Workineh Kelbessa

Full Name Workineh Kelbessa Golga
Academic Rank/Status Professor (2018)
Working for AAU since 01/09/1988
Administrative positions held

Chairperson, Department of Philosophy, AAU:

November 2001-January 2004

September 2006-February 2007  and

December 30, 2016-January 2019

Coordinator and Mentor of the Learning and Exchange Programme ASAprenuers in Germany and Ethiopia (via the Engagement Global gGmbH, funded by the German Ministry of Development Cooperation), 2015-2017.

Education attended

1.      BA, Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, College of Social Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, 1988

2. MA, Development Studies, Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Hague, The Netherlands, 1997

3. Ph.D., Philosophy, Philosophy Section, School of English, Communication and Philosophy, University of Wales Cardiff,(now Cardiff University), UK, 2001

4. Certificate of Competency for Teaching in Higher Education Institutions, AAU, 2016

Awards & recognitions

1. The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) Summer Research Grant, 1995.

2.    Certificate awarded by CODESRIA for participation in the 1995 Session of the Democratic Governance Institute, August 1st – September 15, 1995.

3. Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA) Research Grant, 1996.

4. The British Council Fellowship, 1999 & 2000.

5. UNESCO Fellowship, 2000-2001.

6. The Leche Trust Research Grant, 2001.

7.    Certificate of Appreciation awarded by the International Society for Human Values Geneva, Switzerland for Exceptional Contribution as a Resource Person during the African Regional Conference on Youth and Human Values – African Chapter, Accra Ghana, 8-11 July, 2002.

8.    Certificate awarded by the Institute of Social Studies, the Hague, the Netherlands, for Participation in the Policy Seminar on Integrating Good Governance in the Curriculum of Higher Education in Africa held at the Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC), Faculty of Law, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, 12-26 July 2003

9. Participant in FY – 04 Fulbright American Studies Institute on the Theme Religion in the U.S.: Pluralism and Public Presence at University of California, Santa Barbara from June 20 to August 2, 2004.

10.  Certificate awarded by The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board and United States Department of State in Recognition of My Participation in the Fulbright Program, July 2004.

11.   German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Summer Research Grant at the Department of Philosophy, University of Rostock, Germany, and the Technical University of Dresden, Germany and Forum Scientiarum der Universität Tübingen, Germany from July-August 2005 and July-September 2011 respectively.

12.  Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, 2007-2008.

13.  Certificate awarded by the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (RVP) for Participation in the Fall Seminar on The Sacred and the Secular: Complementary and/or Conflictual? held at the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., USA, from September 28 – October 30, 2009, October 30, 2009.

14.  Certificate awarded by the World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations for Participation in the IX Annual Session of World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations” from October 6-10, 2011, in Rhodes, Greece.

15.  Recipient of the 2011 Gold Medal Ethiopia, American Biographical Institute-USA.

16.  Certificate awarded by APISA, CLACSO, and CODESRIA for Participation in the Fifth South-South Summer Institute from 21 May to 1 June 2012 in Recife, Brazil.

17.  Certificates awarded by the Greek Philosophical Society for Chairing the Symposium on Technology and the Environment and Presenting two papers at the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy held in Athens, Greece, from August 4-10, 2013.

18.  Certificate awarded by the Philosophical School of Calabar, Nigeria for participation in the University of Calabar International Colloquium held at the University of Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria between September 20th and 24th 2016.

19.   Certificate awarded by Iranian Association for Ethics in Science and Technology for Participation in International Congress on Ethics in Science and Technology held in Tehran, Iran, from 4-7 December 2017.

20. Certificate for Membership awarded by the International Confucian Association, January 1st, 2018.

21.   Certificate awarded by the International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities of the University of Tubingen for Participation in the International Conference on Digitalisation in Africa: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Technology, Development, and Justice, held in Tubingen, Germany, from September 26-27, 2018.

Memberships of International bodies

1.     Member of the World Futures Studies Federation, 1996-

2.    Member of the International Society for African Philosophy and Studies, 2000-

3.    Associate Member of the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (CRVP), 2003-

Regional Coordinator of the CRVP, 2010-2015, 2018-

4.    Member of the International Development Ethics Association (IDEA), 2004-

Board Member of the IDEA, 2006-2014.

5.    Board Member of the International Society for Value Inquiry, 2003-

6.    Member of UNESCO’s World Commission for the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), 2012-2019 (I was appointed by the Director General of UNESCO in 2012).

7.    Member of UNESCO’s External Advisory Group of Experts set up to provide Interdisciplinary Advice in the Production of a Guidebook for African Journalist Reporting on Climate Change, entitled Climate Change in Africa: A Guidebook for Journalists, 2013.

8.    Member of the Executive Committee of the Inter African Council for African Philosophy, 2013-

9.       Member of the International Panel on Social Progress: Rethinking Society for the 21st Century, a group designed to outline the basic principles and values on the basis of which social progress ought to be assessed, 2015-

10.   Member of African-German Network of Excellence in Science (AGNES), 2015-

11.   Member of the International Confucian Association, 2018-

Member of the Sixth Council of the International Confucian Association, 2019-

12.  Member of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, 2019-

Publicity: Journals, editorial roles, initiatives etc.

1.     Member of the Editorial Board of an International Journal of Health Care Philosophy and Policy, United Kingdom, 2006-

2.    Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal Environmental Ethics, 2011-

3.    Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of African Environmental Ethics and Values, 2019-

4.    Member of the Panel of Judges for the First (2006-2007) and Second (2011) Rounds of Denis Goulet Memorial Prize, Administered by the International Development Ethics Association.

5.    Member of the Panel of Judges that determined the Winner in the First Award of the Nigerian Philosophical Association Prize: The Emmanuel Anyiam Osigwe Prize for the Best Philosophy Book in Africa (2014).

Research interest/ not more than hundred words

Environmental Philosophy, Development Ethics, African Philosophy, Indigenous Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Love and Sex, Climate Ethics, Water Ethics and Comparative Philosophy



1. Traditional Oromo Attitudes towards the Environment: An Argument for Environmentally Sound Development, OSSREA Social Science Research Report Series, No. 19. Addis Ababa: Commercial Printing Enterprise, 2001.

2. Indigenous and Modern Environmental Ethics: A Study of the Indigenous Oromo Environmental Ethic and Modern Issues of Environment and Development: Ethiopian Philosophical Studies, I. Washington, D.C.: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2011.


1.     “The African Source of Greek Philosophy.” Journal of African Religion and Philosophy 2(2) (1993):14-23.

2.    “Environmental Ethics in Theory and Practical Application.” Ethiopian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 1(1)(2003): 63-88.

3.    “La rehabilitation de l’éthique environmentale traditionnelle en Afrique.” Diogène, No. 207 (2004):20-43.

4.     “The Rehabilitation of Indigenous Environmental Ethics in Africa.”Diogenes 52(207) (2005) :17-34.

5.    “In Search of an Ethical Response to Environmental Impact of Globalisation.”Caribbean Journal of Philosophy 1(1) (2009).

6.    “Rethinking Development: The Need for Ethics in Development Theory and Practice.” Ciencia & Tropico 35(1) (2011):167-214.

7.    “Environmental Injustice in Africa.” Contemporary Pragmatism 9(1) (2012):99-132.

8.    “The Oromo Conception of Life: An Introduction.” World Views: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology 17(1) (2013):60-76.

9.    “The Potential Contribution of Love-Sex Songs to the Spread or Prevention of HIV/AIDS: The Case of the Oromo of Ethiopia.” Africa Development/ Afrique et Développement XXXVIII (3 and 4) (2013):33-95.

10.   “Indigenous Knowledge and Its Contribution to Biodiversity Conservation.” International Social Science Journal64   (211-212) (2013):143-152.

11.   “Can African Environmental Ethics Contribute to Environmental Policy in Africa?” Environmental Ethics 36(1) (2014):31-61.

12.   “Technology and the Environment: Introductory Remarks for this Session.” Journal of Philosophical Research (2015):249–250.

13.  “African Environmental Ethics, Indigenous Knowledge, and Environmental Challenges.” Environmental Ethics 37(4) (2015):387-410.

14.  “Climate Ethics and Policy in Africa.” Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya 7(2) (2015):41-84.

15.  “Environmental Philosophy in African Traditions of Thought.” Environmental Ethics 40(4) (2018):309-323.


1.     “Africa, Sub-Saharan,” in Callicott, J. Baird and Robert Frodeman (eds.).The Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy. Detroit, Michigan: Macmillan Reference, Gale, Volume 1, (2009), pp. 10-18.

2.    “Globalization and Localization,” in Chumakov, Alexander N, Ivan I. Mazour and William C. Gay (eds.).  Global Studies Encyclopedic Dictionary. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2014, pp. 237-239.


1.     Review of Africa’s Quest for a Philosophy of Decolonization, by Messay Kebede. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2004. Africa Development/ Afrique et Développement  XXXI (4) (2006):151-158.

2.    Environmental Ethics: A Very Short Introduction, By Robin Attfield. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.Pp. 137. The Philosophical Quarterly 2019.


1      “Foreign Influence and Its Impact on Ethiopian Philosophy,” Marcus, Harold G. (ed.). New Trends in Ethiopian Studies: Ethiopia 94; Papers of the Twelfth International Conference of Ethiopian Studies, Volume I. Michigan State University, 5-10 September. Lawrenceville, NJ.: Red Sea Press, 1994, pp. 440-450.

2     “Indigenous Environmental Ethics in Ethiopia,” in Fukui, Katsuyoshiet al. (eds.). Ethiopia in Broader Perspective: Papers of the XIIIth International Conference of Ethiopian Studies. Kyoto, 2-17 December, Volume III, Kyoto:  Shokado Book Sellers, 1997, pp. 264-303.

3.       “Globalisation and Indigenous Environmental Knowledge in Ethiopia,” in Assefa, Taye et al. (eds.). Globalisation, Democracy, and Development in Africa: Challenges and Prospects. Addis Ababa: Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA), 2001, pp. 275-306.

4.       “Logic in Ethiopian Philosophical and Sapiential Literature,” in Sumner, Claude and Samuel Wolde Yohannes (eds.). Perspectives in African Philosophy: An Anthology on “Preblematics of an African Philosophy: Twenty Years After (1976-1996).” Addis Ababa: Addis Ababa University Printing Press, 2002, pp. 108-122.

5.       “Indigenous and Modern Environmental Ethics: Towards Partnership,” in Presbey, Gail et al (eds.). Thought and Practice in African Philosophy: Selected Papers of the Sixth Annual Conference of the International Society for African Philosophy and Studies (ISAPS). Nairobi: Konrad Adenauer Foundation, 2002, pp. 47-61.

6.       “Dialogue among Civilisations and the Process of Globalisation,” in Moazami, Bahman and Rassouli, Navid (eds.). Collection of Papers of the International Conference on Dialogue among Civilizations from the View Point of Young People. Tehran: Alhuda International Publishers and Distributors, 2004, pp. 91-141.

7.       “Can Oral Traditions be the Sources of Philosophy?” in Bagershahi, Ali Nagi (ed.).Islamic Philosophy and Western Philosophies: The Papers Presented at the Second World Congress on Mulla Sadra (May 2004, Iran) Vol. 2. Tehran: Sadra Islamic Philosophy Research Institute (SIPRIN) Publications, 2006, pp. 345-358.

8.  “Réhabiliter l’éthique environnementale indiegène,” in Hountondji, Paulin (ed.). La  rationalité , une ou plurielle? Dakar: CODESRIA, 2007, pp. 379-412.

9.     “Oral Traditions, African Philosophical Methods and their Contributions to Education and Our Global Knowledge,” in Ames, Roger T and Peter D. Hershock (eds.). Educations and   Their Purposes: A Philosophical Dialogue Among Cultures. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2008, pp. 291-309.

10.   “The Dialogue of Cultural Traditions, Ethics, and Public Service,” in Sweet, William et al. (eds.). The Dialogue of Cultural Traditions: A Global Perspective. Washington, D.C.: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2008, pp. 352-362.

11.   “African Philosophy of Sex and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic,” in Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy. Volume 28. Philosophy in Africa:  Contemporary Issues, 2008, pp. 93-119.

12.    “African Philosophy of Sex and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic,” in Yan, Jinfen and David Schrader, (eds.). Creating a Global Dialogue on Value Inquiry: Papers from the XXII World Congress of Philosophy (Rethinking Philosophy Today). Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2009, pp.349-391.

13.   “Climate Change Impacts and Planning in Africa,” in Gow, M. Kathryn (ed.). Meltdown: Climate Change, Natural Disasters and Other Catastrophes – Fears and Concerns of the Future. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, 2009, pp. 247-267.

14.      “Indigenous Environmental Philosophy,” in Garfield, Jay and William Edelglass (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 574-581.

15.     “Environmental Injustice in Africa,” in McDonald, Hugh P. (ed.).  Pragmatism and Environmentalism. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2012, pp. 99-132.

16.     “The Value of Compassion and Forgiveness: the African Experience,” in Alam, Edward (ed.). Compassion and Forgiveness: Religious and Philosophical Perspectives From Around the World. Louaize: Notre Dame University Press, 2013, pp. 95-156.

17.     “Principles of Western Bioethics and the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Africa,” in Sweet, William, George F. McLean, Oliva Blanchette and Wonbin Park (eds.). Philosophy Emerging from Culture. Washington, D.C.: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2013, pp. 43-70.

18.     “Economic Growth, Human Well-Being and the Environment,” in Ames, Roger T. and Peter D. Hershock (eds.). Value and Values: Economics and Justice in an Age of Global Interdependence. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2015, pp. 351-374.

19.     “Environmental Ethics and Environmental Philosophy,” in Funk, Michael (Hg.). ‘Transdisziplinär’ ‘Interkulturell’. Würzburg: Verlag Königshausen & Neumann GmbH, 2015, pp. 401-424.

20.    “Religious Pluralism, Tolerance, and Public Culture in Africa,” in Hogan, John P. and Hassan Akhlaq (eds.). The Sacred and the Secular: Complementary or Conflictual in Global Times. Washington, D.C.: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2017, pp. 471-497.

21.     “The Moral Status and Well-Being of Animals in the Oromo Culture,” in Ebert, Rainer and AntenehRoba (eds.). Africa and Its Animals. Johannesburg: University of South Africa Press, 2017, pp. 129-144.

22.    Kelbessa, Workineh and Rainer Ebert. “The African University and the Moral Status of Non-human Animals,” in Ebert, Rainer and Anteneh Roba (eds.). Africa and Its Animals. Johannesburg: University of South Africa Press, 2017, pp. 67-81.

23.    “Africa and the Philosophy of Sexuality,”in Afolayan, Adeshina and Toyin Falola (eds.). Palgrave Hand Book of African Philosophy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, pp. 371-389.

24.    “Early and Later Sino-African Contacts,” in Collected Papers of the International Confucian Forum-Scheme of International Seminar in Colombo. Colombo: No Publisher was given, 2017, pp. 300-317.

25.    “Women and the Environment in Africa,” in Chimakonam, Jonathan O. (ed.). African Philosophy and Environmental Conservation. London and New York: Routledge, 2018, pp. 83-102.

26. “African Environmental Ethics and Confucian Environmental Ethics,” in the Proceedings of the International Conference in Honor of the 2570th Anniversary of Confucius & the Sixth Congress of the International Confucian Association. Beijing: International Confucian Association, 2019, pp. 8-27.

27.   “Water Ethics,” in Graness, Anke, Edwin Etieyibo and Franz Gmainer-Pranzl (eds.). African Philosophy in an Intercultural Perspective. Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler, 2020.

1.     Member of Cardiff University Alumni, 2001-

2.    Member of the Association of Ambo Comprehensive Senior Secondary School, Alumni, 2003-

3.    Member of the Education Committee of the Association of Ambo Comprehensive Senior Secondary School Alumni, 2011-2013.

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