International Futures

International Futures (IFs) is a global integrated assessment model designed to help in thinking strategically and systematically about key global systems (economic, demographic, education, health, environment, technology, domestic governance, infrastructure, agriculture, energy and environment) housed at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures. Initially created by Barry B. Hughes of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver in Colorado,[1] the model is free for public use in both its online and downloadable forms.[2]

The Pardee Center for International Futures has partnered with many organizations to produce forecasts and data analysis. IFs has been utilized in the National Intelligence Council's Global Trends 2020, Global Trends 2025, and Global Trends 2030 report.[3] The International Futures model has also contributed to the United Nations Human Development Report[4] and the Global Environmental Outlook.

IFs is hosted free for public use by Google Public Data Explorer, the Atlantic Council, and the Institute for Security Studies.[5]

International Futures Logo
International Futures (IFs) Logo

Model structure

The model incorporates dynamically linked sub-models. They include: population, economic, agricultural, educational, energy, socio-political, international political, environmental, health, infrastructure and technology.[6] IFs is a unique modeling tool because it endogenizes the impact of such a wide range of global systems for 183 countries.

The help system that accompanies the software[7] provides an extensive overview of the model structure and computer code used to write the model. IFs has three main functions, all connected to its conceptual treatment of integrated assessment forecasts: data analysis, scenario analysis, and display.[8]

Data analysis

Example of cross-sectional analysis of total fertility rate and GDP per capita at purchasing power parity

The data analysis section of IFs represents a collection of over 2,000 data series from all major international data gatherers. It is constantly updated with new data series. This data forms the foundation of the model structure. Users can analyze historic data cross-sectionally, longitudinally or on a world map. Using cross-sectional analysis, users can select a variables and plot this against up to 5 independent variables. It is then possible to animate the map to see how the cross-sectional relationship changes across the 40+ years of data in the database. Longitudinally, users can plot the relationship between a dependent variable and time, from 1960 (for most data series) through the most recent data year available. A world map allows users to display data from any of these series using GIS options.

Scenario analysis

Forecast of world population for four UNEP scenarios from 1960–2100

The software allows users to access and change the parameters and variables that are used in the model. The Scenario Analysis display lets users create their own global scenario or load a pre-run global scenario in their field of interest. For example, to analyze the effects of a policy intervention on different sub-models and variables within the model, make the changes to the appropriate variable and then analyze the results in comparison to the base-case. Many pre-run scenarios come packaged with the model, including work that has been completed for the United Nations Environment Programme[9] and the National Intelligence Council.[10]


Example of mortality display for Belgium in 2025

This portion of the software allows users to display the forecast results of their scenario analyses for different provinces, countries and groups across different issue areas. Some of the specialized displays include: population, educational attainment, mortality rate, World Values Survey, Gini coefficient, the Millennium Development Goals, social accounting matrix, advanced sustainability analysis, and World Bank financial flows.

Pardee Center for International Futures

The project received a gift from Frederick S. Pardee, formerly of RAND, to construct the Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver.[11] It is responsible for the further institutionalization of the software, training sessions, and the continued work on the Patterns of Potential Human Progress (PPHP) volumes. The first PPHP volume discusses reduction in global poverty; the second, global education; the third, health care systems; the fourth, global infrastructure; the fifth, domestic governance.[12]

The journal Poverty and Public Policy reviewed the first PPHP volume, and concluded the following:

For all their fine effort in data assembly and analysis, Hughes et al. intended that their first volume’s main contribution should be one not of prediction, but of promoting thought about poverty policy. Their attractively presented and lucid volume succeeds in this endeavor; it very usefully fulfills its promise to the student and policymaker.[13]

African Futures Project

The African Futures Project is a collaboration between the Institute for Security Studies and the Pardee Center for International Futures to promote long term strategic planning for African development. This collaboration has led to the publication of various African Futures Project Policy Briefs,[14] monographs on long-term African Development and a website where the IFs model can be used specifically for exploring African development.[15]


  1. ^ Documentation can be found at regarding the history of IFs, specifically gives an overview of the different generations of IFs development. See this for a TEDx talk about the model:
  2. ^ Barry Hughes,and Evan Hillebrand Paradigm Publishing, 2006
  3. ^ See Mapping the Future: Report of the National Intelligence Council's 2020 Report Archived 2012-09-16 at the Wayback Machine. and Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World Archived 2012-08-13 at the Wayback Machine. and Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds Archived 2012-12-15 at the Wayback Machine. Director of National Intelligence
  4. ^ Forecasting the Impacts of Environmental Constraints on Human Development
  5. ^ For hosts of the web-based version of the model, see International Futures on Google Public Data Explorer, The Atlantic Council and the Strategic Foresight Initiative Archived 2012-11-15 at the Wayback Machine., and the Institute for Security Studies, as a part of the African Futures Project. Additionally, the web version of the model is found on the International Futures website.
  6. ^ Elements of International Futures, a structural explanation of the IFs model with block diagram.
  7. ^ Index
  8. ^ An extended introductory video is found here:
  9. ^ See the Global Environmental Outlook 4 Archived 2009-07-07 at the Portuguese Web Archive that IFs made a contribution to
  10. ^ Mapping the Future: Report of the National Intelligence Council's 2020 Report Archived 2012-09-16 at the Wayback Machine. and Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World Archived 2012-08-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ at "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-02. Retrieved 2012-09-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ These can be downloaded either in final or draft form on their website ""
  13. ^ Soltys, Dennis (2010) “Review of Reducing Global Poverty: Patterns of Potential Human Progress, Vol. 1," Poverty & Public Policy: Vol. 2: Iss. 2, Article 10.
  14. ^ See the Publications Section Archived 2013-10-06 at the Wayback Machine. of the African Futures website for introductory videos and to read the policy briefs in full.
  15. ^ See the African Futures Project at: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2012-09-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links

Alberto Gasparini

Alberto Gasparini (born January 13, 1940, in Modena, Italy) is an Italian sociologist and professor of urban and rural sociology, of sociology of international relations and of techniques of forecasting. His research and theoretical studies concern the city and the housing, the symbolism of spaces, the cross-border co-operation, the civil societies and the international relations, the futures studies. He is founder and president of the International University Institute of the European Studies (IUIES), co-founder and secretary general of International Futures Research Academy (IFRA). Besides he is founder and director of the following journal: FUTURIBILI (New Edition), ISIG Journal, IUIES Journal.

Barry B. Hughes

Barry B. Hughes is the John Evans Professor at the University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies. He is the current director of the Pardee Center for International Futures, a center for long-term, systemic thinking on political, economic, social and environmental issues. Hughes has spent the majority of his career developing the International Futures global integrated assessment model. This model has been used by a wide range of international organizations and governments, including the European Commission, the National Intelligence Council, the United States Institute of Peace and the United Nations Environment Programme.Hughes received his bachelor's degree from Stanford University and master's and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.


Belizeans are people associated with the country of Belize through citizenship or descent. Belize is a multiethnic country with residents of African, Amerindian, European and Asian descent or any combination of those groups.

Colonisation, slavery, and immigration have played major roles in affecting the ethnic composition of the population and as a result, Belize is a country with numerous cultures, languages, and ethnic groups.

Birth dearth

Birth dearth is a neologism referring to falling fertility rates. In the late 1980s, the term was used in the context of American and European society. The use of the term has since been expanded to include many other industrialized nations. It is often cited as a response to overpopulation, but is not incompatible with it. The term was coined by Ben Wattenberg in his 1987 book by that same name.

Countries and geographic regions that are currently experiencing falling population include Russia, Europe, Japan, and populations of people of these descents in other countries such as in the United States.


Gabon (; French pronunciation: ​[ɡabɔ̃]), officially the Gabonese Republic (French: République gabonaise), is a country on the west coast of Central Africa. Located on the equator, Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south, and the Gulf of Guinea to the west. It has an area of nearly 270,000 square kilometres (100,000 sq mi) and its population is estimated at 2 million people. Its capital and largest city is Libreville.

Since its independence from France in 1960, the sovereign state of Gabon has had three presidents. In the early 1990s, Gabon introduced a multi-party system and a new democratic constitution that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and reformed many governmental institutions.

Abundant petroleum and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the 7th highest HDI and the fourth highest GDP per capita (PPP) (after Mauritius, Equatorial Guinea and Seychelles) in the region. GDP grew by more than 6% per year from 2010 to 2012. However, because of inequality in income distribution, a significant proportion of the population remains poor.

Google Public Data Explorer

Google Public Data Explorer provides public data and forecasts from a range of international organizations and academic institutions including the World Bank, OECD, Eurostat and the University of Denver. These can be displayed as line graphs, bar graphs, cross sectional plots or on maps. The product was launched on March 8, 2010 as an experimental visualization tool in Google Labs.In 2011 the Public Data Explorer was made available for anyone to upload, share and visualize data sets. To facilitate this, Google created a new data format, the Dataset Publishing Language (DSPL). Once the data is imported, a dataset can be visualized, embedded in external websites, and shared with others like a Google Doc.In 2016, this toolset was enhanced with the Google Analytics Suite, particularly Data Studio 360, whose release expanded to a free public beta in May 2016, which enabled import of public or individual datasets and overlaid user-friendly (non-coding) data visualization tools.

Indonesia Commodity and Derivatives Exchange

Indonesia Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (ICDX) (Indonesian: Bursa Komoditi dan Derivatif Indonesia) is the commodity and derivatives based exchange in Indonesia.

Institute for Security Studies

The Institute for Security Studies, also known as ISS or ISS Africa (to distinguish itself from other similarly named institutes in other parts of the world), described itself as follows: "an African organisation which aims to enhance human security on the continent. It does independent and authoritative research, provides expert policy analysis and advice, and delivers practical training and technical assistance." It is headquartered in Pretoria, South Africa.The institute was recognised as the third best African NGO in Sub-Saharan Africa by the Global Go To Think Tanks Report 2011.

Integrated assessment modelling

Integrated assessment modelling (IAM) or integrated modelling (IM) is a type of scientific modelling often used by the environmental sciences and environmental policy analysis. The modelling is integrated because environmental problems do not respect the borders between academic disciplines. Integrated assessment models therefore integrate knowledge from two or more domains into a single framework. Integrated modelling is referred to as assessment because the activity aims to generate useful information for policy making, rather than to advance knowledge for knowledge's sake. Integrated assessment modelling is that part of integrated assessment that relies on the use of numerical models.

Integrated assessment modelling has a long history, and scholars disagree on the first precedent. However, it became recognizable as a sub- or inter-discipline in the late 1980s with a focus on understanding and regulating acidification. Integrated assessment modelling was further developed in the area of climate change, inter alias in the context of the Energy Modeling Forum.

Notable centres of integrated assessment modelling are IIASA, MIT, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, and International Futures. Notable scholars are Barry B. Hughes, Bill Nordhaus, Robert Mendelsohn, Rich Richels, Michael Schlesinger, Stephen Schneider, Richard Tol, John Weyant, and Gary Yohe.

International Futures Forum

The International Futures Forum (IFF) is a non-profit organisation based in Scotland that is involved with research and consultancy activities that are funded by business, philanthropy and the public sector. It is a think tank with links to a variety of other groups and organisations, largely through common memberships. It maintains an international network of thinkers, businesspeople and policy makers.

Josef Korbel School of International Studies

The Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver is a professional school of international affairs offering undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees. It is named in honor of the founding dean, Josef Korbel, father of former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

The Josef Korbel School is located on the University of Denver’s main campus in Denver’s University Hill neighborhood. The school currently educates more than 700 students with nearly 70 full- and part-time faculty members. It is also home to 10 academic research centers and institutes. Former U.S. Ambassador Christopher R. Hill has been dean of the school since July 2010.In February 2012, the school's master's programs were ranked 11th in the world by Foreign Policy magazine. The Josef Korbel School is a full member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA).


The concept of leapfrogging is used in many different domains of economics and business, and was originally developed in the field of industrial organization and economic growth. The main idea beyond the concept of leapfrogging is that small and incremental innovations lead the dominant firm to stay ahead. However, sometimes, radical innovations will permit to new firms to leapfrog the ancient and dominant firm. The phenomenon can occur to firms but also to leadership of countries, or cities.

Palladium International

The Palladium Group (also known as "Palladiums Holdings" or "Palladium International") is an international advisory and management business representing the combination of seven prior companies: GRM International, Futures Group, Palladium, the IDL Group, Development & Training Services, HK Logistics and CARANA Corporation. As of October 2016, Palladium Group employs over 2,500 persons operating in 90 countries. At the end of 2015, Palladium International was the fourth-largest private sector partner for the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID). During 2011, Palladium International members Futures Group and Carana were USAID's fourteenth and sixteenth largest private sector partners, respectively. At the end of 2012, GRM International was the third largest private sector partner for AusAID.

Population growth

In biology or human geography, population growth is the increase in the number of individuals in a population.

Many of the world's countries, including many in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia, have seen a sharp rise in population since the end of the Cold War. The fear is that high population numbers are putting further strain on natural resources, food supplies, fuel supplies, employment, housing, etc. in some of the less fortunate countries. For example, the population of Chad has ultimately grown from 6,279,921 in 1993 to 10,329,208 in 2009, further straining its resources. Vietnam, Mexico, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the DRC are witnessing a similar growth in population.

Global human population growth amounts to around 83 million annually, or 1.1% per year. The global population has grown from 1 billion in 1800 to 7.616 billion in 2018. It is expected to keep growing, and estimates have put the total population at 8.6 billion by mid-2030, 9.8 billion by mid-2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100. Many nations with rapid population growth have low standards of living, whereas many nations with low rates of population growth have high standards of living.

Watershed (Bristol)

Watershed opened in June 1982 as the United Kingdom's first dedicated media centre. Based in former warehouses on the harbourside at Bristol, it hosts three cinemas, a café/bar, events/conferencing spaces, the Pervasive Media Studio, and office spaces for administrative and creative staff. It occupies the former E and W sheds on Canon's Road at Saint Augustine's Reach, and underwent a major refurbishment in 2005. The building also hosts UWE eMedia Business Enterprises, Most of Watershed's facilities are situated on the second floor of two of the transit sheds. The conference spaces and cinemas are used by many public and private sector organisations and charities. Watershed employs the equivalent of over seventy full-time staff and has an annual turnover of approximately £3.8 million. As well as its own commercial income (through Watershed Trading), Watershed Arts Trust is funded by national and regional arts funders. It is run by managing director Dick Penny who first joined in 1991.A 2010 report for the International Futures Forum describes the Watershed as "a creative ecosystem, operating in many different and overlapping economies," which is "pushing the creative boundary" by fostering both the invention and consolidation of new work.

World Future Society

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.

World Futures Studies Federation

The World Futures Studies Federation is a global non-governmental organization that was founded in 1973 to promote the development of futures studies as an academic discipline.

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