Online Centre for Pedagogical Resources in Futures Studies

The Online Centre for Pedagogical Resources in Futures Studies is a joint project between the World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF) and UNESCO.

It is affiliated with the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT), California State University.

Project Coordinator: Dr. Jennifer GIDLEY (President 2009-2013, WFSF) Email Contact:

Project Development Team: Dr. Jennifer GIDLEY (President, WFSF), Jonathon RICHTER, Tom LOMBARDO


What is the World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF)?

The WFSF emerged from the ideas and pioneering work of such persons as Igor Bestuzhev-Lada, Bertrand de Jouvenel, Johan Galtung, Robert Jungk, Eleonora Masini, John and Magda McHale and others who in the 1960s conceived of the concept of futures studies at the global level. This resulted in the organization of the first International Futures Research Conference in Oslo, Norway, in September 1967, for which Mankind 2000 was responsible in cooperation with the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo, and the Institut für Zukunftsfragen. A Continuing Committee was created, with headquarters in Paris.

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The Aim of the WFSF-UNESCO Project

The aim of the Online Centre for Pedagogical Resources in Futures Studies is to develop an interactive global repository that will act as a hub to gather, store and interlink the diversity of futures pedagogical resources being created globally (including school, undergraduate, graduate, professional and lifelong learning). The project encourages participation and collaboration from all players in the ongoing establishment and development of the futures field, particularly through furthering access to leading-edge pedagogical research and practice.

What is Futures Studies?

Although thinking about the future has always been a part of human culture (e.g., soothsayers, prophets, and later 'utopians') it has only been in the past four to five decades that it has produced the academic research field known as Future Studies. The WFSF uses the plural term “futures” studies rather than the singular “future” studies to counter the notion that there is only one future the latter having both conceptual limitations and political implications. This pluralisation of futures opens up the territory for envisioning and creating alternative and preferred futures.

While it is commonly thought that futures studies is an attempt to predict the future based on extrapolation from present day trends, this is only one of at least five epistemological approaches to futures research described below.

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WFSF Teaching Commons

The WFSF Online Centre for Pedagogical Resources in Futures Studies exemplifies the The Carnegie Foundation'sidea of a "teaching commons" in which a community of professionals committed to enhancing the scholarship of teaching and learning can exchange ideas, best practices, discuss policy changes, and promote pedagogical innovations for their students.

The idea of a Teaching [COMMONS] is not new to academia. Faculty engaged in scientific research and disciplinary scholarship have long enjoyed collegial interactions and gained professional recognition through their participation in conferences and symposia, but teaching has remained for the most part an isolated and private activity. What is also unique about this project is that it is transdisciplinary and thus has the potential to provide rich links "between the disciplines, across the different disciplines, and beyond all discipline" (Nicolescu, 2002).

A CSU-MERLOT Partnership:  CSU [COMMONS] faculty can gain access to peer reviewed digital learning materials in their disciplines available through the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT). MERLOT ( was created in 1997 by the CSU to help faculty and students share high quality online content and pedagogy. Under the CSU's leadership, MERLOT has grown to an international consortium of education institutions, professional societies, digital libraries, and corporations.


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WFSF Conferences 2009

5th European Futurists Conference: Lucerne October 14th - 16th, 2009

The European Futurists Conference Lucerne (EFCL) aims to be the foremost annual gathering of futurists, analysts and decision makers with long-term perspectives working with scientific methods for futures studies in Europe. It is dedicated to the professional needs of futurists AND long-term decision makers in Europe.