'There are good reasons for suggesting that the modern age has ended.  Many things indicate that we are going through a transitional period when it seems that something is on the way out and something else is painfully being born.  It is as if something were crumbling, decaying and exhausting itself, while something else, still indistinct, were arising from the rubble.'
--Vaclav Havel

Rigoberta Menchú Tum with Youth Participants, 1995 Forum

We are living in a time of immense turbulence, challenge and opportunity.  Ancient institutions and systems of belief which have brought us to the present moment are being shattered by the force of change, compelled to either renew themselves or perish.  This is so because what is arising within and around us is nothing less than the birth of the first global civilization.  It is our generation in our time to which has fallen the great task of its birthing and first definition.

The reality of globalization and the concomitant yearning for individual and ethnic identity compels us to create a new understanding of unity and diversity which must be so affirmative that it suggests a way to re-invent the world and so transparently appropriate that its possible applications will inspire people everywhere to create new opportunities through which they can participate in the next phase of the human journey.

The core mission of the State of the World Forum is to establish an enabling environment and to serve as a Secretariat for the gathering of leaders and citizens from around the world and a spectrum of disciplines to search together for those new frameworks of values required for this new phase of human development; and within this context to take concerted action -- strategic initiatives -- to help give shape to the world we envision.

That a group of thoughtful and motivated individuals would gather in this manner is not unusual; indeed, it replicates a very deeply human and historic response to crisis and change.  Many of the earlier civilizations which have appeared in the 6,000 years of our recorded history have largely been created by groups of so-called "creative minorities" or "sapiential circles" -- independent individuals who came together to articulate and take up challenges being ignored by declining and out-dated concepts, organizations and governments.

The State of the World Forum seeks to address the challenge of renewal by joining with those individuals and organizations worldwide who are similarly concerned.  Working in partnership with others, the Forum seeks to:

  • raise the quality of the dialogue concerning the great issues confronting humanity as it enters the era of globalization and increased human diversity;

  • engage in concrete programs which are global in scope and of fundamental importance to the long-term well-being of the human community;

  • empower those individuals who are participating in the process of social change with hope and the tools of leadership; and

  • offer the larger world community a vision of transformation at a time when the central challenge confronting all of us in whatever walk of life is that of renewal, refinement and renaissance.

As it seeks to fulfill its mission, the State of the World Forum will be guided by two historic truths:  first, that the quality of new civilizations have primarily been shaped by the quality of vision and action which preceded their arrival; and second, that the groups which generated the greatest changes were those which set the boldest and most daring goals.  Their results became inordinately important -- they turned humanity onto new paths.