Round table on Catalyzing Rapid Social Transformation

e-Roundtable on Catalyzing Rapid Social Transformation

9 March 2020 

Co-convened by

  • Club of Rome Project on Emerging New Civilization Initiative (ENCI)
  • WAAS-UN Project on Global Leadership in the 21st C. (GL-21) and Future Capital Initiative (FCI)

This agenda describes Part I of an online roundtable to discuss topics included in the Dubrovnik Roundtable originally scheduled on March 8 evening to March 11 afternoon and subsequently postponed due to the Corona Virus threat. A second online meeting, Part II, has also been proposed to cover other topics of the original agenda. A final scheduling will take place after assessment of the first online meeting.

Background and Rationale

Both Club of Rome and the World Academy of Art and Science are engaged in major projects that envision transformation of global society as an essential condition for addressing pressing global challenges and evolution toward a sustainable global society. COR is engaged in projects to address both short-term emergency measures to address climate change, financing of the SDGs, and long-term movement toward a new civilization. WAAS is collaborating with the United Nations Office in Geneva on strategies to promote Global Leadership in the 21st Century at a time when the world confronts a global leadership vacuum and retreat from multilateralism. WAAS is also collaborating with the UN Office of Partnerships and UNCTAD in New York on the Future Capital Initiative (FCI) on strategies to finance the SDGs.

There is considerable agreement on what has to change (e.g. collective behavior change that causes unsustainable production and consumption patterns, climate emergencies or biodiversity loss) and some agreements about the need for accelerating change in consciousness (from mindshifts to paradigm shifts to an inquiry into emerging new civilizations). But there are many institutional actors who have not yet recognized the importance of process and are preoccupied with where and what rather than how. Rarely do discourses and knowledge exchange focus on this how of approaching and (collectively) leading (small and) large systems change across the boundaries of institutions, nations, cultures and mindsets.

The first e-workshop tried to fill this gap by focusing on how we can consciously accelerate social transformation. There is an urgent need to understand how best to design, steward and lead transformative change process that accelerates collective behavior changes and structures towards widespread adoption and implementation of a global sustainability paradigm.

The purpose of the first e-workshop was to

  • Bring together thought leadership and collective action approaches to designing and leading transformative change processes.
  • Create a knowledge exchange around transformative large systems change designs and put the topic of the how of sustainability transformation on the global agenda.

Workshop flow and purpose:

1. Setting the scene for “Leading transformative pathways towards a regenerative civilization”
2. The future vision: Patchwork elements of future regenerative civilizations
3. Pathways of the past: Historical experiences of systems transformations
4. Learnings for pathways to the future: Catalyzing transformative change
5. Reflections and conclusions

e-Roundtable on Catalyzing Rapid Social Transformation

9 March 2020 

Co-convened by

  • Club of Rome Project on Emerging New Civilization Initiative (ENCI)
  • WAAS-UN Project on Global Leadership in the 21st C. (GL-21) and Future Capital Initiative (FCI)


This agenda describes Part I of an online roundtable to discuss topics included in the Dubrovnik Roundtable originally scheduled on March 8 evening to March 11 afternoon and subsequently postponed due to the Corona Virus threat. A second online meeting, Part II, has also been proposed to cover other topics of the original agenda. A final scheduling will take place after assessment of the first online meeting.

Monday 9th -- (all times are Central European Time, GMT +1)
11:00 CET

Plenary Session 1:
Welcome by CoR and WAASSandrine Dixson-Declève, Garry Jacobs, Mamphela Ramphele

11:10 Setting the scene for “Leading transformative pathways towards a regenerative civilization” – presenter Petra Kuenkel
11:20 Making Social Transformations Happen: Catalytic Leadership – WAAS UNOG Project – presenters David Chikvaidze and Garry Jacobs
11:30 Transformation barometer: What is happening already that’s moving in the right direction? – moderator Petra Kuenkel
Large group dialogue and capturing emerging preliminary insights
12:00 Examples of pathways to transformations (5 min each)
  • Economy – presenter Sandrine Dixson-Declève
  • Ecology – presenter Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir
  • Social – presenter Thomas Reuter
12:20 Breakout Session 1:
Economic, Ecological & Social Transformations (5 min each)
  • Economy – moderator Sandrine Dixson-Declève
  • Ecology – moderator Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir
  • Social – moderator Donato Kiniger-Passigli

Discussion on the following questions:

  • At which level do they take place (local, national and global level)?
  • Who is involved? What is the role of government, media, arts, measurement, social movements, civil society organizations, universities, academies and other agencies and instruments of change?
  • How do they happen? Which, strategies, emerging processes or methodologies are applied (consciously or unconsciously)?

Capture emerging insights in one slide

13:00 Lunch – (Rapporteurs prepare presentations to report back)
14:00 Plenary Session 2:
Reports on the break-out session to plenary (5 min for each group)
14:20 Historical experiences of social transformations – moderator Garry Jacobs
Inspirational Input about past transformations: (5 min each)
  • Overcoming Apartheid – presenter Mamphela Ramphele
  • Democratization in Eastern Europe – presenter Mila Popovich
  • German Energy Transition – presenter Ernst von Weizsäcker

Plenary group discussion -- other examples of systems transformations, how they emerged or were brought about.

15:00 Breakout Session 2:
Insights from social transformations of the past
  • Ecological transformations – moderator Carlos Alvarez-Periera
  • Political transformations – moderator Yi-Heng Cheng
  • Social transformations – moderator Alberto Zucconi

Choose one of the deep dives. Discuss responses to the following questions:

  • How did these systems transformations happen? Which pathways, approaches, strategies, emerging processes or methodologies furthered these transformations?
  • What was catalyzing the transformations? Which forms of leadership was catalytic?
  • What can we learn from them?

Capture emerging insights in one slide

16:00 Coffee Break -- (Rapporteurs prepare presentations to report back)
17:00 Plenary Session 3
Breakout session reports back to plenary
(max 5 minutes for each group)

Large group dialogue: Consolidation of insights from past and present transformative pathways – How to make things work? Moderator Petra Kuenkel

  • How are past and present pathways connected?
  • How can we help make them successful?
  • What are the principles behind transformative pathways?
  • How could we build on them, scale and make them more effective?
17.45 Final reflections
Insights relevant to the main programs of COR and WAAS – moderators Carlos Alvarez-Periera and Donato Kiniger-Passigli
End of the Meeting -- End of Part 1 Social Transformation Roundtable

e-Roundtable on Catalyzing Rapid Social Transformation

9 March 2020 

Co-convened by

  • Club of Rome Project on Emerging New Civilization Initiative (ENCI)
  • WAAS-UN Project on Global Leadership in the 21st C. (GL-21) and Future Capital Initiative (FCI)


  1. Carlos Alvarez-Periera previously a researcher in systems dynamics and an entrepreneur in the IT sector, Carlos promotes the emergence of a civilizational shift towards equitable wellbeing in a healthy biosphere. He focuses on socio-technical paradigm shifts towards sustainability. He is an ExCom member of the Club of Rome and Fellow of WAAS.
  2. Zbigniew Bochniarz is a professor of economics at prestigious universities and is the author of many publications, including 15 books published in 12 languages.  His teaching and research focus on sustainable development, comparative environmental policies, microeconomics of competition, and sustainability assessment of transformation processes in post-communist countries. He is a WAAS Trustee.
  3. Yi-Heng Cheng has chemical engineering background and is a guest professor at College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University, Shanghai. He is a technical consultant in Clean Coal Technologies and CO2–Resourcing, practitioner of Applied Consciousness for Holistic Healing, and a member of the Club of Rome.
  4. David Chikvaidze serves as Chef de Cabinet to his third Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG). He occupied this position previously, from 2006 to 2011. In 2011-2013, he was Director of the UN Library at Geneva and Chairman of the UNOG Cultural Activities Committee. He has worked for over thirty-three years in the foreign, government and international civil services. He is a Fellow of WAAS.
  5. Sandrine Dixson-Declѐve has 30+ years of European and international policy, business leadership and strategy experience with a particular focus on EU and international climate change, sustainable development, green growth, conventional and sustainable energy solutions and sustainable finance. She is currently the Co-President of the Club of Rome and divides her time between lecturing, facilitating difficult conversations and advisory work. 
  6. Rodolfo A. Fiorini is Professor of Bioengineering at the Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering (DEIB), Politecnico di Milano University, Italy. He is the founder and coordinator of the Research Group on Computational Information Conservation Theory (CICT), and currently he is responsible for the main course on Wellbeing Technology Assessment (WTA) at DEIB. He has published over 300 articles and presentations in international journals, books, etc. He is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS), Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science (JTiBS), Member of AAAS, IEEE and EMBS, and is a renowned international scientific presenter, conference chairman, keynote and plenary speaker.
  7. Robert Hoffman, an economist by training and systems modeler by vocation, Robert Hoffman has been involved in integrated socio-economic and biophysical systems modeling for four decades, first as an analyst and research program director at the Canadian statistical office, then as Research Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo, and since 1990 as founder and principal of whatIf? Technologies Inc. He is a Member of the Club of Rome, a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science and a Trustee of the American Society for Cybernetics
  8. Robert Horn is a political scientist with a special interest in policy communication, social and organizational learning, and knowledge management (especially in sustainability and national security affairs).  For the past 27 years, he has been a Senior Researcher at Stanford University's Human Science and Technology Advanced Research Institute (H-STAR) and has taught at Harvard and Columbia universities. His large info-murals and “mess mapping” process enable decision making groups get their minds around larger contexts for strategic discussions. He was the synthesizer and visualizer for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Vision 2050 project and the European-Commission-supported project on policy options for a resource efficient Europe (POLFREE) for 2050
  9. Obiora Francis Ike is a Nigerian Catholic Priest, Prelate, scholar, grassroots development practitioner and human right activist. He is the Founder and Director of the Nigerian Ethics Research Centre, the Catholic Institute of Development, Justice, Peace and Caritas, Co-Founder and Chairman of the leading Nigerian Umuchinemere Microfinance Bank, and Chairman of the Enugu State Economic Advisory Committee. He is also Professor and Chair for Ethics and Intercultural Studies at the Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. A recipient of over 50 awards, Ike’s activities are dedicated to youth development, poverty eradication, health, conflict management, interreligious dialogue and values-driven leadership
  10. Garry Jacobs is an American social scientist, author and management consultant. He is President and CEO of the World Academy of Art & Science, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the World University Consortium, a Full Member of Club of Rome International, and Director of Social Science Research at The Mother’s Service Society (India). His research, consulting work and publications focus on the need for integrated, transdisciplinary, human-centered and value-based theories and strategies to promote peace, employment, social equality and sustainable development in the fields of business, economy, education, governance, and international security.
  11. Till Kellerhoff works as Program Manager at the international secretariat of the Club of Rome in Winterthur, Switzerland. He joined the Club in 2017 after completing a Masters degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
  12. Donato Kiniger-Passigli is a specialist in humanitarian action and governance, risk and crisis management, business continuity and partnership-building, development cooperation, strategic communication and leadership development. He is Vice President of the World Academy of Art and Science and its Special Representative at the UN in Geneva. He is also Special Adviser at UNITAR, providing strategic and technical guidance in the framework of post-conflict stabilization, reconstruction and social inclusion. He has served in the UN for more than a quarter century in various capacities. He also served as head of office in Belgrade for the UN peacekeeping mission and managed large UN development programmes. He is a journalist and a member of the Italian Press Federation.
  13. Petra Kuenkel is an Executive Committee Member of the Club of Rome International. As a trained organizational psychologist, political science scholar and expert in complex multi-stakeholder collaborations she promotes systems transformations through a collective stewardship approach. As the founder and executive director of the Collective Leadership Institute, she has developed transformative change methodologies that are widely used for systems transformations in environmental, social and economic change by collective action networks, public sector, corporations, and civil society.
  14. Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien has 15 years of experience in strategic management, corporate sustainability and responsibility, advisory services, microfinance, rural development, project design and implementation, capacity building, enterprise development, and corporate governance spanning the private sector, public sector and civil society in Africa and Europe. As the Chief Strategy Officer of Strategy and Execution Ltd, Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien consulted for the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources on the development of the National Food Security Program (2008-2010).
  15. Mila Popovich is a Comparative Literature and Humanities scholar. A Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, she serves as the Chair of the Academy’s Nominations and Evaluations Committee. She has published on a range of interdisciplinary topics such as international cinema, nationalism and women’s issues, new economic paradigm and global crisis. Popovich is engaged in environmental and women’s issues in her resident community of Denver, Colorado.
  16. Mamphela Ramphele is someone with a lifetime of achievement despite overwhelming challenges. She received her Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) from the University of Natal. In 1991 she received her PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town. She has also authored and edited a number of books. In October 2018, she was appointed co-president of The Club of Rome.
  17. Thomas Reuter is an anthropologist and Asia expert at the University of Melbourne. He was chair of the World Council of Anthropological Associations (2008-2012), Senior Vice-President of the International Union of Anthropologists (2008-2018), on the executive committee of the International Social Science Council (2013-2018) and an expert advisor to IPBES, WSDR and IPCC. He is a board member of Future Earth (Asia) and WAAS as well as a Fellow of the European Academy. His research in Indonesia is focused on indigenous people, social movements, religion, political elites, ecology, climate change, food security and globalization.
  18. Philippe Szokolóczy-Syllaba is a Swiss national who started his career in 1987as a lawyer in Geneva. In 2005 he launched My Global Advisor. My Global Advisor is a member of the Groupement Suisse des Conseils en Gestion Indépendants and is affiliated to Polyreg (, a Self-Regulated Organisation approved by FINMA. In recent years Philippe Szokoloczy-Syllaba has focused on establishing links between sustainable agro ecological projects and the world of finance. He is a regular speaker at conferences and contributor to magazines on tax, agro ecology and finance related topics.
  19. Tibor Tóth from 2005 to 2013, he was the Executive Head of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization’s Prep-Com (CTBTO). CTBTO operates a global system of around 500 monitoring and communication facilities around the globe, representing a 1 billion dollar investment. He was the first ever head of a global intergovernmental organization elected from the Eastern European region. He has more than three decades of leadership experience in UN, multilateral matters and critical technologies. Tóth served as Ambassador of Hungary to the UN in Geneva, Vienna and The Hague. In between 1986 and 2013, Tóth participated in all sessions of the UN General Assembly and its subsidiary bodies in New York. Ambassador Tóth chaired for an accumulated period of 25 years several global intergovernmental diplomatic conferences and fora. He was member and Chair of the WMD Council of the World Economic Forum (2011-2013). He is Executive Secretary Emeritus of the CTBTO. He is member of the High-Level Peer Group of the EU Science and Knowledge Service (JRC).
  20. Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir is an academic and an activist. Her research publications, teaching and activism focus on sustainability from a system’s perspective. She is on the Icelandic government´s Energy Policy Committee and its Climate Council. She has advised the government on higher education, education for sustainable development, nature protection, genetically modified organisms, futures thinking, and government policy plan. Vala has advised on green policies in Iceland, Sweden, UK, Bhutan and China and on European Commission’s Circular Economy Strategy.
  21. Ernst von Weiszacker has been Co-President of the Club of Rome between 2012 and 2018. Ernst served as professor, dean and director of several universities and institutes, such as the UN Centre for Science and Technology for Development and the graduate School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California. He founded the Wuppertal Institute, a thinktank on energy efficiency, material flows and climate policy. He was Member of the German Bundestag, chairing the Committees on Globalization and the Environment. In 2007, he was appointed Co-Chair of UNEP’s International Resource Panel.
  22. Alberto Zucconi is President of the Person-Centered Approach Institute (IACP), founded with Carl Rogers. Alberto is Chair of the WAAS Board of Trustees, Secretary General of the World University Consortium and WAAS representative at UNESCO. He has been promoting the applications of the Person-Centered Approach in various settings in his international activities of training, teaching and consulting.

Catalytic Leadership
Garry Jacobs

Democratization in Eastern Europe
Mila Popovich

Making Social Transformations Happen
Donato Kiniger-Passigli

Transformation Barometer
Petra Kuenkel

Shift to a Wellbeing Economy
Sandrine Dixson-Declѐve

Overcoming Apartheid
Mamphela Ramphele

German Energy Transition
Ernst von Weizsäcker

Social Examples of Pathways to Transformations
Thomas Reuter