There are many conferences and public forums, what is unique about the State of the World Forum?

The Forum events and its network are unique for a number of reasons: 

(1) While most conferences cater to specific constituencies, the Forum brings together traditional and nontraditional leaders from around the world and from a multiplicity of disciplines.  Forum participants include heads of state, Nobel Laureates, scholars, grassroots activists, business executives, scientists, policy makers, religious leaders, and artists.  Women play an important role in the process, representing at least half of all presenting roles, and youth are integrated into all Forum activities.

(2) The Forum recognizes that the global crisis of spirit must be given as much priority as economic, scientific, cultural, and political issues.  Therefore, the presentations and dialogues at Forum gatherings are cross-disciplinary and often unconventional, providing a new level of insight into recurrent human challenges.

(3) The Forum has always emphasized the inherent connection between word and deed, believing that dialogue without action can become disconnected, and activity without reflection can be ill-conceived. 

It is the integration of its Strategic Initiatives with its substantive dialogues, combined with the inclusion of matters of spirit with secular issues and the active inclusion of diverse constituencies, that gives the Forum its dynamism and uniqueness.

Why does it cost $5,000 per person to participate in the Forum annual event?

The $5,000 fee operates as a grant to the Forum whether you attend as a participant of the event or just want to make a contribution.  The majority of this money goes to underwriting the cost to bring over 400 fellows each year, in particular women, youth, and grassroots leaders from around the world who otherwise would not have the resources to attend the Forum proceedings.  $3,500 is considered a tax-deductible donation.  The remainder of the fee pays the hard costs, such as meals, security, event production, and the operating budget for the Forum.

What is the relationship between the State of the World Forum and the Gorbachev Foundation?

Mikhail Gorbachev and The Gorbachev Foundation/USA convened the first State of the World Forum in 1995.  The success of this conference led to the establishment of the State of the World Forum as a separate non-profit organization working independently from the Gorbachev Foundation.  Mr. Gorbachev is now one of the twenty international Co-Chairs of the Forum.

How is the Forum funded?  Who supports it?

The Forum is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization.  Approximately 50% of the Forum's funding is received from participant fees for Forum events.  The remainder comes from grants by foundations, corporations and individuals.

The Forum's largest contributors include the Abraham Fund, Archer Daniels Midland Co., Carnegie Corporation of New York, Hewlett Packard Company, Fetzer Institute, Kellogg Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Merck Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund, among others.

How can I participate if I can't pay the $5,000 for the annual conference?

In addition to the hundreds of fellows the Forum underwrites each year, there are also a limited number of scholarships available for individuals who are financially unable to cover the costs of attending Forum events.

The Forum is also continually seeking to increase and diversify participation by providing access to the discussion for those unable to attend the Forum in person.  The Forum is expanding its communication efforts to reach out to a broader community  through this website and through strategic media partnerships including BBC Worldwide, CNN and C-Span. In addition, the Forum publishes a quarterly journal and has available a series of archived audiotapes and speeches from past Forums.