Peaceful Futures Manifesto

The Power of Speculative Storytelling and What You Will Find in This Manifesto

by Thays Prado

The Peaceful Futures Manifesto is a spin-off product of the Peaceful Futures Initiative created by eleven NGFP members imagining a world where peace had been achieved by the year 2075. The idea of co-creating a Manifesto emerged from NGFP’s commitment to holding safe spaces for young foresight practitioners to feel comfortable expressing their views – and, ultimately, have their voices properly heard and included in futures and foresight projects. Storytelling is a powerful tool to accomplish this.

This is why we invited some of our network members with peace-related expertise from various parts of the world to participate in speculative storytelling workshops. The combination of their foresight experience, professional expertise – on climate, food systems, nuclear security, international development, art, games, and education – and personal backgrounds resulted in an inspiring collection of fiction stories that make up the Peaceful Futures Manifesto.

We find that the best approach to learn from speculative storytelling exercises is a fine balance between an open heart to receive the story as is, and a sharp mind to navigate through layers of meaning and find the gems that point us in a certain direction. Besides the beautiful imaginaries shared by the authors with the readers, the Peaceful Futures Manifesto indicates important drivers of change, plays with weak signals, warns us about the consequences of our present choices, calls attention to potential pitfalls on the ways of building peace, and inspires us towards exciting solutions.

As editors of the Manifesto, we had the privilege to spend quite some time with each of these stories and reflect about some precious insights that they offer to the audience, and we wanted to share them with you. This is by no means an exhaustive list and we know that every reader will be able to articulate new meanings in this wonderful mosaic of pathways towards a peace-based world. 

1. Things will get much worse before they get better:

The way we are currently operating as humanity will take us to an intensification of war, conflict, military interventions, climate disasters, waves of forced migration, food scarcity, and the destruction of ecosystems. Only then, those who survive will make appropriate paradigm shifts and collective efforts to build a peaceful world. How about we avoid going down this track and begin to co-create solutions now?

2. There will be failed attempts and pitfalls on our way to peace:

As we already experienced in the past, some attempts of achieving peace may be flawed. Be it because they are based on individualistic perspectives, or because they are too reliant on technology alone. It seems that much more than just goodwill will be needed to build a new sustainable peace-based system. And a question remains – who gets to decide what a peace-based world looks like? How can we redistribute power, so that this decision is truly democratic?

3. Local is the new global:

Peace can only be achieved through listening exercises and more localised, decentralised, and horizontal governance models. Values-based and self-organised communities eager for reconnection and belonging will host meaningful conversations to understand different needs and perspectives, find ways to heal the past, establish multi stakeholder partnerships, and co-create horizontal bottom-up resolutions.

4. Art and social media as peacebuilding tools:

However technology evolves our artistic and communications processes and outputs, art and media will always be powerful tools for the co-creation of effective solutions. Mastering the best ways of using them will be extremely important to experiment with ideas that can then be scalable and influence the collective hearts and mind towards the right direction.

5. Intergenerational decision making is a must:

New systems need to be designed to truly incorporate the voices of children and youth throughout the decision making process. Humanity must realise that considering intergenerational perspectives is not a “nice to have”, but the smartest and the most ethical thing to do. New generations’ unique knowledge and ways of thinking and doing are essential elements to our process of reinventing ourselves.

6. Reconnection to ancestral ways of knowing as a means to move forward:

Indigenous knowledge throughout the world is a source of wisdom and the missing piece for humanity to reconnect with the whole of nature and recover our sense of belonging to the interdependence of life. Metaphysical ways of accessing these are an option in a world that destroyed many of the material records of ancestral knowledge.

7. Interspecies communications and learning are a lived reality:

Humans realise that the planet does not revolve around us. Technology imitates nature and is a great enabler for humans to observe, be inspired by, and learn from other living beings. It seems that trees are particularly great teachers to humans as we figure out new ways of living.

8. A new global interspecies treaty is on the way:

Peace must be collectively defined and agreed upon. But a new global conflict resolution and peace agreement will only be effectively achieved through the legal representation of all species and a transformative approach which includes their needs and interests at its core.

9. Peace should never be taken for granted:

Peace is not a static condition to be achieved, but an attitude each of us need to constantly be committed to. Conflicts of interest are not going away and we must not be naive about what the effort it takes to resolve them in an effective way. What unites people and other living beings in such endeavour is an outcome that proves itself more satisfying than the ones which privilege some and exclude most others. Peace demands constant vigilance, reassessment, and strategies to put the system back on track. Otherwise, there will always be a risk of everything being lost again.

Enjoy the reading and, please, let us know your thoughts. Have you noticed anything else? Does any of these stories speak closer to your heart? What inspirations can you put in practice in your community? We would love to hear from you as we continue to evolve our Peacebuilding-related work through our NGFP Global Challenges.

Want to get involved in this kind of project? Here are some options for you:

  • These stories are under the Creative Commons licence and designed to inspire and provoke. Feel free to use and share them in your own context to start conversations and challenge assumptions. If we are to build a peaceful world, we need as many people as possible reflecting about this.
  • Our storytellers are open to share more about their process and vision behind the stories, answer questions, and participate in live peacebuilding-related discussions. Want to explore this possibility? Write to 
  • If you work with young changemakers and activists who would like to use futures and foresight to expand their voice and impact, please share the NGFP Fellowship opportunity with them! Applications to join our 2023 cohort are now open!
  • Have other ideas? Contact us and join SOIF’s and NGFP’s efforts, as we continue to build our peacebuilding-related foresight practice to transform the world.
  • Thays Prado is a Brazilian Screenwriter and Documentary Filmmaker, currently living in Portugal. One of her greatest passions is to facilitate co-creative storytelling workshops and expand the collective imagination about a world where everyone thrives for being their authentic selves.