Tarrytown 2011 - Program Description


The 2011 Tarrytown Meeting continued to advance the goals and objectives of the overall Tarrytown Meetings initiative displayed on the “About the Tarrytown Meetings” page.  The inaugural Tarrytown Meeting in July 2010 was an occasion for colleagues to meet one another and learn about each other's work, concerns, perspectives and priorities concerning a wide range of topics.  The 2011 Tarrytown Meeting continued to promote such network-building, with special attention to developing policy and strategy ideas around a selected set of focal topics, and with particular attention to concrete outcomes.



PLENARY SESSIONS:   Plenary sessions included a mix of presentations on compelling questions, reflections and commentary, table and floor discussions, reports from working sessions, and more. Plenary topics were:


FOCAL TOPICS:  A significant portion of the meeting was structured around the seven focal topics, listed here.   Click on individual session titles for more information about each.


Genomics for the Common Good: Sessions related to new and emerging uses of genetic information in public and commercial spheres.  Discussions addressed urgent social justice concerns related to privacy, health, civil liberty, genetic discrimination, informed consent, and more. 

1.      DNA forensics

2.      Biobanks and human biological tissues

3.      Mobilization, messaging and communication for a campaign to stop gene

4.      Genetic testing and personalized medicine

5.      Genetics, privacy and applied politics


Assisted Reproductive Technologies:  Sessions related to biotech developments that threaten women’s health and reproductive justice, and which have ushered in new forms of biological human exploitation in the US and abroad.  Discussions addressed concrete strategies for progressive U.S. approaches to governance of ARTs.

6.      Eggs and sperm; Yours, mine and theirs: Controversies and concrete
         strategies for addressing them

7.      Wombs and eggs across borders

8.      Trait and sex selection: New technologies, enduring challenges

9.      Reconciling contradictions: Promoting a progressive politic around ART


Genes, Justice, Equity and Equality: Sessions related to the broad social implications of genetic and reproductive technologies in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomics.  Discussions addressed how to draw out common threads and/or opportunities for collaboration between the concerns and efforts of different communities around biotechnologies.

10.  Access, voice and participation: Reconsidering biotechnological divides

11.  Race under the microscope: Tackling biological misunderstandings of race and

12.  A good market for bad science: How biological race is sold to the public


Synthetic Biology and Other Emerging Biotechnologies:  Sessions related to implications of synthetic biology techniques for human modification/manipulation, bio-safety and environmental integrity.  A special focus was given to “connecting the dots” between near-term applications and future areas of grave concern. 

13.  Life redesigned

14.  Principles for oversight and strategies for action


Global Challenges and Opportunities: Sessions related to the state of global oversight of consequential human biotechnologies.  There was special focus on international advocacy and policy addressing such issues as reproductive tourism, genomic sovereignty, global DNA forensics, gene patenting, and synthetic biology.

15.  Toward effective global policies

16.  Comparative country experience


Popular and Professional Communications: Sessions looking at how groups and individuals working on biotechnology from a social justice/human rights perspective can improve overall engagement with the media.  Discussion focused on effective messaging strategies and exploration of new opportunities in journalism, academic publications, op-eds, blogs, arts and film and other forms of “new” media.

17.  Communications for a new biopolitics: Crafting and framing our messages

18.  Biopolitics in the Media: Strategies, Challenges and Opportunities


Education and the New Human Biotechnologies: Sessions looking at the state of education around the political, ethical and justice dimensions of new human biotechnologies.  Discussion focused on opportunities at secondary, college and graduate levels that engage both curricular and extracurricular approaches. 

19.  Effective classroom teaching: Identifying challenges and implementing solutions

20.  Developing accessible education resources


ADDITIONAL SESSIONS: A number of sessions at Tarrytown 2011 didn't fall directly within one of the focal topic categories, but are of no less importance. These included:

21.  Cloning, designer babies, enhancement, transhumanism

22.  Religious engagement & moral discourse

23.  Building for the long haul: Knowledge, human capital, institutions

24.  Navigating a complex ideological landscape

25.  Tarrytown planning 2012

26.  New human biotechnologies and the emerging generation

27.  Biopolitical cultural festival