Brief History of the Millennium Project


1988       Theodore Gordon published The Futures Group’s Millennium Project Memo in Technological Forecasting &               Social Change. Jerome Glenn was asked by The Futures Group to bring the idea of the Millennium                     Project to the United Nations University. Glenn changed the concept from a global study to a global                     system for global studies.

1989       Discussions were held among UNU, American Council for the UNU (Glenn was exec. Director of                           AC/UNU), The Futures Group (Gordon was chairman of TFG), and subsequently the Smithsonian                          Institution.

1990       UNU recommended a pre-feasibility study be conducted under the auspices of the AC/UNU in                           cooperation with the Futures Group and the Smithsonian Institution. The pre-feasibility study found that               no other similar efforts existed or were planned, and produced a proposal to conduct a three-year                     feasibility study.

1991      UNU decided that the Millennium Project Feasibility Study should be accomplished under UNU                                Headquarters and contracted Ted Gordon and Jerome Glenn to lead it.

1992      US EPA funded Phase 1 of the feasibility study that connected futurists and scholars to create the initial              design of the Project and conduct a first test study on global population and environmental issues, and              produced the Phase 1 report.

1993      UNDP/African Futures funded Phase 2 to produce a handbook for futures research methodology and a              six-part series on future issues for Africa.

1994      UNU headquarters ended relationship with the Millennium Project Feasibility Study. UNDP contracted                    Glenn/Gordon and others in the Millennium Project Feasibility Study to produce “Future of Africa,” a                    one-week Seminar at the UN Secretariat. UNU/WIDER accepted Millennium Project Feasibility Study for              Phase 3 to complete the final report and raise funds to begin the Project.

1995      UNESCO funded Phase 3 to complete the feasibility report. New UNU/WIDER director decided not to                    continue with the Project. AC/UNU accepted the Project as it began to raise funds to start operations.

1996      Millennium Project began with funding from Ford Motors, Monsanto, Army Environmental Policy Institute,              and the Hazel Henderson and Alan F. Key Foundation for Social Innovation to conduct a four-round Global              Lookout study on future developments, issues, actions, and a range of views on each, exploratory                    scenarios integrating models; created the Project’s Planning Committee to oversee research and council              on priorities; and conducted two Planning Committee meetings.

1997      The project published the 1997 State of the Future based on the 1996 research. A Global Lookout panel              was asked to concentrate on positive developments, opportunities, actions, and a range of views on                    each. In addition, the project conducted a three-round questionnaire on lessons of history; developed              global 25 year exploratory scenarios; began the development of normative global scenarios; and studied              environmental security definitions and policy issues. It also conducted two Planning Committee meetings.

1998      Published the 1998 State of the Future. It also conducted studies on timely decisionmaking and                          impediments, analyzed case studies of futures research used in decisionmaking, and moral and ethical              issues in decisionmaking. It completed a full normative global scenario to the year 2050; and studied                    environmental security threats and policy leadership responsibilities; as well as conducting two Planning              Committee meetings.

1999      Published the 1999 State of the Future and the 500-page CD-ROM, Futures Research Methodology. It                    merged global issues and opportunities into 15 Global Challenges for continual update and improvement              via environmental scanning and peer review (this continues to the present and is used in a variety of                    contexts); it studied current and potential UN military doctrine on the environmental security; constructed              very long-range (1000 year) exploratory scenarios based on input from a two-round Delphi; it also                    conducted two Planning Committee meetings.

2000      Published the State of the Future at the Millennium in a new format: an executive summary of the                    research in print form with full details in the accompanying CD-ROM that also included previous                           Millennium Project research. The Project used an on-line questionnaire to collect feedback/updates on              global challenges; science and technology issues over the next 25 years; identified factors for                           implementing futures research in decisionmaking; analyzed hundreds of actions to address each of the              global challenges to find meta-strategies; began to update the futures research methods CD ROM; and              conducted two Planning Committee meetings.

2001      Published the 2001 State of the Future in the new print–CD-ROM format, including the research since                    1996. It performed an analysis of UN Millennium Summit speeches; wrote counterterrorism scenarios and              strategies in cooperation with World Futures Studies Federation; assessed military environmental crimes              and the role of the International Criminal Court (ICC); and conducted a study of management                           implications of future science and technology issues. It continued to update futures research methods;              conducted a three-round Delphi on new military requirements to address environmental security; began              research into the construction of an index (State of the Future––SOFI) that quantitatively depicts the                    changing ten-year future outlook; and conducted two Planning Committee meetings.

2002      Published the 2002 State of the Future and in addition conducted a two-round assessment of global goals              for the year 2050; work on SOFI continued with national SOFIs in Latin America; completed a self-                   evaluation of the Project for UNU; updated Futures Research Methods series; constructed future science              and technology scenarios to 2025; identified and assessed emerging environmental issues for future UN              treaties; conducted initial literature reviews and interviews construct research design to produce peace              scenarios for the Middle East monthly environmental security reports, and prepared an advanced training              program in futures research methodology. The project also conducted two Planning Committee meetings.

2003      Published the 2003 State of the Future; continued two Delphi’s for Middle East Peace Scenarios, two S&T              2025 Scenario Delphi Rounds, Assessment of Environmental Security Treaty Issues and Future Military              Implications, European Nodes initiated EU SPIDER program for applied; Early Warning System (Kuwait              Oil Company); initiated work on Futures Research Methods Version 3.0., On-line update of Global                    Challenges monthly environmental security reports; and conducted two Planning Committee Meetings.

2004      Published the 2004 State of the Future; conducted Middle East Peace Scenario draft Round 3, Nanotech              R&D military priorities to prevent health and environmental problems Round 1 and 2, Global Challenges              Assessment Round 1 and 2, Future Ethical Issues Round 1; designed early warning system for Kuwait Oil              Company including unique software and trained staff On-line update of Global Challenges monthly                    environmental security reports; and conducted two Planning Committee Meetings (one in Sao Paulo,                     Brazil).

2005      Published the 2005 State of the Future;  Future Ethical Issues Round 2, annotated listing of women and              gender organizations, monthly environmental security reports, developed Real Time Delphi as decision              tool and tested with Ford Motor executives, annotated bibliography of global energy scenarios and related              research (preparation for global energy scenario Delphi); Millennium Awards for middle school students              in Mexico (first contest) and conducted two Planning Committee Meetings (one in Brussels).

2006      Published the 2006 State of the Future (the CD edition now 5,400 pages), conducted two-round                           Global Energy Delphi, wrote four alternative globa energy scenarios, SOFI for Turkey another in process              for South Korea, Millennium Awards for middle school students in Mexico (second contest, initiation of                    Global Millennium Prize, monthly environmental security reports, use of Real Time Delphi for Planning              Committee to set priorities; conducted one Planning Committee Meeting in Toronto, Canada and one                    electronically.

2007      Published 2007 State of the Future (the CD edition now 6,000 pages), developed the Real Time                           Delphi and used it for three studies: 1) Future Education and Learning Possibilities 2030; review of                    variable for the State of the Future Index (SOFI), and priorities for the Millennium Project (in                          preparation for the Planning Committee Meeting); Completed MillenniumPrize for secondary students,              monthly international emerging issues of environmental security; added Node in Azerbaijan, Chile,                    Israel, Peru, Slovenia, and United Arab Emirates for a total of 32 Nodes; conducted a concepts and                    methods seminar for the Government of Azerbaijan, singed agreement to upgrade futures capacity of              Kuwait; UNESCO Director-General approved becoming an in-kind sponsor of the Project;moved the                    Project from the American Council for the UNU to the World Federation of UN Associations; UN/DPI                    sponsored 2007 SOF UN launch.

2008      Published 2008 State of the Future, completed study to design a global energy collective intelligence                    (GENIS), surveyed status of government future strategy units; Completed Global Millennium Prize for                    secondary students, produced monthly international emerging issues of environmental security;                           conducted RT Delphis for UNESCO World Water Report, WFUNA Human Rights, World Bank’s GEF                    evaluation, South Korea SOFI and South African SOFI; conducted seminar for UN on futures methods,              President of Dominican Republic sponsored 2008 SOF launch at UNA-USA in NY; President Sarkozy’s                    Sherpa used 15 Global Challenges for the G-8 preparation; participated in expert futures meetings for              UNIDO, EC, and UNESCO

2009      The Millennium Project became independent international non-profit tax-exempt organization, published              Futures Research Methodology version 3.0 (CD with 39 chapters totaling nearly 1,300 pages CD) and the              2009 State of the Future (the CD edition now 6,700 pages), added 33rd Node in Malaysia, began                           collective intelligence for the Global Climate Change Situation Room in Gimcheon, South Korea;                           conduced Real-Time Delphi on 35 potential future elements or seeds of the next global economic                    system); completed Global Millennium Prize for secondary students, produced monthly international                    emerging issues of environmental security; designed and conducted Futures Concepts and Methods                    online course for Azerbaijan State Economic University; assisted UNESCO for the UN World Water                    Scenarios project.

All research Lookout and Delphi questionnaires from 1996-2009 are available on-line

The Millennium Project
4421 Garrison Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20016-4055 USA
Tel/Fax: (202) 686-5179

Courte presentation du Projet (power point, en Englais)

Les Membres du Comité de Planification du Millennium Project