Anumita Raj, Joint Coordinator of Strategic Foresight Groupís Horizons Scanning Unit, attended the third annual Searchlight Convening hosted by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Institute for Alternative Futures. The 5-day conference took place in New York from 30th April to 3rd May with an aim to build on the progress achieved in successful prior meetings in Bellagio in 2010 and Mumbai in 2011.
Facilitated by futurists from the Institute for Alternative Futures, the meeting was attended by grantees of the Rockefeller Foundationís Searchlight function from across the globe as well as notable invited guests Dr. Jim Dator, Joan Parker, Nancy Ramsey, Dr. Fransisco Sagasti and Irene Sanders. Participants included members of grantee organizations from South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Peru and India, as well as staff from the Rockefeller Foundation. The group spent three days brainstorming ways to extend lessons learned from three years of the Searchlight initiative to look a few years into the future, with help and insight from the invited guests. The aim was to envision a preferred future given a set of parameters and identify areas of dynamism that have the potential for intervention by actors such as the Rockefeller Foundation.
In the latter half of the conference, conclusions reached by the participants were presented to senior Rockefeller staff in the form of murals created by the participants and by specialists from the Institute for Alternative Futures. The Searchlight function was also introduced to representatives from foundations and groups including Bloomberg Philanthropies, PepsiCo, IBM and the Open Society.
Author and Vice President of Policy & Programs at Demos, Tamara Draut, addressed the group on issues pertaining to the American economy and 2012 presidential election.