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Global Challenges

The World is Going Through Revolutionary Changes. Where are we seeing the greatest change?

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World population has grown at an alarming rate over the past 200 years.  The population of the world stands at about seven billion people today and is projected to increase to about 9-10 billion people by 2050. But growth is not the only key trend related to population. This global challenge focuses on significant trends related to population, trends in areas such as aging, migration and urbanization.  What effects will population trends have on our future world?


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Resource management is a key issue facing the world currently and to the year 2030 and beyond.  Food, water, and energy are all being consumed at unprecedented rates.  While technological advances have the potential to mitigate some of these strains, population trends will increasingly test the ability of humanity to find enough natural resources to thrive.  This global challenge provides in-depth information relating to resource trends related to water, food, energy and climate.  What effects will trends in the area of resources have on our future world?


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Over the next 20 years, computation, biotechnology and genomics will drive technological transformation and diffusion. Computing will continue to increase in speed and ubiquity, medical breakthroughs will prolong and enrich our lives, and nanotechnology will reach molecular and even atomic levels. The speed at which technologies are changing in the fields of genetics, computing and neuroscience has the potential of changing what it means to be a human being. Technology will increasingly test the ability of individuals, cultures, and governments to adapt to new opportunities and dangers.  This global challenge focuses on trends in the areas of computation, biotechnology, nanotechnology and transhumanism.   What effects will trends in technology have on our future world?


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The best students and entrepreneurs in the world are no longer limited by geography and their countries’ stage of economic development.  As information technology continues to reach these individuals, they will be able to compete more directly with those in the developed world.  In a highly dynamic, knowledge-based global economy, constant learning and retraining are not simply desirable – they are essential.  Information challenges are also facilitating the decentralization and proliferation of media. Information is changing in so many ways -- how information is disseminated, how we receive it, what we do with it, and how it impacts us both today and in the future.  This global challenge focuses on trends in the areas of data growth, access, social networking, information integrity and knowledge.  What effects will information trends have on our future world?


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The trends of economic liberalization and global integration are expected to continue through 2030 and beyond.  What will that mean for individuals and countries?  This global challenge focuses on trends in the areas of economic interconnectedness, emerging players, debt and poverty.  What effects will economic trends have on our future world?


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What is conflict?  What causes it?  What is the nature of conflict?  How can we resolve conflict?  How can we cope with changes in conflict in the shifting paradigm of a post-9-11 world?  What effects will trends in the area of conflict have on our future world?


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We have crossed into a new period of governance – from the Westphalian state system to a world with a powerful set of actors outside of traditional governments. The challenges we explore will test our leaders as they seek innovative solutions. Many of these solutions will require approaches involving multiple layers of social organization.  Finding innovative and effective solutions to these global problems will require strategic coalitions consisting of state and non-state actors: IGOs, IFIs, NGOs, MNCs, global philanthropies, and others as necessary.  Can state and non-state actors work together to address problems and create preferable futures related to population, natural resource management, technology, information, economic development, conflict, and other global issues?  This global challenge focuses on trends in the areas of state governments, failed states, international organizations, multinational corporations and nongovernmental organizations. What effects with trends in governance have on our future world?




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Course Outline


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Part 1

Introduction and Overview

Lesson 1: Introduction


Part 2

Studying the Global Challenges

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Lesson 2: Population

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Lesson 3: Resources

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Lesson 4: Technology

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Lesson 5: Information

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Lesson 6: Economies

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Lesson 7: Conflict

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Lesson 8: Governance


Part 3

Strategic Leadership, Call to Action

Lesson 9: Global Citizenship

Lesson 10: Integration and Summary


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Course Content

The course contains the following:

  • Course and lesson objectives

  • Critical thinking exercises

  • Readings

  • Imbedded videos

  • Assignments

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Pre-packaged Assignments

The course contains the following pre-packaged, but fully customizable, assignments:

  • 10 quizzes

  • 10 discussion forums

  • Global Village Blog

  • Midterm

  • Final exam