The Peaceful Futures project was initiated by four organisations: VZOR Lab, Global Education Futures, School of International Futures (SOIF), and Next Generation Foresight Practitioners (NGFP). It explores principles and methods for the establishment of a global peace-based civilization. The intention of this project was to experiment with ways that futures and strategic foresight can play in supporting the peacebuilding sector – in supporting community peacebuilders to have an opportunity to think about the long term (as well as immediate emergency and conflict), to support diplomacy processes and multilateral agencies to think about the future of peacebuilding in a world where the nature and causes of conflict are continuing to shift and evolve, and using foresight processes as a facilitation tool that enable parties on different sides of conflict to come together.
This project intentionally brought together a set of intergenerational perspectives of: foresight practitioners with lived experience of conflict, those with direct experience of peacebuilding – both at community and diplomacy levels, and foresight practitioners with experience of driving system transformation.
Through a series of workshops held between June and December 2022, a global group of participants from over 30 countries were invited to dream about the possibility of a peaceful future, and imagine the conditions that would need to be in place for the achievement of global peace within half a century – less than a human being’s lifetime. During the workshops, we explored trends, drivers of change, and ideas that can help prevent wars and establish a peace-based world through culture, education and future thinking. We also activated participants’ hivemind and asked them to map and share existing best practices and opportunities available to social entrepreneurs, artists, educators, and changemakers to advance peace.
The findings of this first stage of the Peaceful Futures project were organized into the Peaceful Futures White Paper and Roadmap by VZOR Lab and Global Education Futures, with the support of the Ecocivilization movement and the Future Worlds Center.
Results also inspired NGFP, VZOR Lab, and Global Education Futures to organise storytelling workshops with 11 NGFP members with various peacebuilding-related areas of expertise to create fiction stories of a peace-based world 50 years from now. These stories are designed to be provocations, not as realistic predictions. They demonstrate the concerns and hopes of their authors, and together surface a collective of insights and actions that must be taken to shape the course of the future.