The proposed International Foresight Academy is the first organization to bind together Foresight activities around the globe and from contrasting cultural and political contexts. As the Mapping Report of the European Foresight Monitoring Network (2009) has documented, Foresight is used differently in various regions of the world. Foresight activities vary according to sponsors and customers, methods used, topics explored, actors involved etc. They vary also with regard to their functions in political strategy formulation of modern democracies.
During the past 30 years in Europe, Foresight has become an unconventional means of political priority setting and strategic decision making that affect a wide set of societal stakeholders. The added value of foresight is seen in the shared goals and visions among a group of participating actors from different sectors, the development of networks, and the combination of relevant information on current trends and future developments with actor-based information and attitudes. Many foresight practitioners value the possibility granted by foresight exercises to bring topics on the political agenda that need to be discussed not behind closed doors but with broad public involvement.
The proposal for the IFA consists two parts: a research part dedicated to the issue of FS as a format of participation in different democratic traditions; and a second part that manages the networking of the partners doing research on the FS field with regard to democracy and participation. The network will involve activities such as mutual exchange among the partners, summer/winter schools for early stage researchers, seminars and academic workshops. The outreach of some of these activities will address additional actors as well, e.g. stakeholders, organizers, practitioners of FS exchanging knowledge in the envisaged conferences.
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