Guilin, 2017: China Hosts Country’s First International Symposium on Global Health Law

By Yi Zhang (Eva), University of Groningen Faculty of Law, PhD Candidate,

In order to further promote the level of global health governance and encourage research in global health law, the 2017 International Symposium on Global Health Law was held in Guilin city, China from July 2nd to July 3rd, 2017. The organizer of the symposium was Central South University, China. The symposium was hosted jointly by the Institute of Medical and Health Law of Central South University, the O’Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law of Georgetown University, and the Global Health Law Research Centre of the University of Groningen (GHLG).


The theme of this symposium was “Global medical health and relevant legal issues”. Altogether, over 80 academic papers were accepted, and more than 80 experts from all over the world from colleges, universities, research institutes, and law practice departments attended the symposium and shared a comprehensive discussion on the abovementioned theme. The experts were from Central South University, China; Georgetown University, US; Groningen University, the Netherlands; Yale University, US; Harvard University, US; Temple University, US; Hokkaido University, Japan; Taiwan University, China; Tsinghua University, China; and Peking University, China.

The Director of the Office of International Cooperation and Exchange, Yi Bai, stated in his address that 2017 was an important year to carry out the theme of National Health and Wellness and to carry through the “13th five-year plan” of deepening the health care system reform in China. He also emphasized that it is the key year to construct the basic framework of a proper functioning medical and health care system and to accomplish staged tasks of reforming the pharmaceutical and health care system in China. It can be predicted that holding the first International Symposium on Global Health Law would promote the development of global health law research in China.

Throughout the symposium, expertise were shared on global health issues including discussions on disease prevention and treatment, global health governance,  international law and human rights in health protection, and national policy approaches to health-related issues such as drunk-driving, tobacco, health insurance, and access to medicines.

In their academic summary, Central South University Xiangya School of Public Health Professor Guoqing Hu said of the symposium that it was, on one hand, a real interdisciplinary crossing had been realised at the symposium with each paper having its own special value; on the other hand, through taking advantage of every subject and international communication, new challenges and problems home and abroad had been explored.

At noon on July 3rd, 2017, after a day and a half of heated discussion, the closing ceremony was held. University of Groningen Prof Brigit Toebes hereby functioned as the host. In her speech, she praised the huge success of the symposium, and she took great pleasure in seeing that many famous scholars from different countries were invited to attend the symposium and that over 80 professors assembled at the symposium to have an in-depth discussion of global health law issues. She was inspired by the speeches of each individual expert, and accordingly made a wonderful comment on the symposium with ten questions to share with the delegates and to cast light for the future global health law research,:

(1) What is global health law; what are its scope and implications?

(2) What are the roles and positions of human rights, ethics, governance, and other related disciplines in global health law?

(3) What are the implications of global health law for domestic health care settings?

(4) What can we learn from other countries when it comes to ‘good practice’ in domestic health laws?

(5) How can we measure the effectiveness of health laws in a transdisciplinary manner?

(6) How do we balance care and prevention?

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(7) How can health insurance best be organized and what can we learn from countries like Japan, Taiwan, and the Netherlands: public, private, or a mix?

(8) Against the backdrop of an aging population, the rising cost of medicines and care, and the increase in non-communicable diseases, how can costs be reduced whilst maintaining equality in access to care?

(9) How may overconsumption of medical services be reduced?

(10) How can health lifestyles be encouraged, while e paying due attention to the autonomy, privacy, and self-determination of individuals?

Finally, Prof Yunliang Chen delivered a closing speech, and he concluded that a great power must participate in global health governance and the research on global health law was a major demand for China. He also wished the participants would strengthen global health law research to promote global health governance in China.

For the full report, click here.



‘Equitable access to controlled medicine: between drug control and human rights in post-market access in low- and middle income countries’ – Conference report

By Marie Elske Gispen, Utrecht University,

On 8 and 9 October 2015 several GHLG members participated in a symposium on ‘Equitable access to controlled medicine: between drug control and human rights in post-market access in low- and middle income countries’ (co-organized by Marie Elske Gispen, Utrecht University). Marie Elske presented the preliminary conclusions of her Ph.D. research on access to controlled medicines at this meeting. GHLG fellows Brigit Toebes and Hans Hogerzeil commented on her work from a legal and global health perspective respectively. Brigit mainly touched upon the question whether or not the normative framework of the right to health is sufficiently equipped to further access to medicine provision. Hans particularly reflected on the progress, or lack thereof, made so far in the area of access to (controlled) medicines. GHLG fellow Katrina Perehudoff joined on the second day of the symposium as participant.

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U4 SSEL Conference – “Governance of a Contemporary Multilateral Institutional Architecture”

This year’s U4 network cluster conference is organized from 4 till 6 November 2015 in congress center Het Kasteel  in Groningen, the Netherlands.

The conference includes the following panels:

1. Governance of Politics, Conflicts and Interventions

2. Governance of E-Democracy and Internet Architecture

3. Governance of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity

Specifically, Professor Brigit Toebes will chair the session on Society, Human Rights, and Welfare. There is also one session on Global Health.

Check out the following link for detailed information:

Program U4 SSEL Conference 4-6 November 2015

Groningen–Osaka biannual conference 2015 – global health humanitarianism

In the context of celebrating 10 years of the Osaka university office in Groningen Osaka and Groningen propose to discuss the issue of global health in humanitarianism (an issue in both Universities’ field of interest) in an interdisciplinary setting during a one-day seminar, bringing together experts from a variety of fields engaged in research and policy on global health in contemporary humanitarianism. Conceptualisation and codification of a harmonised approach, the actual level of integratedness of global health and humanitarianism in the transformative approach and the interplay between humanitarian principles and global health values can be addressed. Please find an extended description attached. Would you like to present your research and share your insights in this issue area in an international setting? Please contact Joost Herman ( for further info.

Date: October 9th

Venue: Academy building, University of Groningen

Reception included

Call for Abstracts – Beneficial coercion in medicine? Foundations, areas of conflict, prevention

The Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine (Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany) will host an international conference for young scholars from Germany and The Netherlands on the topic “Beneficial coercion in medicine? Foundations, areas of conflict, prevention” (15-19 February 2016 in Bochum, Germany) which is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Check out the following link for detailed information:

CfA_ International Conference_Coercion_Bochum 2016

Call for papers for the U4 Conference Cluster Social Sciences, Economics and Law

Please find the link at the bottom for the 2nd Call for papers for the U4 Conference Cluster Social Sciences, Economics and Law for 4- 6 November 2015, coordinated by Globalisation Studies Groningen (GSG) and Sustainable Society with the theme “Governance of Contemporary Multilateral Institutional Architecture”.

May we ask you to distribute the call to interested researchers in your faculty, department or institution and encourage their participation. The conference has its own U4 website, including registration of interests and upload of abstracts or papers. Please take a closer look as it will provide more detail on the specific panels included in the call. The website is:

The topics for the conference are:

Governance of Politics, Conflicts and Interventions
Governance of International Trade and its Multilateral Agreements
Governance of Human Behavior and Morality in Innovative Markets and Firms
Governance of E-Democracy and Internet Architecture
Governance of Internet Challenges in East Asia
Governance and Equity, Inclusion, Diversity
Governance, Identity and Social Exclusion
Governance, Equity and Diversity

By organising this conference with its various highly topical panels, researchers may present their work and look into cooperation possbilities. Panels have been chosen in such a way as to obtain maximum benefit of bringing together the best researchers, including PhD students, across our 4 universities. We look very much forward to the conference and hope to see many of you in het Kasteel on the 4 – 6th November.