What Is the World Future Society?
The World Future Society is a nonprofit educational and scientific organization in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S., founded in 1966. The Society investigates how social, economic and technological developments are shaping the future. It helps individuals, organizations, and communities observe, understand and respond to social change appropriately and investigates the benign effects of applying anticipatory thinking to society. We have partners around the globe.
Through its magazine The Futurist, media, meetings, and dialogue among its members, it raises awareness of change and encourages development of creative solutions. The Society takes no official position on what the future may or should be like. Instead it provides a neutral forum for exploring possible, probable, and preferable futures.
The World Future Society has members distributed world-wide in more than eighty countries. Individuals and groups from all nations are eligible to join this society and actively engage in its programs and events. The Society’s annual conference provides opportunities to meet and greet fellow thinkers and to take one- or two-day courses dealing with the future.
Chapters of the World Future Society are active in cities around the world. Chapters offer speakers, educational courses, seminars, and other opportunities for regional members to meet and collaborate. Local WFS Chapters give members a chance to interact with forward-looking peers and to discuss diverse topics about the future.
Why Study the Future? The world changes so quickly it's hard to keep up. New inventions and innovations alter the way we live. People's values, attitudes, and beliefs are changing. And the pace of change keeps accelerating, making it difficult to prepare for tomorrow. By studying the future, people can better anticipate what lies ahead. More importantly, they can actively decide how they will live in the future, by making choices today and realizing the consequences of their decisions.
The future doesn't just happen: People create it through their actionor inaction today.
What Can We Know about the Future? No one knows exactly what will happen in the future. But by considering what might happen, people can more rationally decide on the sort of future that would be most desirable and then work to achieve it.
Opportunity as well as danger lies ahead, so people need to make farsighted decisions. The process of change is inevitable; it's up to everyone to make sure that the change is constructive.
What Does the Society Do? The Society strives to serve as a neutral clearinghouse for ideas about the future. Ideas about the future include forecasts, recommendations, and alternative scenarios. These ideas help people to anticipate what may happen in the next 5, 10, or more years ahead. When people can visualize a better future, then they can begin to create it.
Who belongs to the Society? Membership is open to anyone who would like to know more about what the future will hold. The Society includes 25,000 people in more than 80 countries--from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Members come from all walks of life. They include sociologists, scientists, corporate planners, educators, students, and retirees. They are thinking people who seek a better future for themselves and society.
Does the Society Have Local Chapters? The Society's program of local activities includes local groups of people in more than 100 cities who share the same interest in the future. These local chapters give members a chance to meet other forward-looking people and to discuss various topics of the future.
How Much Does It Cost to Join the Society? Dues for membership in the World Future Society are $79 per year (in U.S. currency or its equivalent in other currency). Dues are the same throughout the world. Full-time students under age 25 may also join at a discounted rate of $20 per year
What Do Members Receive? All World Future Society members receive:
- The Futurist, our main bimonthly publication.
- Futurist Update, a monthly e-mail newsletter filled with late-breaking stories on important trends and ideas, plus news and announcements from the Society.
- Discounts on conference registration fees and on books published by the Society.
- Outlook. An annual report offering members selected forecasts that can help them anticipate events of the future.
- Invitations to our Conferences.
- Special New-Member Benefits. In addition to regular member benefits, new World Future Society members will receive the a set of the latest special reports, such as “Urgent Warnings, Breakthrough Solutions” and the latest “Outlook” report.
Professional Members of the Society receive:
- All of the above, plus:
- World Future Review, a scholarly, refereed journal published six times per year featuring concise, readable, and nontechnical abstracts of recent books, articles, and reports are arranged in topical clusters that enable you to see connections, subtle differences, and clashing opinions.
- Invitations to Professional Members Forums, held each year just following the annual conference
- FUTUREtakes, a publication of the Center for Transcultural Foresight, Inc.,
- American Society for Public Administration
- Global SchoolNet Foundation
- Institute for International Research
- Institute for the Future at Anne Arundel Community College
- The International Alliance for Women
- The Millennium Project
- Police Futurists International
- Shaping Tomorrow