Ubuntu MOOC

Ubuntu MOOC* is the online course dedicated to collectively building an inclusive and sustainable world

*MOOC stands for Massive Online Open Course, an online course accessible to a large audience.

Ubuntu: I am because we are, and we are because the planet is.

In a world where digitalization, protocols, and the daily pursuit of targets and competition can become ends in themselves, we seek new paths through the lens of the African philosophy Ubuntu. Paths in which humanity, dialogue, interspace, compassion, and sustainability are key concepts and the main question is ‘How do I (or: how do we) contribute to a just, inclusive society and a sustainable earth?’

Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.

Education plays a pivotal role in this quest. Hence, we’ve developed the Ubuntu MOOC: Building an inclusive and sustainable world, together. The course addresses how you can leverage your talents or your organization’s qualities for the betterment of the world. Beyond offering hope and perspective, the program provides practical tools for building a just, inclusive, and sustainable world; both individually and collaboratively with colleagues, fellow leaders, and fellow students.


For whom?

Rooted in the deep-seated Ubuntu worldview, everyone is (co)responsible for making a constructive contribution to an inclusive, just society and a sustainable earth,  regardless of their workfield or societal role. For ourselves and the unborn generations.

Global fundamental crises such as economic inequality, discrimination and racism, climate change, biodiversity, refugees, housing shortages, and healthcare challenges cannot be solved through individual thinking and actions alone. We must collectively, through solidarity and the path of shared humanity, seek a new (inter)national societal ethic.

Ubuntu can guide us in this journey. From the Ubuntu philosophy’s perspective on care, it teaches us: “It takes a village to raise a child.” In other words, how can we move towards a society where caring for each other becomes a moral duty rather than claiming the right to care? By truly seeing each other first (Sawubona: I see you!), we bridge the ‘polarizing’ gaps in all sectors. This allows people to experience the fundamental need for meaning and belonging again. From this foundation, we can work with the Ubuntu wisdom of Indaba, collaborative decision-making, essentially meaning: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”


What will you learn?

In the Ubuntu MOOC, we will explore, connect, and experience the synergies between personal, professional, organizational, and societal issues on philosophical, scientific, and practical levels. We will apply Ubuntu values to work and life, contributing to the whole, in which we take part ourselves. We foster a spirit of contribution.

In eleven modules we will discover, like peeling layers of an onion, the layers of Ubuntu from historical, philosophical, and scientific perspectives, and most importantly, applied in everyday practice. Personal-professional issues and collaborative assignments will be the core themes and principles of the course.

The approach in this Ubuntu MOOC is interdisciplinary. Eleven instructors from fields such as philosophy, economics, psychology, journalism, literature, science, politics, and art will guide you through how Ubuntu philosophy—’I am because we are, and we are because the earth is’—operates in their respective domains, on micro, meso, and macro levels.



Eleven dedicated instructors, each with their own expertise but forming one whole , share their knowledge and provide practical tools to help you apply the essential pillars of Ubuntu in your work and life. The MOOC is divided into the following modules:

What is Ubuntu? | Henk Haenen

Existence and storytelling | Babah Tarawally

Meaning economy | Kees Klomp

Presence and Care Ethics | Andries Baart

Reconciliation and restorative justice | Kathleen Ferrier

Ubuntu leadership and entrepreneurship | Leontine van Hooft

Indaba and civic forums: engaged decision-making | Annette Nobuntu Mul

Sustainable entrepreneurship | André Nijhof

Diversity and inclusion | Mpanzu Bamenga

Intergenerational and international dialogue | Laurentien van Oranje

Global cooperation and the future chair | Jan Terlouw

With additional contributions from Jalli Lamin Kuyateh, Alan McSmith, Kevin Chaplin, and Kubeshini Govender.


Learning Objectives

•   After completing the course, participants will have acquired the following knowledge, skills, and attitudes and are in a personal professional sense competent at:

•  Viewing individuals, teams, organizations, and countries from the strength of diversity and interconnectedness, on the level of behaviour, values and intention.

•   Linking personal issues and learning objectives with the essence of ‘I am because we are, and we are because the earth is.’

•   Understanding and translating the theoretical background of Ubuntu philosophy from a historical perspective and as a value-oriented source of action in work and life.

•   Transforming limiting beliefs into empowering beliefs and making a constructive contribution to collaboration.

•   Viewing issues from an intercultural perspective, considering them from a non-polarizing ‘between we and I.’

•   Considering the strength and connection between the individual and the profession from the Presence Theory and fundamental care ethics.

•   Experiencing and applying the path from retaliation to forgiveness: the 4-step process based on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.

•   Recognizing Reconciliation and Restorative Justice as the basis in our society: the path to restoration instead of condemnation and separation.

•   Dealing with interpersonal dilemmas and applying the ‘complete message’ in communication and equal dialogue: eliminating duality with a twofold inclusive attitude.

•   Handling emotions professionally, connecting them to values, and taking a stance in a consructive dialogue with respect for both the other and oneself.

•   Conducting an integral analysis of complex organizational and societal issues from source, pillars, carriers, and beacons.

•   Collaboratively creating entrepreneurship from the pillars of Ubuntu: contributing to an inclusive and sustainable organization, society, and world.

•   Applying the African decision and dialogue method, the Indaba.

•   Leveraging the power of dialogue, embracing diversity, acknowledging the value beneath resistance, realizing a shared greater good, and understanding the meaning of the ‘no fundamental objection principle.’

•   Connecting individual, team-focused, organizational, and societal issues and vision/mission with the meaning of ‘I am because we are, and we are because the earth is’: the path of shared humanity from a local to global perspective.

•   Developing a deep awareness of contribution in collaboration and community: at all times, we contribute to a whole, of which we are all simultaneously a part. For ourselves and our future generations.


Time scheduled for study, inspiration and investment  

This course comprises a total of 420 study hours.

Viewing and listening to instructor videos: 8 hours

Recommended literature: 312 hours

Reflection and collaboration assignments: 50 hours

Final assignment on the platform: 50 hours

The average timeline for the program is six months. The Ubuntu MOOC is available for a full year.

If you are enrolled in an education program or minor where this MOOC is part of the curriculum, it is worth 15 ECTS credits. In such cases, customized assignments may apply. For more information, consult your study advisor.


Enrollment: become a participant too!

•   Your investment for the Ubuntu MOOC: Building an inclusive and sustainable world, together is €1,495. This amount grants you one year of access to the MOOC.

•   The course is available in both English and Dutch. The audio is generally in Dutch and is always accompanied by English subtitles.

•   With a minimum of 10 participants, it is possible to offer one free MOOC to someone who cannot afford it financially. For more information, contact [email protected].

•   5% of the investment will contribute to educational programs for the Amy Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa. You can find all information about the Amy Foundation at amyfoundation.co.za.

•   Upon completion, you will receive a CEDEO accredited certificate. However, we find it even more important that you stand for your talents and use them for an inclusive and sustainable world!


Practical Information

A Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is a fully online course that can accommodate people from all around the world. You learn through videos, lectures, recommended literature, and reflection and collaboration assignments. The Ubuntu MOOC is accessible via moodle.isvw.nl after registration. Each license provides one username and password for one person.


The Ubuntu MOOC is een co-creation of ISVW and Ubuntu Society. More information about Ubuntu Society can be found at ubuntusociety.nl.

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