The National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), the Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes (PfP-
C) and the Global Challenges Forum (GCF) Foundation organized in Washington, DC on 15-16 May 2017 an informal 40-person Roundtable Workshop entitled “Shock, Stress & Innovation – Reinventing Global Resilience for the Information and Knowledge Age.”

Humankind is moving quickly towards a knowledge-based Smart Society in which the networking and cross-fertilization of ideas through innovative education and training products can foster smart collaboration. At the same time, vulnerabilities and threats have grown, stress and shock have become permanent companions, resilience has become an on-going concern, thus requiring constant adaptation and innovation. Creating conditions for resilience can foster greater adaptability and innovation, and enhance decentralized, self-organized and emergent, adaptive behaviour.

In response, the inaugural 17-18 September 2015 launch of Global Knowledge Networking (GKN) co-convened by the U.N. Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Global Challenges Forum led to the Geneva Declaration, which established a “Global Resilience Readiness Initiative.”

The 15-16 May Roundtable Workshop, carried out under this ongoing initiative, brought together practitioners from disparate fields to generate new ideas on how to build partnerships through shared consciousness leading to empowered execution. To this end, it invited professionals and experts of diverse disciplines to contribute to a collaborative production where all parties profit; a program that will not stop when dinner is served.


Resilience is a wide-ranging topic. The workshop participants agreed that, even more than that, it has become a strategic task. Consequently, an innovative approach to enhancing resilience strategy needs to be developed that takes a comprehensive approach towards military and civil/societal needs. Three key elements will likely instruct the intended strategy deliveries focusing to design appropriate action in building adequate resilience readiness.

  • Networking relevant actors and capabilities is not only at the core of NATO`s network enabling capabilities. Regional networks such as those being established in the Arab world can create new synergies.
  • Capitalizing on the collective problem-solving capacity in organizations, nations, and societies, clearly not only within identified sectors, but rather cross sectoral, employing the creativity of involved actors, thus leveraging advances in information and knowledge, research and observations to address emerging resilience challenges.
  • Embedding resilience into security and prosperity (related) operations and systems by transforming the approach to societal, industrial and military resilience.

Not only governments and international organisations, industry and the military need to strengthen their ties to support each other during times of need, but more than that: resilience builds on the involvement of all stakeholders to include individual actors.


During the workshop, Mr. Alex Mejia of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) conveyed the proposal to help create a two-layered strategy to engage with important topic of Cyber Security: comprised of a global outreach platform (that could be hosted on a multi-audience website) and of a private community of practice (the Global Cyber-Security Academy).


The United Nations wants to join forces with main stakeholders like the U.S. DoD to avoid a fragmented approach to capacity-building to strengthen cyber-security. Mr. Mejia said “the Global Challenges Forum is indeed a trusted partner of UNITAR and we appreciate the vision you have presented to increase the readiness of practitioners in this field. We look forward to working with you and others in the future.”


The Roundtable Workshop served as the primary planning meeting for the second GKN event, a 250-person Symposium to be held in Washington, DC on 26-27 April 2018 entitled, “Global Resilience Readiness: Toward a Persistent Federated Approach.” Three key themes have been identified for further exploration at the Symposium: Building persistence in resilience, engaging partners and expanding education, experimentation and exercises.