By Nirvana Bhatia
MA Candidate, Human Rights
Josef Korbel School for International Studies
Ever wondered what the environment or the state of global poverty will look like in 50 years? How about a hundred?
That's what researchers at the University of Denver's Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures ponder on a daily basis. In debating issues of human progress that range from education to health care to population demands, they analyze global trends and contemplate what the world will look like for coming generations.
"We don't talk about predicting the future," Pardee Center Director Barry Hughes said. "But about alternative scenarios and how to get to the ones we prefer."
For years, students and faculty interested in global forecasting worked out of Hughes' cramped office, but that changed earlier this year with the completion of an annex to the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. The annex includes a conference room for training sessions and virtual discussions as well as a workspace for students.
"This is very unique,"Hughes said. "There are centers for short-term futures, but for long-term global issues, there is only one other center in the world, in the Netherlands."
Frederick Pardee is a former analyst who has funded centers for global forecasting at the Rand Center in California, Boston University, and now at the Josef Korbel School. Pardee remains connected to the center, checking in with Hughes frequently and actively supporting the center's goals. Those include recent collaborations with the U.S. National Intelligence Council and the United Nations Environment Programme.
The center is busy preparing five volumes forecasting global situations; the first two Reducing Global Poverty and Advancing Global Education already have been published with the help of Josef Korbel School doctoral students.
In addition to the package of Josef Korbel School classes in global forecasting, the center will be collaborating with the Master's in Development Practice, to be launched by the Josef Korbel School in 2010.
"This is important for everyone who makes decisions," Hughes said. "It's about where we're coming from and where we're going."
The center's new annex to the Josef Korbel School was dedicated Aug. 28.