World Future Society
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The World Future Society (WFS), founded in 1966, is a community of futurists and future thinkers. Through publications, global summits, and advisory roles to world leaders in business and government, WFS members are credited with establishing the foundations of futures studies. Notable members and authors have included Buckminster Fuller, Herman Kahn, Gene Roddenberry, and Margaret Mead.
In 2018, World Future Society reestablished itself as World Future Society Presents LLC, d/b/a World Future Society®. Within the WFS membership community, the organization hosts ongoing projects, conversations, and events focused around topics including the future of human purpose, how we manage our societal systems, emerging technology, AI, and advances in education and neuroscience. Membership in the World Future Society is open to anyone worldwide.
By 1970, the organization had 4,000 members representing a variety of different backgrounds and industries, with chapters and committees in 56 cities across the globe. Prominent members and contributors have included Ray Kurzweil, Peter Drucker, Carl Sagan, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Beginning in 1971, the World Future Society has hosted annual summits, forums, and events. WFS Annual Summits have hosted as many as 7,000 participants at a single event. Today, the World Future Society hosts monthly online Q&As and virtual events in the World Future Society membership community with leading futurists, entrepreneurs, speakers, authors. Recent guests have included Rod Roddenberry and author and economist Ted Chu, Phd.
Current board chair & CEO
Julie Friedman Steele: 2016–Present
Past presidents and executive directors
Amy Zalman: 2014–2016
Timothy Mack, Esq.: 2004–2014
Edward Cornish: 1966–2004
In additional to several print and electronic journals, WFS Founder Edward Cornish published Futuring: The Exploration of the Future (Oct. 2005).
The Futurist magazine
The Futurist magazine was established in 1967, with Edward Cornish serving as the founding editor. From 1967 to 2015, it was a full-color bi-monthly magazine. Today, it is an online publication that reports on technological, societal, and public policy trends, along with topics related to the future of human purpose. The Futurist was nominated for a 2007 Utne Independent Press Award for Best Science and Technology Coverage.
World Future Review academic journal
The World Future Society previously published the academic journal World Future Review. This journal was published independent from the World Future Society starting with Volume 8.
Impact and Legacy
The first graduate programs in Future Studies were founded by WFS members in 1975 at the University of Houston and in 1976 at the University of Hawaii. Today, Future Studies is taught at hundreds of universities across the globe, and these methods are routinely used by businesses, governments, and consulting firms.
World Future Society members have also contributed heavily to advising businesses and governments worldwide on areas including public policy and decision making. Founder Edward Cornish himself served as an advisor to three U.S. Presidents, and WFS members were the head of leading foresight consultancies including SRI International, RAND Corporation, and the Global Business Network.
Additionally, WFS members helped found the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment and the Congressional Clearinghouse on the Future, which was composed of more than 100 members of the U.S. Congress including Al Gore.
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