Together with our partners at UNAM the WEF-FABI Team will host an online seminar series on “Ubuntu, Social Contracts, UBI, Water-Energy-Food Nexus, Social Protection, and Empirical Research,” starting on 21/03/2024. With assorted guests, the series will create a path of interconnections and differences between these topics and ask how their elements fit together. We want to examine how Ubuntu can be used in social experiments. Finally, the workshop findings will be incorporated into joint work (e.g. joint papers or field studies).

“Ubuntu” is a bond of unity amongst the people of Africa (Asike 2016, p. 7). In this sense, ubuntu is a philosophy that justifies norms and deliberate rules. With that, it touches common ground with the tradition of the social contract theory. In our series, we will follow various questions connecting these two traditions of thought: What are the main positions in these philosophical traditions? What are the similarities/differences between ubuntu and social contract theory? How can the shared features of the two of them be connected? We will then confront philosophical insights with the idea of a universal basic income and further link the various strings to possible impacts on social policy interactions. We take a look at the trade-offs between different policies and sharpen our awareness of the water-energy-food nexus and social protection. Finally, we will see how we can use empirical methods to normative justify policies and contribute to solving trade-offs.

If you are interested in a workshop, see the dates below and join (register) through the registration form on the workshop eventpage. The presentations are free to join using the zoom link provided in the event.


All events will be held from 2 – 4 pm (CAT)


21/03/2024       I’m Because We’re: Understanding the African Ubuntu Philosophy
Robert Senath Esuruku (University of Makerere, Kampala)

28/03/2024       Social Contract
Bernhard Neumärker (University of Freiburg)

04/04/2024       Universal Basic Income
Jurgen De Wispelaere (University of Bath)

11/04/2024       Water-Energy-Food Nexus
Mike Jacobson (Penn State University)

18/04/2024       Social Protection
Leo de Haan (International School of Social Studies, The Hague)
AF Kamanzi (University of Namibia)

25/04/2024       Empirical Normative Research
Tobias Jäger (University of Freiburg)


02/05/2024       Debating Connections: Bringing the Different Ideas Together

09/05/2024       Different Philosophical Traditions: What Can We Learn for Social Policy?