Trento hosted an International Workshop on "Anticipation, Agency and Complexity" and the first meeting of Italian futures researchers and practitioners
The International Workshop on Anticipation, Agency and Complexity took place in Trento from 6 to 8 April 2017 at the department of sociology. The event was organized by the UNESCO Chair in Anticipatory Systems, in collaboration with WAAS-World Academy of Art and Science e WUC-World University Consortium. Among the fifty participants, various prominent personalities of academia, business sector and international institutions took part to the workshop, including Elizabet Paunovic (Head of WHO European Centre for Environment and Health), Riel Miller (UNESCO, foresight), Donato Kiniger-Passigli (Head of the Fragile States and Disaster Response Group at the ILO) and Emil Constantinescu (President of Romania from 1996 to 2000), sharing their common interest in Futures Studies, a relatively new branch of social sciences that faces issues of utmost priority and importance, such as environmental safety, social inclusion, education, health and ageing.
Social foresight aims to identify the social priorities of the next decades through the analysis of continuities and changes, in order to provide useful elements to address present strategic decisions, despite the increasing complexity and uncertainty that seem to pervade the current world. As Garry Jacobs, director of the World Academy of Art & Science, pointed out, the future «is a compelling force that pull us in a specific direction», which is able to free us from social determinism, rooted in the past.
«The future - suggests Roberto Poli, UNESCO Chair in Anticipatory Systems- is becoming a common topic in every scientific and political speech, as well in debates on current issues such as the economic crisis, food security and the climate change. Communities tend to rely less on traditional perspectives to solve those problems, as their effectiveness to address the emerging challenges seem limited. Anticipation is becoming a necessary practice for companies, institutions, communities and individuals. However, scientific research has not been able to keep up with our society’s needs».
The workshop also provided the opportunity to create the first network of Italian futurists. Human and social foresight experts working in Italy presented their activities and contributed to shape a national professional network.
The University of Trento represents a landmark for Social foresight in Italy, and hosts the UNESCO Chair on anticipatory systems. The local research environment offers numerous initiatives, including the unique master degree in Social Foresight (applications to the fourth edition are now open) and a start-up company namely –skopìa focused on strategic intelligence and consulting services for the development of anticipatory-based skills.