/ Research, Events

9th ERNOP Conference in Basel – Taking a Look Back


From July 3rd to July 5th, the Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS) hosted the 9th ERNOP conference at the University of Basel.

On July 3rd, three pre-conference events took place. At the «Alte Universität» 12 PhD students from around the world presented and discussed their research projects with the four faculty members Georg von Schnurbein, Michaela Neumayr, Jeff Brudney and Tobias Jung (report). At the same time, in the Kollegienhaus, practitioners and academics came together to discuss legal barriers to cross-border philanthropy in Europe (blog report). To finish off the day, conference participants gathered at Verso Bar for a pre-conference get-together in a casual atmosphere.

On July 4th, the main conference – held at Kollegienhaus of the University of Basel – really took off. After a welcome speech by CEPS director Georg von Schnurbein, it was the first keynote speaker’s turn. Rob Reich, author of the book «Just Giving» challenged the participants with a lecture on the darker sides of philanthropy. He argued that foundations are often unaccountable and show low transparency, a fact that is hard to reconcile with democratic societies, as he argued. In order to overcome this fact, Rob Reich proposed to look less at the ways in which philanthropy can be most effective, but to lead a more in-depth discussion about how justified and relevant its goals are for society as a whole.

On July 5th, two further keynote speeches followed. Pamala Wiekping pointed the audience towards the bright side of philanthropy and emphasized that we are in need of a truly global research on philanthropy, which is currently still very much focused on North America and Europe. In the third keynote speech, Lynda Mansson, director general of MAVA foundation, informed the audience on the struggles and the advantages related to closing a foundation, which in the case of MAVA foundation will happen in 2022.

Besides the keynote speeches, both days were packed with a multitude of sessions (conference program), in which scholars from around the world presented their current research, spurring interesting discussions not only after the presentations, but throughout the two days – in the university halls, at coffee breaks and during the conference dinner at Schmatz Basel. From the CEPS, Sara Stühlinger, Sophie Hersberger, Alice Hengevoss, Theresa Gehringer, Dominik Meier, Georg von Schnurbein, Oto Potluka und Nicholas Arnold presented the most recent results of their respective research at the institute.

The CEPS is honoured to have been granted the opportunity to host this year’s ERNOP conference and would like to thank the approximately 175 participants for their attendance, the lively discussions and the pleasant atmosphere throughout the three conference days.

See also: Conference report by Alliance Magazine