I had heard so many things about Dr. Jim Dator, professor of political science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The ‘father of futures studies in north america’, one of the ‘pillars and inventors of the field’, that it felt intimidating to be about to meet him on my trip through Malaysia in late 2011 (the WFSF mini conference). Would I meet an arrogant man who would snub his nose at a mere mortal such as I? Would I be grilled for any theoretical inconsistency I naively express?
Well, I was really and pleasantly surprised by Jim’s way of being. Yes he is one of the founders of the FS field, but he was very approachable and had an amazingly warm and inviting demeanor. Of course he was brutally honest about how he saw FS and the futures of the planet in general, but done so in a way that connects and inspires.
I had decided I would do a series of interviews with WFSF members at the WFSF mini conference in Penang on ‘Why futures studies’ – short snippets on what FS is and why it is important. I was totally demoralized when all my computer equipment was stolen from my hotel room at the YMCA Penang on the second day of the trip. Fortunately, I had my canon 7d with me on my body the first day of the conference as my goods were looted from my room. So despite being rather distraught, I still had the technological wherewithal to continue. After licking my wounds for a few days, on the last day I finally mustered the energy and focus to do some interviews with whoever was left.
And I am really glad I did, because Jim gives the most concise and powerful 8 min articulation of ‘Why Futures Studies’ I’ve heard in a while. It made me want to study in the field yet again! So a very personal thanks to Jim.
So here I kick off the ‘Why Futures Studies?’ series with Dr. Jim Dator. There are about 4-5 more to come in this series over the next month of so. All short but sweet. Hope you enjoy.