Renowned and leading international think-tank, the Club of Rome (CoR), is set to hold its annual conference and global summit in Stellenbosch in November.
It is the first time that South Africa will host this prestigious group of notable scientists, economists, business people and former heads of state.
The CoR will host the summit in partnership with Stellenbosch University's Institute for Futures Research (IFR), the only such institute on the African continent.
The CoR gained recognition in 1972 with its first report The Limits to Growth, considered a classic in the sustainability movement and the first study to question the viability of continued growth in the human ecological footprint.
At the time the CoR predicted many of the global challenges we face today, but the think-tank has since moved beyond sounding the alarm nearly 50 years ago and is now asking tough questions about the appropriateness of the current paradigm and civilization patterns it has spawned.
With the summit held on African soil, it is appropriately themed Our Joint Futures – Lessons from Africa and will focus on four areas, all critical to the future of South Africa, the broader African continent, and the global community, namely: climate emergency, reclaiming and reframing economics, new models of finance and emerging new civilizations.
The global community needs to explore new ways of being human and new levels of consciousness about humanity's place in the planet with its limited resources. This requires deep thinking and mind-set change to enable better stewardship of our biosphere on behalf of future generations.
CoR co-president, Dr Mamphela Ramphele, says this summit comes at an opportune time for South Africa and the rest of the continent. “New thinking is required to solve our most complex problems. This summit will highlight the latest insights on new pathways for Africa and the global community."
But the summit will also learn from Africa, says Ramphele. “The ancient wisdom of Africa has much to offer the rest of the world. The essence of what it means to be African is to be human, in harmony with nature, and to recognize the humanity of others."
IFR Director, Dr Morné Mostert, said the IFR as a strategic foresight unit was formed immediately following The Limits to Growth report by the CoR.
Mostert, who will present a public lecture on African Futures, said “a long-term, systemic perspective is essential for the design of meaningful and innovative solutions to complex problems. The need to anticipate both the risk and opportunity of alternative trajectories for the planet and its people will be emphasized at this meeting of leading global thinkers."
The summit will take place at the Spier Wine Estate on 6 November 2019.
- The above article was written by Dr Morné Mostert, Director of the Institute for Futures Research, for Eikestad News and was published on 29 August 2019.
- Carousel photo by Jayden Sim on Unsplash.