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Biovision forum attracts thousands on biotechnology forum
Lyon, France, 07 February 2001  -- For a few days, the city of Lyon became the biotech capital of the world. Some 2000 persons representing Industry, scientists and the civil society, as well as a number of eminent political figures from the President of France to the Commissioner of Health of the EC to the minister of research of China, all attended a densely packed program of thematic plenaries, special sessions and parallel conferences and dinner debates. Ismail Serageldin was one of the organizers of the event, a member of the BioVision "college of chairmen". It also had exhibitions, a youth component (Biovision-next) and a major meeting place for industrialists and scientists called "Biosquare". The event also had an open forum and a series of dinner-debates and many publications. The main conference had a series of plenaries and four parallel conferences dealing with health, food, agriculture and industry respectively. Each of the four "streams" had three main components: to review the state of the art; case studies of success; and future visions of biotechnology. Each was co-chaired by three eminent persons. Ismail Serageldin joined Nobel laureate Werner Arber, and Novozymes CEO Steen Riisgard as co-chair for the stream dealing with "Industrial revolutions through life sciences". In addition Ismail addressed three separate plenaries: Reporting on the theme of industrial revolutions through life sciences, he spoke on behalf of himself and his other two co-chairs. He also spoke at the plenary on the developing countries, a subject that he insisted should be given prominence in such meetings, and he also participated in the open forum with NGOs on the evening preceding the formal opening session with President Chirac. In that event, his "J'accuse.." statement on the responsibilities of the public authorities to fund research and create an enabling regulatory framework was widely noted. The conference was a big step forward in building a basis for dialogue on the complex issues that the rapidly changing technology is creating for many societies. The next BioVision is scheduled for 9-12 April 2003.
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