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ESPAS Conference 2017

February 21, 2018

I spent an interesting two days in Brussels at the ESPAS annual conference ‘Global Trends to 2030: The Making of a New Geopolitical Order?’ on 22-23 November 2017. ESPAS is inter-institutional collaboration between the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European External Action Service, which aims to monitor global trends and offer strategic foresight to the EU’s decision-makers.

The focus this year was on Europe’s role in a new world order, and the conference’s accompanying publication: Shaping the Future of Geopolitics contains a rich collection of over 30 original, forward-looking, anticipatory essays from the speakers. These were from European institutions and also from external perspectives – Russia, Middle East, China, Brazil, USA, Australia, and representing Africa. As last year a star contributor was Aaron Maniam from Singapore. One session was titled “What if winter were coming? Is Europe prepared for the security challenges to come? Which the panellists all answered with “no”.

The second day explored soft and hard power in this context, through the lenses of international regulation, of an economically interdependent world, and the future of warfare..

Cat Tully of SOIF organised an interesting breakfast meeting to discuss the successes and challenges of applying foresight in organisations – I will circulate the results later – and she also chaired a spoof “ESPAS 2035” interview with the Secretary General of the new European Congress formed after BREXIN in 2029.

Additionally, Angela Wilkinson had been commissioned to write a ‘Strategic Foresight Primer’, an easy-to-use guide on strategic foresight, which was given to all delegates.

Videos and photos of the event are available on the ESPAS website and, if you are on twitter or medium, you can read more about the conference at #ESPAS17 and medium.com.

Written by Gill Ringland, SAMI Fellow Emeritus.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of SAMI Consulting.

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