Next week: the EthicsLab launch in Yaoundé

by Ingrid Robeyns on March 16, 2019

Next week, the EthicsLab is launched in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon. This is a new research center on ethics and public policy at the Université Catholique d’Afrique Centrale, which aims to foster research on these issues in Central Africa. The launching is a big event, with one week of workshops as well as a conference where ethicists and political philosophers from around the world come together to help the EthicsLab build its research agenda.

The driving force behind the EthicsLab is Dr. Thierry Ngosso, currently a Berggruen Fellow at the J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, who has been working towards this launch for many years. I am in absolute admiration of how he has managed to get this together – given that he did this as a PhD-student and subsequently during a series of temporary postdocs positions. But Thierry has been very smart and very patient, building this step by step, first organising a series of Summerschools with help of his (local and international) friends, and then taking the next step to launch the EthicsLab.

For me, as a European participant to this event, I also feel very excited about getting to know so many political philosophers and ethicists who are based in Africa. The list of participants consists of a mixture of philosophers from different African countries, or African philosophers working outside Africa, as well as international (mainly American and European) colleagues. It’s not surprising that we know colleagues from nearby places better than from further away places. But still, I know more international colleagues from the US, Canada and Australia than from Africa or Latin-America: resources, and possibly also language, matter too.

So, three cheers for the EthicsLab, and wishing them lots of success in strengthening ethics and political philosophy in Central Africa!