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9 FEBRUARY 2003 / NOTE: THIS COURSE DESIGN IS UNDERGOING REVISION; this description, on which the revised course will be based, is provided for your information while adjustments are made to readings and assignments.
Check back on 16 February 2003.

Summer Residential Intensive Session 2003
Monday - Thursday, 1:15 pm - 5:00 pm
Dr. Wendy L. Schultz

Course Description | Assignments: Personal Essay | Future Generations | Scanning | Foresight Framework Report

Course Assignment:
Foresight Framework Report: Issue or Country


Critical Issue, Interest Area... Country or Region...
Choose an area of substantive interest, e.g., health delivery or education or financial trading or telephone/communications infrastructure, or the lumber trade, or global computer industry. This interest area may be an issue, such as human rights, or an economic sector, such as transport manufacturing, or a basic need, such as health or shelter. Choose a country to profile. First, collect basic data on your country -- descriptive statistics about its recent past and current condition -- such as information on land area, population, arable land, water, and natural resources; imports, exports, and major trading partners; interactions in international relations and human rights record.
Collect whatever data you can describing the past growth and current state of this interest area worldwide; make this information as clear to the uninformed reader as you can, as well as concise, by the use of tables, graphs, charts, and maps. This introduction to the area of interest should take about five pages, almost all of which may be tables, graphs and charts, as long as you include at least three paragraphs explaining why this issue is important to you and should be of interest to others. Using whatever combination of tables, charts, graphs, and narrative you think most efficiently conveys the data about the current state of your country, take three to five pages to introduce your country to the reader. This should include at least three paragraphs on its origins, offering both the ancient roots of its peoples and the modern circumstances that created it as a present-day nation-state. This three-to-five page profile should also identify the different ethnic and religious groups that comprise the population, the distribution of that population across the land, the major economic activities, the form of government and the country's primary allies and trading partners, and key characteristics of the environment and environmental exploitation.
Next, identify what emerging issues you think will affect this interest area most strongly in the next twenty years, and describe what you think the potential impacts might include. This should take about two to three pages. Then look for scenarios of possible futures for this issue, particularly any scenarios that may be linked to the emerging issues you have identified. If you can not find any scenarios, draft three one-page alternative futures for this issue, based on different combinations and outcomes of the emerging issues you have identified.

Next, in two to three pages, discuss what you have found about the major issues facing your country -- what, if any, are ITS "critical emerging issues"? Describe any scenarios or forecasts you have been able to find describing possible futures for your country. If you have not found any scenarios specific to your country, draft three one-page alternative futures for your country, based on different combinations and outcomes of the emerging issues you have identified as critical for your country.

Finally, explore what possible "best case" outcomes might be for this interest area -- what is a preferred future, a vision, for the best that it can be? Can you find any examples offered by other analysts or researchers of a positive vision for this issue? How might some of the development strategies or solutions discussed in the final section of class affect this issue area? Which seem most suitable to addressing problems related to this issue? Finally, explore what possible preferred visions for your country might be: what would be a "best case" scenario? Have any analysts, researchers, or decision-makers in the country offered a positive vision for its future? Of the various development or transition strategies discussed in the final section of the class, which seem most suitable for your country's unique circumstances? Which, if any, have advocates in the leadership or among the people of your country? What do the "best case" visions for the future of the world imply for your country?


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