The signing ceremony for the launch of the Global Futurist Society. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) has launched the Global Futurist Society to be headquartered at the Museum of the Future (MOTF), in collaboration with two leading organisations, creating an alliance that will establish Dubai’s MOTF as an epicentre for the world’s futurists and visionaries.

The Association of Professional Futurists and The Millennium Project became founding members of the Global Futurist Society after signing a collaboration agreement with DFF.

The agreement was signed during Dubai Future Forum 2022, the first edition of the world’s largest gathering of futurists, at the MOTF. The landmark partnership will pave the way for more collaborations and for other organisations to join the Global Futurist Society in the coming months.

The MOU signing took place in the presence of Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, vice chairman of the Board of Trustees and managing director of Dubai Future Foundation; Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications; and Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of DFF.

What will it do?

The Global Futurist Society headquarter at the MOTF creates a physical centre for international and cross-border dialogue on how nations, private enterprise, entrepreneurs and citizens can navigate and work towards building a positive and responsible future for humanity. It will harness the knowledge and expertise of local and global networks and members of the constituent parties to shape practices in future foresight and horizon scanning, while identifying cross-border trends which can be shaped, mitigated and capitalised upon.

The Global Futurist Society is special in that it enables previously siloed groups to deepen cross-border collaboration and cooperation on areas of common interest. It will also leverage the Museum of the Future to be where discussions regarding the future are anchored. Moreover, it will become the single largest collective of futurists, researchers, planners and analysts, leveraging perspectives from all regions of the world to create a truly global perspective of the future.

Incubator for future designers

Al Gergawi said: “The MOTF will be an incubator for global institutions, experts and all those interested in imaging and designing the future. It will provide an innovative, integrated ecosystem to promote global dialogues and collaborations between different parties around all future-related topics, trends, insights and transformations without any limitation to human creative thinking and imagination flow.”

“Global partnerships announced at the Dubai Future Forum represent a key milestone for the MOTF. They will contribute towards its goals of foreseeing and planning the future. These partnerships mark another achievement for the UAE’s ongoing contribution to shaping and creating a promising, prosperous future for humanity,” he added.

Collaborative efforts

Shermon Cruz, Chair, Association of Professional Futurists, said: “Global interest and impact of foresight, in many different ways, has heightened all over the world. The commitment to expand the understanding and use of foresight requires a global, dynamic and collaborative effort. The partnership between the Association of the Professional Futurists and the Dubai Future Foundation aims to nurture that commitment.”

Jerome C. Glenn, co-founder and CEO of The Millennium Project said: “The acceleration of global change and interdependency requires global futures research to improve the prospects for humanity; therefore, The Millennium Project – a global participatory think tank – is very pleased to participate in the founding of the Global Future Society a great initiative of the DFF.”

Joint research, knowledge sharing

DFF on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF) and Public Sector Foresight Network (PSFN) to define pathways for future collaboration, joint research and knowledge-sharing opportunities.

The MoU is part of DFF’s strategy to establish a robust network of knowledge partners and futures practitioners to collaboratively identify humankind’s most pressing challenges, and asserting a coordinated effort to preemptively enable governments, private enterprises and the broader society to understand and navigate such challenges.

Under the MOU, parties will work towards defining concrete points of collaboration, be this as a member of the Global Future Society or on a bilateral basis, where each party will define specific collaborative initiatives leveraging knowledge, networks and impact of each party.

Collective, united actions

Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of DFF, said: “The future belongs to all humanity. This means we need collective, coordinated and united actions from myriad local, regional and global players to create solutions for the future. As such, we are pleased to enter into these MOUs with the WFSF and the PSFN, and we look forward to working together to bring our knowledge, people and views on the future into opportunities for a brighter tomorrow.”

“We will remain focused and committed to creating a knowledge-driven economy that nurtures talent and stimulates innovation. We have signed significant agreements with local and global strategic partners in recent months and today’s agreement is another step on our journey to position Dubai as the pioneering city of the future,” he continued

Dr Erik Overland, president of WFSF said: “Futures reasoning is about experimenting with your futures expectations in systematic and innovative ways. In this sense we are thrilled and excited about a possible collaboration between the DFF and the WFSF.”

A non-governmental organisation and an advisory partner to UNESCO and the United Nations, WFSF seeks to mobilise future-oriented academics, researchers, experts, students and institutions to explore and exchange ideas, visions and plans for a future shaped by holistic and rationale thought, ultimately leading to fundamental change.

Promoting foresight

Dr Clem Bezold, co-founder of PSFN said: “Interest in using foresight at all levels of government and in nearly all regions of the world has grown. The PSFN supports those who work for or with governments to spread knowledge of foresight use and best practices. We applaud the DFF for its initiative in creating the Global Futures Society to promote foresight and enhance networking among foresight groups.”

PSFN is an association intended to provide those involved in foresight for public sector organisations around the world the opportunity to share their aspirations, work, methods, experiences, and results.