The two major themes of the future, sustainability and peace, are obviously interconnected. The last decade has shown that climate change can be a cause of resource conflicts and war, and vice versa resolving international conflicts is essential to address the climate crisis in a coordinated and cooperative manner.
While there is a long scholarly tradition of addressing both fields individually, linking sustainability and peace research is still relatively new in the scholarly debate.
We aim at systematically connecting a variety of people and foster a number of activities in research and teaching at our university.
The engagement with global future challenges also addresses highly debated fields, such as geoengineering or sufficiency, and raises the question how science can contribute to the accomplishment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Beneath the presentation and debate of scientific findings and our attempt to communicate our insights with a wider public, we encourage public stakeholders to discuss their perceptions and innovative and creative ideas addressing the future with us in a more transdisciplinary process that draws attention to relevant social questions.
Key thematic areas
- Climate change and its societal impacts
- Responses to climate change and mitigation strategies
- Pollution and responsible creation
- Geoengineering: assessment of potentials and risks involved
- Disarmament and peace research
- Futures research societal transformations, and the role of research, teaching and outreach activities
2021: Peace & Sustainability
As a first wider activity within the forum we organized a series of lectures with discussions that introduces the relevant research fields at the University of Cologne in the summer term 2021.
After the successful introduction we switch to a more focused but still very wide topic characterizing the anthropocene: pollution. The boundary between sustainable creation and pollution is by far not trivial to draw. The lecture series discusses different aspects that are studied at the University of Cologne.
2023: Social implications of developing new technologies – quantum computing and beyond
Starting from the current big hype around quantum computing with possible impacts on the privacy of everyone’s communication we want to question the social implications of earlier technological developments in a more general way and formulate key questions that should be addressed when performing active research in potentially pervasive fields.