Anticipation, Agency and Complexity

Anticipation, Agency and Complexity

6-8 April 2017, Trento (Italy)


The future is ever alive and shaping events that have yet to occur.
And it is also shaping the future of science.

Anticipation is a widespread phenomenon present in and characterizing all types of systems, forcing a re-evaluation of the very idea of science. The present interplay between science and policy is becoming a major impediment to a further development of science. The traditional, bureaucratic structure adopted by organizations and institutions (e.g. governments) derives from an understanding of systems that precedes the discovery of both complexity and anticipation. These structures work as if problems could be addressed individually and in a piecemeal way, with outputs systematically proportionate to relevant inputs, and without any thorough exploration of possible futures. The issue of agency is central to how we construct choices and take decisions in complex, anticipatory systems.

Following up on the pioneering, highly successful First International Conference on Anticipation co-organized by University of Trento, UNESCO, the World Academy of Art and Science and World University Consortium at Trento in November 2015, WAAS and WUC are pleased to collaborate with the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Trento, and the UNESCO Chairs in Anticipatory Systems to organize this important workshop.

Fellows of WAAS are invited to submit abstracts of papers for presentation at the conference by January 10, 2017.


Global Challenges and the roles of WAAS and WUC, April 6, 9-12

  • Garry Jacobs (CEO, WAAS), Forthcoming Global Challenges and the need for new thinking
  • Alberto Zucconi (Secretary General, WUC), What Universities Can and Can’t Do
  • Other speakers to be identified

The UNESCO Chairs in Anticipatory Systems, April 7, 9-12

  • Riel Miller (Paris, UNESCO Headquarter), The UNESCO Chairs in Anticipatory Systems and the Role of Futures Literacy
  • Markku Wilenius (Turku), Understanding Economic and Social Macro-Waves
  • Sohail Inayatullah (Tamkang), Macro-History Today
  • Roberto Poli (Trento), Pragmatic Utopia

Relevant dates:

  • Deadline for individual abstracts: 10 January 2017
  • Acceptance/rejection: 31 January 2017
  • Final Program: 15 February 2017
  • Conference: 6-8 April 2017

For access to papers presented at the first international conference on Anticipation, please visit 

For more information, contact