Futures Studies Workshop at IIIT, Herndon

Theme: Futures of American Muslims

August  6-7, 2016

Course Architects: Ziauddin Sardar, John Sweeney and Jordi Serra

Why is it important to have an appreciation of what the future may bring? How do we think about and study alternative futures? This workshop explores these questions and provides rigorous training in futures and foresight methods with hand-on experience. The goal is to see how we can use some of these methods to throw light on the plight and problems of Muslim societies and work towards viable strategies to navigate the next decades. The focus in this workshop will be on the future(s) of Muslims in the United Sates.

Saturday 6 August

10.00-10.05 Opening and Welcome
10.05-10.30 Why Think About the Future
10.30-11.00 Four Metaphors Exercise
11.00-1.00 Introduction to Futures Studies
1.00-2.00 Lunch
2.00-6.00 Trend Analysis, Emerging Issues and Scenario Planning (Group work)

Sunday 7 August

10-11.00 Introduction to Visioning and Backcasting
11-1.00 Visioning Exercise (Group Work)
1.00-2.00 Lunch
2.00-5.00 Backcasting (Group work)
5.00-6.00 Where Now?

Ziauddin Sardar

Ziauddin Sardar is an internationally renowned writer, futurist and cultural critic. His is the author of over fifty books, including his classic studies, The Future of Muslim Civilization (1979) and Islamic Futures: The Shape of Ideas to Come (1985). His other books include Postmodernism and the Other (1998), Orientalism (1999), and the international bestseller Why Do People Hate America? (2002). A collection of his writings is available as Islam, Postmodernism and Other Futures: A Ziauddin Sardar Reader (2003) and How Do You Know? Reading Ziauddin Sardar on Islam, Science and Cultural Relations (2006). His two volumes of autobiography, Desperately Seeking Paradise: Journeys of a Skeptical Muslim and Balti Britain: A Provocative Journey Through Asian Britain, have received wide acclaim. His latest books Mecca: The Sacred City (2014) received several international awards. He established and Chaired the Muslim Institute, London, and wrote and presented many documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. Prospect magazine named him as one of Britain’s top 100 public intellectuals and The Independent newspaper calls him: ‘Britain’s own Muslim polymath’. A former editor of Futures, the journal of futures studies, planning and policy, he currently edits the innovative Critical Muslim quarterly.

John A. Sweeney

John A. Sweeney is a futurist who started his career as a Researcher at the Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has worked with various international agencies, foundations, and organizations, such the East-West Center, The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, UNESCO, UNDG, UNICEF, and UNDP; and managed, facilitated, and designed workshops, seminars, and research projects in Belgium, France, Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, Macedonia, Montenegro, Myanmar, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Turkey, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. His books include the co-authored Mutative Media: Communication Technologies and Power Relations in the Past, Present and Futures, which was recently awarded the ‘Most Significant Futures Work’ prize by the Association of Professional Futurists.

Jordi Serra

Jordi Serra is specialist in futures studies, foresight, strategy and intelligence. Over the last twenty years, he has worked as Director of a Foresight Research in a risk governance Centre, Director of a Social Theory Department in a Design School and Coordinator of a Master’s Programme in Intelligence in Barcelona. He has consulted for numerous governments, including those of Spain, Colombia and Ecuador. Currently he is Associated Professor, Faculty of Communication and International Relations, Blanquerna Universitat Ramon Llull in Barcelona. He has published extensively on futures studies, both in Spanish and English, and is a member of the editorial Board of Futures, World Future Review and Revista IAPEM.

Ziauddin Sardar, John Sweeny and Jordi Serra work together as Centre for Postnormal Policy and Futures Studies, a research and consultancy network that promotes futures thinking with a particular focus on Muslim societies and the global South.