A joint UNESCO Chair with Aarhus University in Anticipatory Leadership and Futures Capabilities.


The Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies and Aarhus University are pleased to announce a UNESCO Chair in Anticipatory Leadership and Futures Capabilities. A UNESCO Chair is a team at a university or research institution that officially partners with UNESCO in order to advance knowledge and practice in an area that is a priority for both the institution and UNESCO.

The new Chair in Anticipatory Leadership and Futures Capabilitieswill address the societal and global challenges of tomorrow and foster a culture of future-thinking in support of responsible leadership and development, in Denmark and beyond.

It will engage in research, teaching, training, policy- and public-engagement activities to spread methodological understanding of how people and institutions can use anticipatory processes to better guide actions in the present.

The Chair is awarded in reflection of UNESCO’s commitment to building a futures literate global society and is supported by the Danish National Commission for UNESCO.

Aspirations of the Chair

The purpose of the Chair in Anticipatory Leadership and Futures Capabilities will be to contribute to Danish national and regional development, inserting futures orientation and its associated competencies across the public, private, academic, and civic sector debate, empowering learners and leaders to become capable leaders of inclusive, secure and sustainable communities of tomorrow.

Furthermore, the Chair will actively engage with the public in our efforts to democratise the future by making futures-thinking and capabilities widely available, promoting participatory practices, and building futures literacy.

The aspirations of the Chair are cemented in four focus areas, our so-called pillars:

1. Applied research on foresight and anticipation:

We will expand and contribute to the field of futures studies by developing academic research methods and field investigations, to produce material for academic, practitioner, management, leadership, and development publication outlets to support responsible business and governance. 

2. Teaching, learning, and dissemination:

 We will disseminate futures anticipatory skills from senior leadership to scholar communities, and across the spectrum of social action, to equip and inspire our society for the future and foster long-term thinking.  

3. Policy development: 

We aim to anchor foresight capabilities as part of Danish policymaking, integrating futures thinking and anticipatory governance into national and regional government. 

4. Democratising the future:

We will foster agency to expand the practice of anticipation and futures capabilities through public engagement via conferences, seminars, workshops, webinars, and participatory engagements within arts and culture.

These aspirations are aligned with the strategic objectives of UNESCO, in particular: 

  • Developing education systems to foster inclusive, lifelong learning opportunities. 
  • Empowering learners to be creative and responsible global citizens. 
  • Shaping the future education agenda. 
  • Promoting the interface between science, society, and ethical and inclusive policies for sustainable development. 
  • Fostering creativity and the diversity of cultural expression.