Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on 16 and 17 September 2015, against the background of an escalating refugee crisis in Europe, the Global Challenges Foundation and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) co-hosted the Launch of the Global Knowledge Networking Initiative in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS).

 In support, they invited a distinguished and diverse group of experts from around the world to guide the way ahead and convened its Inaugural Conference entitled, “Toward a Smart Century: Global Partnerships for Innovative Learning and Leader Development.” Participants helped to shape a broad understanding of the continuing role that Global Knowledge Networking (GKN) should play in empowering future leaders, their organizations, and institutions to address global challenges through integrated approaches that make knowledge manageable and actionable.

 The Inaugural Conference explored the means of promoting greater resilience to complex emergencies and shared global threats posed to the environment, human security (including health), maritime and cyber security, and energy security, as well as challenges posed by terrorism and hybrid warfare.  A shared understanding emerged that humankind is moving quickly towards a knowledge-based Smart Society in which the networking and cross-fertilization of ideas through an innovative education and training development hub can foster smart collaboration.  A dynamic approach to the discovery and co-development of new capabilities can help build trust and collaboration among many cities and nations, effectively empowering readiness through enhanced community resilience, connecting generations, and cultivating a wide array of new global partnerships.

 The Inaugural Conference, therefore, decided to create this future, concluding that new pathways toward holistic, cross-discipline and divergent thinking–which can empower connectivity, information sharing and fusion through a comprehensive approach–must be pursued.  Having achieved consensus that a smart security, global knowledge capability is needed, the Inaugural Conference established the Global Resilience Readiness Initiative.   (See link to GKN Conference Flyer and the Geneva Declaration in the 2015 Archive).