Three scenarios for sustainable development by students

The world in 2032

Scenarios turning into reality

Massive walls between Europe and Africa, travel and work without borders and humanity as a businessmodel for growth. In 2002, about 40 young students from different nationalities came together and crafted three scenarios for a sustainable future. Now, in 2016, the three scenarios appear to become reality. Perhaps businesses, ngo’s and policy makers should take notice of the students’ ideas for action?

The Challenge

As a part of the United World Colleges (UWC) Youth Action Summit 2002 conference, about 40 young, motivated, multi-ethic individuals from The Netherlands (16-19 years old) worked together for three weeks with 75 young members of NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) from around the world (18 to 25 years old). For three weeks, the young participants listened daily to forward thinkers from all over the world and discussed with them. They joined roundtable sessions. And they shared their ideas until late evenings… From all that ideas and information, the young participants created 3 scenarios for sustainable development. What is the challenge of sustainable development in the world of 2032? To understand the dynamics and the possible leadership role in every scenario, the young participants took on three leadership roles to deal with tomorrows issues, based upon the archetypes of Jung:

  • Emperors (Resulting scenario ‘Global Empires’)
  • Wizard (Resulting scenario ‘United Fingerprints’)
  • Explorer (Resulting scenario ‘Humanity’)

They presented the scenarios in the townhalls of Utrecht and The Hague. After that, a delegation of the students were invited to present the scenarios at the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. Our role: We helped our client UWC The Netherlands to design the project and the assignments and we conducted the scenariobuilding sessions. Our team members: Angelique Blansjaar, Marian van Weert and Adriaan Wagenaar.

3 scenarios for sustainable development 2032

Global Empires

  • 3 major economic powerblocks, US American Block, EU, China. Those 3 ‘rule’ the world’s economy, but their separate power is only economical and social
  • Walls and Bridges between power blocks
  • Leadership role: the emperor (power, control, winning/losing)
  • Technology will help us to create a sustainable world: ’If we can make it, we must do it’

United Fingerprints

  • Forget borders. The earth is not our property
  • Everybody leaves his and her fingerprints: You are unique and original and you know there is a place where you can feel respected
  • Global interconnectedness, joined hands
  • Leadership role: the wisdom of the wizard


  • There is not one world
  • Picture the world from a new point of view’
  • The countries are all together to symbolize the globalisation of the world, which makes ‘humanity’ more powerful’
  • ‘The color of the continents is white because white symbolizes peace and naturality’
  • ’We put the world as we know it together. Now we see that there is still a lot to discover’
  • Leadership role: explorer. We have to reinvent the world.