Global Challenges Foundation

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Global Challenges Foundation
FounderLászló Szombatfalvy
PurposeGlobal catastrophic risks
HeadquartersStockholm, Sweden

The Global Challenges Foundation is a Swedish non-profit organization that seeks to raise awareness of global catastrophic risk and the global governance necessary to handle these risks. This includes examining models for UN reform, as well as initiating new ideas for a functioning global governance.[1][2] It was founded in 2012 with a donation by the Swedish- Hungarian billionaire László Szombatfalvy.[3][4]


The foundation is based in Stockholm. Its board members include Johan Rockström, and the fourth AP Fund's former CEO Mats Andersson.[5] The foundation's assets predominantly consist of a donation from László Szombatfalvy, which represented roughly half of his fortune at the time—around 500 million Swedish kronor.[4] The current executive director is Jens Orback.

Risk awareness[edit]

Global Challenges Foundation is working to raise awareness of global catastrophic risks, currently primarily climate change, other environmental degradation, and political violence focusing on weapons of mass destruction. In order to do this at both the public and the decision-making levels, the Global Challenges Foundation is closely cooperating with a number of institutions, including the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University.[6]

Another risk-related project driven by the Global Challenges Foundation, along with Earth League, is Earth Statement. The climate call aims at reducing the gap between science and politics, and has formulated eight points on which the world's decision-makers need to agree to achieve a successful climate agreement at COP21. Earth Statement has been signed by Al Gore, Desmond Tutu, Mo Ibrahim, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Yuan T. Lee and Mary Robinson.[7]

Global Challenges Foundation gave support to the Stockholm School of Economics for a new track – Global Challenges. The course is included in the Bachelor program in Business and Economics.[8]

The Global Challenges Foundation conducts international risk surveys[9] and publishes annual reports on global risks,[10] interspersed with quarterly reports[11] that look at various aspects of global catastrophic risk and global governance. For example, the 2016 annual report estimates that an average American is more than five times likely to die during a human extinction event than in a car crash.[12][13] The 2017 report highlighted a broad range of security related topics, among them climate change, and concluded that global warming has a high likelihood to end civilization.[14]

The New Shape Prize[edit]

In November 2016, the Global Challenges Foundation launched the Global Challenges Prize – A New Shape, an international competition that calls on people of academia, politics, business and civil society worldwide for proposals that outline new models of global governance. It offered $5 Million in prizes with the best entry receiving at least $1 million. The foundation would then back efforts to bring the winning ideas towards implementation.[15][16][17] The award ceremony took place at the end of May 2018 in Stockholm.[18]


  1. ^ Stuart Dredge (18 February 2015). "Artificial intelligence and nanotechnology 'threaten civilisation'". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Global Challenges Foundation - About the Global Challenges Foundation". Archived from the original on 2019-04-30. Retrieved 2017-07-02.
  3. ^ J. Nastranis (6 February 2017). "A Swedish Billionaire Invites Ideas for a New UN". IDN-InDepthNews. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b Andreas Cervenka (23 March 2013). "Han skänker halv miljard". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Global Challenges Foundation - The Board". Retrieved 2023-09-13.[dead link]
  6. ^ Laurie Goering (23 May 2017). "8 in 10 people now see climate change as a 'catastrophic risk': survey". Reuters. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Global Challenges Foundation - Earthstatement". Archived from the original on 2019-04-30. Retrieved 2017-07-02.
  8. ^ "Global Challenges for the makers of the future". Stockholm School of Economics. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Global Challenges Foundation - Surveys on Global Catastrophic Risks". Archived from the original on 2019-04-30. Retrieved 2017-07-02.
  10. ^ "Global Challenges Foundation - Annual Reports on Global Risk". Archived from the original on 2019-04-30. Retrieved 2017-07-02.
  11. ^ "Global Challenges Foundation - Quarterly Reports". Archived from the original on 2019-04-30. Retrieved 2017-07-02.
  12. ^ Robinson Meyer (April 29, 2016). "Human Extinction Isn't That Unlikely". The Atlantic. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  13. ^ "Global Challenges Foundation website". Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  14. ^ Ian Johnston (23 May 2017). "Seven in 10 Brits support 'world government' to protect humanity from global catastrophes". The Independent. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  15. ^ Laurie Goering (24 November 2016). "Want to solve global crises? $5 million prize seeks fresh ideas". Reuters. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  16. ^ Angus Chen (18 March 2017). "Win $1 Million For Your Bright Idea To Fix The World". NPR. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  17. ^ Zhao Siyuan (6 June 2017). "Beating the norm". China Daily. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  18. ^ Mark Leon Goldberg (8 September 2017). "How Can the International Community Do Hurricane Response Better?". UN Dispatch. Retrieved 11 September 2017.

External links[edit]