International speakers from the NPO sector, politics, research, and business will come together to address the diversity and future challenges of philanthropy.


We invite you to join us for a conversation about the role of philanthropy in important issues such as digitalization, migration, impact measurement, globalization, health crises, democracy, and sustainability.


You can expect exciting and insightful input from keynote speeches and panel discussions, and opportunities to make new contacts and impart your knowledge in world cafés and unconferences.


Center for Philanthropy Studies


DAY 1 | NOVEMBER 19, Monday

Host: Sophie Hersberger, Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS)





Georg von Schnurbein, Prof. Dr., Center  for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS)

Conradin Cramer, PD Dr., Member of the Cantonal Council Basel-Stadt

Torsten Schwede, Prof. Dr., University of Basel



Katherine Milligan, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship


Panel: "Changes in Philanthropy - Past, Present, Future"

Michael Alberg-Seberich, Beyond Philanthropy

Angela Kail, New Philanthropy Capital

Katherine Milligan, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship

Host: Beate Eckhardt, SwissFoundations



Nan Buzard, International Committee of the Red Cross


World Cafés

Three short keynote speeches per domain, followed by discussion sessions in a World Café setting, and a wrap-up panel session with the speakers. 

Aiming for Impact - FULLY BOOKED

"Comparability in practice" Janine Händel, Dr., Roger Federer Foundation

"Measuring the non-measurable" Angela Kail, New Philanthropy Capital

"Humanitarian Impact Bond" Nan Buzard, International Committee of the Red Cross

Host: Sara Stühlinger, Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS)

Global Philanthropy

"Equality" Kamal Ahmad, Asian University for Women

"Mission Fit" Michael Alberg-Seberich, Beyond Philanthropy

"The SDGs" Silvia Bastante de Unverhau, Co-Impact

Host: Theresa Gehringer, Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS)

Philanthropy and Politics

"Ecology & Sustainability" Lukas Straumann, Bruno Manser Fonds

"Grassroot Organizations" Dominik Mösching, Dr., staatslabor

"International Advocacy" Manon Schick, Amnesty International Switzerland

Host: Nicholas Arnold, Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS)


Panel: "Philanthropy Research - Bridging to Practice?"

Rosa Gallego García, Asociación Española de Fundaciones

Anne-Claire Pache, Prof. Dr., ESSEC Business School

Pascale Vonmont, Dr., Gebert Rüf Foundation

Georg von Schnurbein, Prof. Dr., Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS)

Host: Karsten Timmer, Dr., panta rhei Stiftungsberatung 


Wrap Up


Celebratory Dinner

Dinner at the Restaurant Safran Zunft Basel to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS).

Only for participants who book the convention and the dinner.

DAY 2 | NOVEMBER 20, Tuesday

Host: Sophie Hersberger, Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS)



Ernst Hafen, Prof. Dr., ETH Zürich


Panel: "Philanthropy and the Collaboration for Health"

Michael Bzdak, Johnson & Johnson

Peggy Grüninger,  F. Hoffmann-La Roche

Stefan Germann, Dr., Fondation Botnar

Eduard Molnar, Gavi The Vaccine Alliance

Pio Wennubst, The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

Host: Olivia Chang, CNN Money Switzerland



Three Unconferences will give you the opportunity to address topics that are of relevance for your organization and maybe present a key question, challenge, or experience of your own. Each unconference will be organized and chaired by an organization that is an expert in this field. 

Philanthropy and Climate Change

Hosts: WWF Switzerland & ClimateWorks Foundation

Both the expected impacts of climate change and the fast and complete decarbonization of our society are considered major or even the biggest challenges of our time. This view is shared by relevant scientists, industry representatives, and representatives of the wider civil society. Despite this high level of urgency and consensus, global greenhouse gas emissions still rise. Therefore, addressing climate change becomes a prerequisite to make progress or avoid regression in multiple dimensions like health, education, gender, poverty reduction, food agriculture, digitalization. An integrated view on these issues will become relevant both in philanthropy and impact investing.

The Unconference aims to shed light on this gap between action and general agreement. Which hurdles need to be addressed? What is the role of cooperation among different actors and philanthropy? Should the focus be on prevention and mitigation or just accept the ongoing reality and invest in adaptation and coverage of loss and damages? Which roles must be strengthened: Civil society, individuals, role of businesses, local, regional, national, multilateral politics?

Participants interested in presenting a topic for discussion are invited to hand in a short abstract (0.5 page max) before November 9th. The hosting team will introduce and cluster the themes to enable fruitful, passionate discussions.


Philanthropy and Migration

Hosts: Stiftung Mercator Schweiz & Schöpflin Stiftung

68.5 million people worldwide are fleeing conflict, violence and persecution. 25.4 million of them seek protection in other countries. These include many children and young people who dream of education and a secure future. Although most refugees find refuge in a neighbouring country, international migration also poses challenges for Europe: More than 120,000 people with a refugee background live in Switzerland and 1.5 million in Germany. How can we help refugees to develop perspectives and arrive in the new country? 

The following topics, for example, are up for discussion:

1. National funding for a European challenge: is this the right approach? 
2. Project or organisation funding: what makes sense? 

3. Research results for practice: what role do foundations play in dissemination? 

4. Insights into a project to promote integration and equal opportunities: what experiences has the Schöpflin Foundation had?


Philanthropy and Digitalization - FULLY BOOKED

Hosts: Gebert Rüf Stiftung & digitalswitzerland

Similar to the industrial revolution 200 years ago, the digital revolution is shaping and transforming our society fundamentally today. We are experiencing a profound technological change that affects all areas of life. The digital world is changing social relationships and questioning cultural traditions, social orders and economic models. The Unconference focuses on the impact of this development on the foundation's work and wants to discuss on the basis of specific pilot projects which pioneering role foundations can play in this transfer process.

The Unconference aims to go beyond the meta-level and explore various aspects of digitalization by discussing examples of concrete projects and developments, all of which we are not yet able to assess. How should business, philanthropy, and politics work together to seize the opportunities and at the same time protect those, that are at a disadvantage because of this development? New models for digital culture, life long learning, less work – more leisure etc. 

In a fast moving environment, it is key to cultivate the dialogue amongst all parties, which is the purpose of the unconference or the Swiss digital day. 

Participants are invited to hand in their pilot projects to be discussed until one week before the convention to pascale.vonmont@grstiftung.ch.



Closing Session

Optional Pre-Convention Program


For those arriving on Sunday, November 18, we offer a guided tour through Basel, with a focus on philanthropic history and institutions, followed by an informal get-together at 6.00PM/18:00.

Let us know if you are interested in joining the tour or get-together by sending us an e-mail




About the Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS)

The Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS) at the University of Basel is an interdisciplinary research and executive education institute, specialized on the non-profit sector and dealing with the multifaceted topic of philanthropy. The institute was established in 2008 through an initiative by SwissFoundations, the Association of Swiss Grantmaking Foundations. It is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

The aim of the CEPS is to improve both the scientific foundation of and the knowledge about philanthropy. Furthermore, CEPS provides a direct benefit for foundations and other non-profit organizations through executive education and coaching.

Visit ceps.unibas.ch to find out more about the CEPS. 

About the University of Basel

The University of Basel has an international reputation of outstanding achievements in research and teaching. Founded in 1460, the University of Basel is the oldest university in Switzerland and has a history of success going back over 550 years.

As a comprehensive university offering a wide range of high-quality educational opportunities, the University of Basel attracts students from Switzerland and the entire world, offering them outstanding studying conditions as they work towards their bachelor’s, master’s or PhD degrees. Today, the University of Basel has around 13,000 students from over a hundred nations, including 2,700 PhD students.

The University of Basel has seven faculties covering a wide spectrum of academic disciplines. In international rankings, the University of Basel is regularly placed among the 100 top universities in the world thanks to its research achievements.

Visit www.unibas.ch to find out more about the University of Basel.

Center for Philanthropy Studies