What is the future of global cooperation?

The future of global institutions. Irene Corletto CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. SOIF Summer Retreat 2022.
Artwork by Irene Coletto. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

During the five-day SOIF Summer Retreat, held in the south of England in August, the participants took part in a ‘Live Challenge’ to anticipate the futures of global cooperation. The challenge was set by the Rockefeller Foundation. The Live Challenge is a distinctive part of our Retreat design. During the week Retreat participants apply their futures learning to the challenge before presenting their findings back to the ‘client’.

Rockefeller Foundation wants to reimagine global institutions as problem-solving tools that can respond to emerging challenges. They’re also interested in improving these institutions, so they work for a fairer world. In other words, this was also a normative challenge. Rockefeller wants to know how to redesign global institutions, so they foster collective action, change power structures and build capacity through networks.

Visions of global institutions

At the end of the week, the participants shared their visions of global institutions in 2050. Here are four things we learned from their presentations:

  • The common thread in all the presentations was that global co-operation in 2050 will have representatives from all corners of the world, including young people and other marginalised voices.
  • Technology will help in this. Effective use of digital platforms could make co-operation in 2050 much more open and more democratic. It will also be more imaginative.
  • In this turn, this creates a need for ethical uses of technology and new methods to ensure transparency and accountability.
  • Successful global co-operation requires future leaders to focus on making decisions that are fair for both present and future generations. They’ll also invest in innovative methods for societal transformation.  

The participants presented their visions of the future global institution in creative ways. Some made the audience close their eyes; others hosted a talk show in 2050. Global institutions are mostly taken for granted, but Rockefeller sees their potential to be architects for positive change. This was borne out by the work of the participants at the Retreat.

Our thanks to Rockefeller Foundation both for agreeing to set this year’s Live Challenge and for their close involvement in the process.

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