Ethics Lab Yaoundé Fundraiser

by Ingrid Robeyns on February 2, 2024

One source of the Global Academic Gap is that many universities and academic resources in the Global South are underresourced (sometimes massively so). If there is no money to pay for a generator to deal with electricity blackouts, or in case there is no money to hire scholars, then it’s hard to even start doing research. And if we want to strengthen entire fields in a resource-poor country, we will also need resources for people to build the academic networks that we take so much for granted in (most) of the Global North (even when acknowledging that within the Global North there are also significant inequalities in budgets).

About 9 or 10 years ago, my institute hosted a visiting researcher – Thierry Ngosso. Thierry is from Cameroon, but did his PhD in Louvain-la-Neuve and held post-doc positions in Harvard and Sankt Gallen. For years, he tiredlessly prepared the launch of the EthicsLab in Yaoundé, now 5 years ago. Many political philosophers and ethicists from the global North and Africa met there, and discussed ethical and philosophical questions for several days. And of course, over tea-breaks and meals, we also discussed the many challanges that building an EthicsLab in Cameroon entailed.

Thierry and his friends are putting together another conference, to mark the fifth aniversary of the EthicsLab, and to strenghten the activities and networks of the EthicsLab. But they need financial support – for the conference, and for the EthicsLab more generally. It would be very ironic that they would end up with a scenario whereby there would be many more well-funded scholars from the US and Europe than from neighbouring African countries at this conference, only because of the global maldistribution of money. That’s why Thierry and his friends have started a fundraiser for the EthicsLab.

I just donated, and feel it’s a privilege to be able to make a small contribution to this fantastic initiative. Please join me in making a donation, if you are so inclined. Thank you!



Tim Meijers 02.02.24 at 3:13 pm

Thank you Ingrid, for sharing the fundraiser. Thierry and his team do immensely important work in Yaounde. Just one example. I’ve attended (and co-organized once) the Yaounde Seminar on theories of justice three times, the first two times as a PhD student. This seminar brings together PhD students and early career people from Africa and (mostly) the EU and North America, as well as more senior figures as mentors and teachers. Over the last 12 years, it has seen 8 successful editions and has become a bit of an institution. The seminar has brought countless people who would otherwise never have met together at a formative stage of their careers. This has lead to countless solid contacts across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, which greatly benefitted all involved.

I hope many will decide to make a contribution, so we can help the Ethics Lab continue to fulfil its mission of amplifying African political philosophy globally (among the other important things it does more locally, like supporting critical ethical and political reflection on the challenges Africans across the continent face).


Seekonk 02.03.24 at 1:23 am

I just made a contribution. Good luck to your good cause!


KT2 02.03.24 at 4:11 am

I hope The Ethics Lab may set up ethics teacher training so schools may teach as a subject. Many will train and provide for diffusion. Although in Australia, even though legislated as a choice instead of religion classes, many roadblocks placed by various conservatives.


Adam Swift 02.03.24 at 9:22 am

I’ve been to Yaounde a couple of times through this initiative. The events have been hugely cnjoyable and enriching, and it’s been humbling to see people doing political philosophy in such challenging circumstances. I’m delighted to give something to support all the hard work of Thierry Ngosso and his friends.


Tim Meijers 02.03.24 at 1:56 pm

@KT2 – the Ethics Lab actively aims at diffusion. It offers students (at UCAC and elsewhere) and professionals the possibility to obtain a certificate in ethics. The people involved also teach ethics courses in Philosophy, Social Science, Managment, etc. Thierry will be able to tell you much more about the different ways in which Ethics Lab integrates ethics at the University and for professionals!


Thierry Ngosso 02.06.24 at 11:50 am

Thanks, Ingrid, for writing this excellent piece in support of this campaign, and thanks, Adam, and Tim, for your solidarity on this.

EthicsLab is trying to build a platform to provide an authentic African academic voice in the global conversation about normative and political thought and help address the numerous challenges many African countries continue to face by developing an approach to ethical theorizing that is shaped by local circumstances and events and that put ethical thinking at the heart of national and continental dialogues on issues that matter.

Such endeavor requires time, patience, commitment, and, more importantly, academic solidarity. We are so grateful to all our friends and colleagues from philosophy and beyond who have tirelessly supported (financially) each step of this project since 2012. As we seek to take this initiative to the next level, we call for your continuing support. Thanks for your contribution!

In addition to funding a small staff (3 people), some basic expenses and other EthicsLab’s activities, your money will, among others, help implement EthicsLab’s latest initiative: our Ethics Education Program (EEP). EEP intends in its first phase to develop a) an interfaculty and ‘mandatory’ course in ethics aimed at all undergraduate students from UCAC irrespective of their discipline/department/faculty, b) short-term certificates in ethics for specific professions (public officers, physicians, lawyers, journalists, teachers, managers, etc.) and in specific domains (health, education, environment, business, policy) (started in 2023, next round April-June 2024) and c) ‘popular ethics program’ aimed at mass diffusion of ethics and ethical thinking across society, and d) collaboration with secondary schools to develop pedagogical tools that will allow teaching ethics already at those levels!

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