The Millennium Project European Nodes Combine Forces with the European Regional Foresight College

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The Millennium Project Nodes in Europe have joined forces with the European Regional Foresight College for improving futures research thinking and practice across Europe and globally. The Millennium Project Nodes are groups of institutions, individuals, and networks that connect local and global perspectives for improving thinking about the future and making better decisions today.

A joint meeting of the European Millennium Project Nodes Initiative (EuMPI) and the European Regional Foresight College (ERFC) was held May 9, 2012 in Brussels, Belgium, under Philippe Destatte's chairmanship. The result was the decision to combine their efforts to strengthen European foresight networking and to contribute to the convergence of foresight methods and practices across Europe.

The European Regional Foresight College (ERFC) was founded in April 2004, via the Land Planning and Regional Action Delegation of the French Republic (DATAR). The objectives of the ERFC are to create a community of competencies, concepts, methods and practices in regional foresight, and to contribute to the collective learning of all regional actors in foresight by providing information about high-level European foresight experiences.

The first years of the ERFC were dedicated to drawing up a foresight glossary. Since its foundation, it has organized a dozen seminars in Paris, three residential seminars in Étiolles (Évry), and contributed to two Foresight Summer Universities in Lille. Since 2009, the European Regional Foresight College has adopted the legal status of an NGO and is working on a program called Foresight 2.0., in order to initiate a search for innovative and creative components in a new generation of foresight. Two reviews of field experiences have been organized in 2009 and 2011, in San Sebastián (Spain) about the Gipuzkoa experience, and in Genval (Belgium) about the foresight experience of Wallonia.

The EuMPI has been created in order to structure networking among European Future Knowledge centers participating as "Nodes" to The Millennium Project. The decision took place during the Millennium Project Planning Committee organized in San Francisco on July 18, 2003 The European Regional Foresight College was officially launched on November 21st of that year, at the European Parliament, in Brussels. The EuMPI organized "The Futures of Europeans in the Global Knowledge Society" conference in Louvain-la-Neuve, April 13-14, 2005 in partnership with the European Commission's DG Research and the support of the European Investment Bank.

Futurists attending the May 9, 2012 meeting in Brussels came from public and private research centres, companies, and universities from Germany, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Montenegro, Slovenia, Azerbaijan, and Belgium (Wallonia). The General Assembly of the European Regional Foresight College has renewed its board, now composed of Günter Clar (Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, Stuttgart), Philippe Destatte (The Destree Institute, Namur, and Paris-Diderot University), Bla┼ż Golob (CeGD-SEE Ljubljana), Reyhan Huseynova (Western University, Baku), Helen von Reibnitz (Scenario+Vision, Vence), Karlheinz Steinmüller (Z_punkt, Berlin), Gerda Roeleveld (DELTARES, Nijmegen), Michaël Van Cutsem (The Destrée Institute, Namur), Ibon Zugasti (Prospektiker, Donastia - San Sebastián). Ibon Zugasti has been elected as new president of the European Regional Foresight College, Hélène von Reibnitz as vice-president, and Michaël Van Cutsem as secretary.

Closing the meeting, Ibon Zugasti expressed his satisfaction with the decision of the EuMPI members to join the ERFC network and to start a new era in foresight networking in Europe. The new president paid tribute to Philippe Destatte, General Director of The Destrée Institute and Board Member of The Millennium Project, for chairing the European Regional Foresight College during eight years and for his contribution to the development of foresight in Europe.

Following the invitation of the local authorities and foresight actors, the next meeting of the ERFC will be held in Ljubljana on September 19, 2012, just before the Ljubljana Forum on the Future of Cities. For this occasion, the Danube Strategy and the Western Balkan collective intelligence system initiative will be analyzed. The ERFC is also developing its regular activities as a virtual network.

The Millennium Project was established in 1996 as the first global futures research think tank. It conducts independent futures research via its 40 Nodes around the world that connect global and local perspectives. Nodes are groups of individuals and institutions that pick the brains of their region and feedback the global results. The Millennium Project is supported by UN organizations, multinational corporations, universities, foundations, and national governments.

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Jerome Glenn
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