The conference

Thingvellir. The site of the Alþing, the annual parliament of Iceland from the year 930

The Nordic Chapter of World Futures Studies Federation

Futures of Democracies

Nordic democracy as leverage for global challenges


The formal program of the conference has now been published. Individual agenda items may be subject to change.
Safe travel: It should be noted that all flights and life is normal in Iceland despite the eruption of the last weeks. Looking forward to seeing you all.

How can we inspire the rest of the world to renew democracy for the 21st century?

Join us to co-create concrete measures to ensure that democratic values are used to tackle our wicked global challenges. We invite you to take part in discussions, workshops, do-shops and talks to develop specific concrete solutions and ideas to speed up processes for citizen participation, enthusiastic youth engagement and group-action.

Using future thinking and methods we will look into possible ways to develop what we propose to call “Democracy+” as a tool to explore what is needed for a 21st century societal contract 2.0, which clearly links democracy to civil society and the need for social innovation and sees resilient democracy as a force for peace.

Focusing on 2040, positive action and concrete movement, you will be part of an action-oriented and challenge-driven 3-day camp to reframe tomorrow’s democracy.

Reykjavík 21 to 23 of February 2024 

Wednesday, 21 February

Conference leader: Ólína Þorvarðardóttir, president of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Bifröst.

13:00 – 14:00: Arrival and registration

14:00 – 14:35     Opening                            
Welcome speech.
Katrín Jakobsdóttir, prime minister of Iceland

Conference opening and tribute to Eirikur Ingólfsson        
William Fagerheim, Mind the Gap and Sævar Kristinsson, KPMG

Greetings from World future studies federation,WFSF, and the role of Nordic Chapter
Erik Overland, president of World Future studies Federation, WFSF

14:35 –15:00     Dialogue and Democracies                        
Paradigms, governance, and institutions shaping tomorrow’s democracies, by exploring values relevant for democracies.
Tone S. Ringstad. Founder and CEO of Culture Intelligence.

15:00 –15:30     Coffee/tea break                           

15:30– 16:40     Democracy — The bigger picture            
Climate shaping the future of democracy.
Martin Kruse, Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies

Paradigms, governance, and institutions shaping tomorrow’s democracies.
Jan Berger, Themis Foresight

AI shaping the futures of democracies.
Róbert Bjarnasson, Citizen Foundation 

16:40 –17:20     Role of Future committee of national parliaments.
Panel discussion.
Panel moderator: Stefanía Óskarsdóttir, professor at the University of Iceland

Participants in the panel discussion are:
Timo Harakka, Vice chairperson of Committee for the Future, Parliament of Finland.Halldóra Mogensen, chairman of the Icelandic Future Committee

17:20 –17:30     Introduction to the Labs
Siv Helen Hesjedal, These Ways and Hank Kune, Educore.

19:30 – 21:00     Social event. Visit to the Icelandic parliament, Alþingi.

Thursday, 22 February

Conference leader: Bryndís Haraldsdóttir, president of the Nordic Council.

09:00 – 10:15 Democracies in a turbulent environment                             
Participation and the Democratic Potentials of AI and Emerging Technologies: Towards a New Paradigm.
Sævar Ari Finnbogason, University Bifröst                            

Al as one of many drivers of change onto a whole new age for humanity & the planet. Implications for Democracy vs Autocracy and for Seven Evolving Aspects of Peace
Linda Groff, California State University                                                  

Etorkizuna Eraikiz (Building the Future) – Innovative program for a more open and collaborative governance.
Ibon Zugasti PROSPEKTIKER – Deputy Director of Millennium Project

Democracy must continually be reinvented. Social innovation and democracy
Jari Kaivo-oja, Finland Futures Research Centre                                 

10:15 –12:30     Labs – Session 1

Lab 1. Climate shaping tomorrow’s democracy, Room Eimskip.
Led by Martin Kruse,          

Lab 2. Paradigms, governance, and institutions shaping tomorrow’s democracies, Room Flugleidir.
Led by Siv Helen Hesjedal and Hank Kune.   

Lab 3 AI shaping tomorrows democracy, Room Hafskip.
Led by Róbert Bjarnasson

Coffee break in the Lab workspaces                                                     

12:30 –13:30     Lunch break                                                 

13:30 Labs – Session 2
The work in the lab continues.    
Presentation of discussions within each workshop. Coffee break.

17:30 – 18:00    Plenary discussion.    

18:00 – 20:00     Break before dinner                                                 

20:00     Conference dinner at the restaurant Monkeys   

Friday, 23 February

Conference leader: William Fagerheim, Mind the Gap

 09:00 – 09:10 Societal changes and attitudes

Information Warfare threats to the future of democracy (Video)
Jerome Glenn, Millennium Project

Foresight and anticipatory governance – Lessons in effective institutionalization.
Raphael Obonyo, Kenya

Free from the Gender Matrix: Unlocking the New Rules to Leadership.
Rúna Magnúsdóttir, Shaping Tomorrow‘s Leaders Today.               

09:50 – 11:00     Lab sessions continues.

Coffee break during lab sessions

11:00 – 12:30
the results from the labs. Plenary discussion.

Building democracy labs in the future.
Siv Helen Hesjedal and Hank Kune

12:00 -12:15    Establishment of the Nordic Chapter.  
Signing of memorandum of understanding.

12:15 –12:30     The road ahead and closing.
Karl Friðriksson, Sævar Kristinsson and Erik Overland 


The very fabric of society is facing eroding forces due to short-termism, climate change and non-science-based policy making and is putting peace and security at risk. Today’s democracy was never designed to be a caretaker of future generations. We in Nordic Europe see possibilities to rethink democracy to make it a better fit for future decades, working together with a broad constituency of stakeholders – and especially the voices of our young people – in a multigenerational co-design process.

How do we tackle this? That’s what this work conference is about


We will not only address questions not yet answered, but we will also look for the questions not yet asked.

By using different future methods (positive thinking, rapid prototyping, cartography, scenarios) combined with provocative contexts, we will co-develop new, action-based approaches for moving beyond talking and thinking to create testable prototypes of our most promising ideas – ideas that will be tested both during the conference and taken away to further prototype in participants’ own working environments. This will stress-test ideas, explore the resilience of tomorrow’s structures and look into long-term consequences.

By embracing complexity, uncertainty, and a sense of urgency we can make sense of chaos, explore (and map) new ways forward, based on ‘sense of opportunity’ Doing this together with new friends from other fields, backgrounds and contexts, we will not only experience how future methodologies help us ask new questions and develop sustainable and competitive solutions to wicked problems, we will have fun exploring new ways to make more desirable futures take shap


Participants will take away one or more concrete prototypes to test with their constituencies, feeding back results to us and to each other, in an iterative process we would like to see as first steps towards co-creating several local Future Labs linked to each other in on-going process for renewing European democracy.

Who we are.

The Nordic Chapter of the World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF), an UNESCO and UN consultative partner, includes the Icelandic Centre for Future Studies, Finland Futures Research Centre, and the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, as well as independent foresight practitioners in the Nordic countries, the Netherlands, and Germany. Members in the organizing committee are:

Erik Øverland

President for the World Futures Studies Federation

Magnus Jorge

Magnus Jörge

World Futures Studies Federation

Karl Friðriksson

The Icelandic Centre for Future studies


Sævar Kristinsson

The Icelandic Centre for Future studies

Toni Ahlquist

Finland Futures Research Centre

Jari Kaivo-Oja x

Jari Kaivo-oja

Finland Futures Research Centre


Mikkel Knudsen

Finland Futures Research Centre

Martin Kruse

Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies

Hank Kune


Siv Helen Hesjedal

Themis Foresight

William Fagerheim

Mind the Gap

Anna Sigurborg Ólafsdóttir

Future Committee


The event in Reykjavík is a work conference and designed so that all participants will be able to co-create together. The conference is therefore limited to 60 participants. On-site participation only.

Conference fee: 300 EUR, includes lunch for three days. 150 EUR for students.

Cancellation policy: Cancellation by 12 January 2024: Refund of conference registration less 80 EUR. cancellation fee. Cancellation after 15 January 2024: No refund fee. Substitutions are welcome.

For more information about this working conference and for registration, please visit or contact [email protected]


Side Event – Friday 23rd of February. From 14:00 to 17:30

Mapping areas of possible research activities related to the futures of democracies.

Lab/Workshop delivered by 4CF The Futures Literacy Company (Bartosz Frąckowiak & Michał Nadziak)

The Mapping areas of possible research activities related to the futures of democracies workshop will be an opportunity to actively take stock of the conference, naming what is important, what needs to be better understood in terms of the future of democracy, and how to tackle it. Using a range of design methods (Wicked Wheel, Images from the Futures, Concept-linking Map), we will map the areas where the most important and unexpected surprises of the futures of democracies may lie. We will conclude the workshop with the preparation of several Concept Cards, which will become the basis for the planning of research projects by the WFSF and its partners.

Side event - Friday 23rd of February. From 14:00-16:00

The Future of Sex & Intimacy 2052


The Future of Sex and Intimacy explores a world in which shame has been eradicated -specifically, shame associated with sex, intimacy, and relationships.

This experiential future transports participants to Clear River High School’s Social Emotional Xcellence (S.E.X) curriculum in the year 2052.

This workshop is a provocation for reflection, to challenge deeply rooted yet often unexamined beliefs and opinions, and a call for us all to lean into, rather than away from, the edges of our discomfort. It serves as a platform to facilitate contemplation on the potential implications of current trends and societal developments around 30 years into the future.

Friday 23 February. Starts at 14:00 pm, at the same venue as the conference.

Framtíðir kynlífs og nándar árið 2052

Framtíðarstofa í samstarfi við Ljóðsmæðrafélags Íslands

Framtíðarvinnustofa um framtíð kynlífs og nándar árið 2052, skoðar heim þar sem skömm hefur verið útrýmt – sérstaklega skömm sem tengist kynlífi, nánd og samböndum.

Þessi upplifunarframtíð er hluti af námskrá Clear River High School árið 2052, á sviði Social Emotional Xcellence (S.E.X)

Vinnustofan ögrar rótgrónum en oft órannsökuðum viðhorfum og skoðunum, og á að vera ákall til okkar allra að læra og njóta ólíkra viðhorfa á þessu sviði frekar en að jaðarsetja þau og þar með skapa okkur vanlíðan. Umræðan á vinnustofunni  þjónar sem vettvangur til að auðvelda íhugun um hugsanlegar afleiðingar núverandi þróunar, og samfélagsþróunar næstu 30 ár.


Social events

Registration forms for the events are below.

  1. February at 19:30. Visit to the Sky Lagoon. Reservations must be made by February 16. We have a group discount of 15% on Pure entry, 56,5 EUR.  – SOLD OUT

Experience True Icelandic Bathing Culture at our Oceanside Geothermal Lagoon. For more information, go to the website:

  1. February. Visit to the Icelandic parliament, Alþingi 

Founded at Thingvellir in southwestern Iceland c. 930, the Althing is one of the oldest national parliaments in the world. While things, representative assemblies of freemen, were widespread throughout medieval Scandinavia, the Althing represented the first such body to exercise legislative power at the national level.

  1. February. Conference dinner at the restaurant Monkeys – Going Register/Name

Everyone pays for themselves at the restaurant. The price is 72 EUR.


The menu for the dinner is as follows:

3 COURSE ICELANDIC MENU – Served in 3 servings.

Wild mushroom soup
Hazelnuts, cream cheese, fresh baked bread, whipped butter

Light salted cod “bacalao”
Slow cooked and light salted fillet of cod, whey beurre blanc sauce, cabbage, arctic char roes, onions.


Lamb duo
Fillet of lamb, slow cooked lamb belly, potato and celeriac cake, pickled beets, dried apricots.

Brownie and caramel
Chocolate covered brownie, hazelnut ice cream, whey caramel.

Price per person 72 EUR.

If there are special requests, it would be good to know about them one day in advance and send an email to [email protected]

In memory of Eiríkur Ingólfsson (1960–2019), entrepreneur in field of future studies

Eiríkur was a pioneer in introducing scenarios and foresight in Iceland. He conducted together with partners in Iceland numerous foresight studies for Icelandic companies and organizations.  Later Eirikur moved to Norway and became a well-known foresight practitioner in there. 

 Eiríkur became cand. oecon. from the University of Iceland in 1985. He also completed a master’s degree in management from Handelshøyskolen BI in 2005. In addition, he attended several courses in project management and future studies.

Eiríkur was i.e., Executive Director of SUS, The Federation of young people at Independence Party 1983-85, Executive Director of the Students’ Association 1986-90, and the Engineering Department of Hekla hf. 1990-93. He was project manager and journalist at Viðskiptablaðið 1993-94 and executive manager of ISS service unit 1994-96. He moved to Norway in 1997 and worked there i.e., at Trondheim, as executive director of Smartnett AS and later SIT Bolig AS. After that, he mainly dealt with project management and consulting both in Norway and Iceland, mainly in the field of scenarios and future matters.

 Eiríkur was one of the pioneers introducing foresight thinking in Iceland and doing his to increase cooperation between foresight practitioners in the Nordic countries.  Eiríkur wrote the book “Future – From uncertainty to success”, together with Karl Friðriksson and Sævar Kristinsson (Reykjavik 2007).  

 He was active in social affairs and held positions in student social affairs during his academic years and in the work for the Independent Party in Iceland. After Eiríkur moved to Norway, he took active part in the activities of the Conservative Party in Trondheim. Later he became the chairman of the Conservative Party in Fredrikstad.