IFIASI’ current mission has two principle themes. The first major theme relates to global change. Increasingly, we recognize that we live in a time of fundamental transition. Societies throughout the world are struggling to come to terms with a wide range of new global issues. These include:
- Global environmental issues, such as climate change, the threat to biodiversity, and widespread concerns about the carrying capacity of global ecosystems;
- The need for new economic strategies to support employment in a globalized, knowledge-based economy, while re-inventing the national and international institutions required to support and regulate a new global economic system and its various regional and national components;
- Re-thinking alliances, defense organizations and systems, and strategies that were designed for a bi-polar world that no longer exists, in the context of an entirely new concept of human security that now embraces environmental sustainability, social welfare, and basic human needs.
Over the past 20 years, IFIAS and its members have been involved in a variety of projects that sought to increase our understanding of global change. Given what we have learned, it is evident that we need to focus more attention on how to evolve human systems in order to reduce their impact on natural systems. The first aspect of IFIASï¿½ mission in the coming years is therefore to respond to the need for better understanding, throughout the globe, about how to implement systemic change relating to sustainable development and other major societal problems. In order to increase the probability of implementation, IFIAS plans to encourage greater involve decision-makers in our programmes and projects, and to develop strategies that identify viable short-term actions, in the context of a longer-term direction.
The second theme relates to IFIAS members themselves. All IFIAS members play an important role in their own societies, that often includes some combination of education, research, and addressing national and international policy issues. IFIAS members recognize that they face significant strategic challenges in the years ahead. These include: developing new ways of funding their operations; becoming better at influencing policy; and rethinking their organizational structures and processes in light of the opportunities provided by new information and communications technologies. A second aspect of IFIASï¿½ mission is to organize collaborative activities that enhance the capabilities of its members to address the strategic challenges facing institutions of advanced study, with the ultimate objective of increasing their contribution to society.