International Futures Conference in South Africa

Major International Conference on"Potential Opportunities of the Future Studies"( was held from November 5 - 8, 2007 in South Africa (South African Republic), at the University of Stellenbosh bythe initiative and with close involvement of the Millennium Project ( Project is a transinstitutional, international non-governmentalorganization dedicated to the research of the future research within 15 GlobalChallenges facing humanity. The annual report on "The State of theFuture" is the main outcome of the Millennium Project research. 

Conference: "Potential Opportunities of theFutures Research" focused on the practical side of the research of thefuture to realize the idea of building the institutional capacity forsustainable development at both public and private levels. 

The main purpose of the conference was to identifyimportant link between research and the future of different problems(challenges), faced by humanity. Conference sought to answer the question: How,in practice, discipline of research of the future affects the growth,development and improvement of the human condition? Are the "Opportunitiesfor the research of the future", as of an organized system of collectingand processing the information on the future for timely adoption of measures inresponse to an unwanted future, would be important to Knowledge Society and for"the future embodied in the present day". The topic of the Conferenceintended three aspects of the debate - Adjustment tools and skills of thefuture research for: 
• "abilities to prospect future" 
• achieve sustainable development 
• By linking the issues of improving the humancondition with the structures and processes of decision-making andpolicy-making. 

The conference, organized by the South AfricanMillennium Project Office, was attended by about 125 experts, professors,researchers and practitioners from different areas of the public and privatesectors, representing various countries around the world. Among the delegatesand speakers were Professor Jerome Glenn from the United States, director ofthe Millennium Project and co-author of "The State of the Future",annual report, Professor Jose Cordeiro – head of Venezuelan Millennium ProjectOffice, Professor Bruce Lloyd - head of the British Office of the MillenniumProject, Professor Pavel Novacek, head of Czech Millennium Project Office,Professor David Harris, head of the Canadian Millennium Project Office,Professor Mohan Tikku - head of Indian Millennium Project Office, ProfessorNick Segal from South Africa, as well as many other researchers and practices.The conference was partly sponsored by the Embassy of Finland in South Africa,where future research is put to a very serious base with relevant governmentstructures at the level of ministries working closely with the private sectoron the range of the issues. In this regard, special guest and speaker at theconference was the Ambassador of Finland to South Africa, Mr. Heikki Tunanen,who stressed the "vital necessity of the futures research for sustainabledevelopment of humanity in all areas of life and environmental security."In addition, the ambassador said that it was necessary for the Finnishembassies accredited in all countries to establish a close relationship withthe Millennium Project Offices for further cooperation. 

Azerbaijan at the Conference was represented bytwo delegates: professor Reyhan Huseynova, the head of the AzerbaijaniMillennium Project Office (Future Studies Society), who delivered a report onthe impact of gender and the changing status of women on the future socialtrends and Samir Gasimov, from the Azerbaijan Millennium Project Office, withthe report on the international legal mechanisms for building institutionalstructure of futures research for sustainable development. 

3-days conference "Potential Opportunities ofthe Future Research" has completed its work with specific proposals ofvarious mechanisms and tools of the research of the future and institutionbuilding to provide sustainable development and desired future.