get out of the circle of lawyers and to meet scientists and technologists. To a very large extent the future will belong to lawyers - but the dynamic of the future belongs ...
 
 
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