The human imagination has limitless potential to dream and manifest a better world that is not only possible but necessary. In the twenty-first century, with COVID-19 forcing humanity to rethink its ways of doing things, futures literacy becomes just as important as knowing how to read and write. It is a skill that is universal and accessible to all to empower humanity to prepare for, recover from, and even drive changes of the future.

The UNESCO Chair in Futures Studies is one of the prestigious nodes in the vast Global Futures Literacy Network at UNESCO, acting as a laboratory of ideas related to futures. Tapping into such collective intelligence, humanity can benefit by having a sense of control and confidence to deploy innovation, novelty, and experimentation with proactiveness and efficiency to co-create a more sustainable, peaceful, and inclusive world.


The specific focus of the UNESCO Chair in Futures Studies at the International Islamic University Malaysia is the ‘Anticipation for Sustainability and Well-Being’, aligned with the University’s visionary agenda of humanising education as to become a mercy to all the worlds, aligned with the higher objectives of the Islamic law, the pillars of education of the UNESCO, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), the National Education Philosophy of Malaysia, and the concept of Insan Sejahtera.


The UNESCO Chair in Futures Studies is a continuation as being formerly held at the Islamic University of Science Malaysia (USIM) in the past four years where the core narrative was the move from planting seeds of foresight to creating a forest of foresight, passing by nurturing young trees. The forest, focused in the Asia-Pacific region, has been initiated. The next phase is to cultivate, vitalise and grow the forest, to make it self-sustaining. This means nurturing and gardening and ensuring all the trees are linked at the root level. With IIUM being a larger university and the Chair being located at the new Sejahtera Centre for Sustainability and Humanity (SC4SH) , the forest can expand, strengthen, and grow in novel ways.

As a node dedicated to the increased futures literacy of its stakeholders and learners, IIUM aims to promote an integrated system of research, teaching, and community-building. The dissemination of information and documentation in Futures Studies, as well as on social and human sciences offers the opportunity to shed light on the particular link between the study of anticipatory systems and processes and Sustainability. It will facilitate collaboration between high-level internationally recognised researchers and teaching staff of the University and other institutions of Malaysia, the Asia-Pacific, and other regions of the world. Specifically, the Chair will continue to focus on the Asia-Pacific Futures Network, develop and expand the field of Futures Studies through training in methods and tools, enhance sectoral links and prepare and publish case studies of foresight, and work closely with UNESCO programs and activities as well as relevant Chairs.