WFSF Middle East and North Africa Chapter

Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University

A Word from the Director

There are many centers around the world devoted to research into foresight and the methods humans deploy to imagine the future. Yet, there is something unique about Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University’s center for Futuristic Studies. It is a newly created hub in the Middle East for research on prediction and anticipation. Researchers at the center investigate not only ways to imagine the future and their impact on behavior, but also cultural differences in human imagination.

Our center for Futuristic Studies provides a particularly fertile setting for research on imagining the future because of its specific forms of diversity and its status as a society in transition. In its urban centers and rural areas, it hosts largely underrepresented and diverse communities as defined by ethnicity, gender, occupation, and educational attainment. Its past of closely guarded isolation and its recent attempts at integration into the global discourse have made it a prototypical model of a society in transition. Of course, societies across the globe are continuously changing. However, in some societies (such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), changes are so substantial and swift that local modes of being become relegated to souvenirs of the past, whereas imported modes spread as the inescapable signs of ostensibly desirable standards. Evidence exists that people from individualistic and collectivistic cultures (e.g. Westerners versus Asians of the Far East) perceive change differently. However, it is unclear how change, and specifically intense change, is perceived by the people in a society in transition. The society of KSA has been labeled collectivistic. Yet, individualism is on the rise. Thus, it is entirely possible that in a period of transition, traditional (local) anticipatory systems and processes coexist with other modes. Responses to technological changes, such as tracking applications or social media, as well as ideological changes, such as an emerging global South, are not fossilized, but tend to be altered as other events are added to the caldron of human existence. It is this caldron that researchers at the Center for Futuristic Studies of Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University have put at the epicenter of their research efforts.

Dr. Muamar Hasan Salameh