Fall 2023 Updates

Fall has brought a lot of activity to New Silk Roads. We've been busy developing programs, exploring new geographies, and expanding our core team.

Click here to explore our current work in business development, facilitation, fundraising, and more!

Futures Thinking Sessions at EVPA's Collaborate4Impact Event

2023 Jun 27

New Silk Roads (NSR) was thrilled to facilitate at the EVPA's Collaborate4Impact event in Tbilisi, Georgia, which gathered impact ecosystem builders from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa to shape the future of impact in their regions.

Using future thinking, New Silk Roads team members Ines Khedira and Katie Bentivoglio facilitated sessions on envisioning the future of impact ecosystems, where they explored inclusive social innovation, sustainable economies, the resilience of social enterprises, and driving systemic change through the social economy.

NSR also led co-creation sessions between partners and donors on the future of investing for impact, and fostered community amongst ecosystem builders from different regions.

Winter 2023 Updates

It’s been a busy start to 2023 as we kick off a number of new projects, both with longstanding partners and several new clients.

Click here to read more about current work in business development, futures thinking, fundraising, and more!

Futures Lab: What If Climate Adaptation Were Local?

2022 Nov 18

What if climate adaptation were local? Immediately following the COP 27, Hivos and the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment collaborated with New Silk Roads and الرحلة (ElRehla) to organize a Futures Lab in Sinai – Egypt, to explore the future of just green transitions in Africa.

The Lab convened pioneering entrepreneurs, scientists, climate enthusiasts, techies, investors, and civil society members from countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Sudan, Tunisia, Palestine and Uganda. Participants used a “futures thinking” approach to construct hopeful scenarios for localized climate adaptation to support the health of the planet, people, and societies.


Watch the Futures Talks series

The need to imagine alternative futures of Climate Change is more pressing than ever. Ahead of COP27, watch our most recent Futures Talks:

  • Designing for the Future: Utopia, Dystopia, and Demystifying Complexity, featuring Sherif El Diwany and Sherif Goubran [Watch here]

  • “More-Than-Human” Mobility: The Future of Sustainable Cities in Egypt, featuring Momen El-Husseiny and Noran Abdou [Watch here]

  • The Stories Behind Uncertain Futures: Using Scenario Planning to Imagine the Future of Energy, featuring Salma Nagy and Moataz Darwish [Watch here]

This series was hosted in partnership with the AUC Innovation Hub and under the Hivos GreenWorks Alliance.

Fall 2022 Updates

It’s almost 2023! As we wrap up this year, we’d like to share how we’re working with our partners to do good, as well as exciting projects to come.

Read more about it!

Vertical Atlas Book Launch

2022 Oct 27

New Silk Roads is excited to invite you to the upcoming launch of VerticalAtlas on October 27th, 2022, 20:00 - 22:00 at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.

The event will feature talks by 𝗡𝗮𝗻𝗷𝗮𝗹𝗮 𝗡𝘆𝗮𝗯𝗼𝗹𝗮, 𝗕𝗲𝗻𝗷𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗻 𝗛. 𝗕𝗿𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗼𝗻 and a performance by 𝗙𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗼𝗶𝘀 𝗞𝗻𝗼𝗲𝘁𝘇𝗲⁠⁠. The exhibition includes work of Geocinema, Isaac Kariuki, Francois Knoetze, Emo De Medeiros, Andrej Škufca, Suzanne Treister, and Qiu Zhijie. The exhibition is open from 27th October - 27th November 2022.

Make sure you reserve your free ticket for the book launch and exhibition opening here: https://tinyurl.com/RSVPVerticalAtlas

Or tune in online via live stream : https://stream.hetnieuweinstituut.nl/

To learn more about Vertical Atlas, we invite to check their website: https://www.digitalearth.art/vertical-atlas

Futures Lab: What If Real Estate Accelerates a Green Transition?

2022 Sep 22

We are convening a 3-day Futures Lab in Egypt “What If Real Estate Accelerates a Green Transition?” around just green transitions and decent employment creation in Africa. The lab will reunite business leaders, investors, policymakers, and researchers to imagine how the Egyptian real estate sector could adapt to the realities of climate change.

Futures Talk x Pierre-Christophe Gam

2022 Mar 24

Join us for the upcoming Futures Talk with Pierre-Christophe Gam, “The Accelerator of the Imagination: Dreams, Futures Thinking, and Storytelling”, on March 24, 2022 at 18:00 CET.

To attend, please register in advance here: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_qtIUj2fZQXa6Xji4C3nHRQ

Through the lens of Gam's work on creating new narratives inspired by myths stemming from Africa, the African diaspora, and pre-colonial heritage, this Futures Talk webinar will explore how to activate these narratives through interactive physical and virtual spaces, and the fusion between futures thinking and storytelling practices.

Pierre-Christophe Gam is a multimedia artist who creates new narratives inspired by myths stemming from Africa, the African diaspora, and pre-colonial heritage. His recent work is an hybrid art installation that fuses VR, film, photography, and mixed-media sculpture to imagine the future of Africa from the perspective of an African family living in 2070. He trained at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Decoratifs in Paris and at the Central St. Martins School in London. In pre-colonial West Africa, griots were the guardians of the memory of the community, which they passed on through initiation songs and stories. Gam sees his practice as a continuation of this great tradition.

Futures Talk x Chiara Di Leone

2022 Feb 22

Hi everyone!

You are invited to join our online Talk with Chiara Di Leone. This talk aims to critically examine scenario planning by positioning it in the larger tradition of future imagining infrastructures, using a wide set of case studies.

To register, click here

Scenario planning (SP) is a world-building technique, a literary genre, and a strategic analysis tool. It consists of writing quasi-fictional episodes—scenarios—about the future as if the writer and the reader were already living in that specific future. Today, scenario planning is the most popular long-term strategic analysis method across the world. Born as a military technique aiming to rationalize the anxieties and endless stalemates of the Cold Wars, it was an instant hit in the planning and forecasting fields.

SP’s language and constructs of time—through the development of worst-/best-case scenarios, pathways, variables, probability space, known unknowns—inform geopolitical shifts, including the management of energy sources, the financial crisis, tax reforms, and, most crucially, the climate. It is no stretch to say that today SP is used in all organizations, one way or another. Despite its ubiquity, its specific conceits of time remain as widespread as they are unscrutinised and unquestioned. Scenario planning has become infrastructural.

About the speaker
Chiara Di Leone is a writer and researcher on economic narratives, anticipatory governance, and climate interventions, among other things. Her essays appear in several publications including TANK, KALEIDOSCOPE, Strelka Mag, and RealReview. Chiara regularly advises institutions through design research - clients include BBC R&D and Serpentine Galleries.

New Silk Roads offers a range of futures thinking programs focused on collectively imagining preferred futures and producing bold, innovative future scenarios. New Silk Roads’ work is guided by the values of the silk roads of the past: trust, interconnectedness, and international solidarity. For over ten years, New Silk Roads has been working with a range of clients, including international organisations, companies, and creative enterprises.

Futures Talks are being implemented by New Silk Roads as an alliance member of the GreenWorks program led by Hivos and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

For any questions, please contact New Silk Roads at info@newsilkroads.com

Annual Report 2021

2022 Mar 01

Introduction by the Board

Different from what we all hoped, the year 2021 was fully absorbed by the pandemic and the consequences that affected all of us in different ways. Quite a challenge for all of us, for New Silk Roads not any less. We kept asking ourselves the question: how do we keep making a real difference while respecting our values of trust, connectedness and international solidarity in these challenging times for everyone?

In the Future Labs project these old silk route values make a beautiful connection with the present and the future. The new connections, collaborations and friendships following these events are inspiring. Also our other projects that will be explained in this annual report reflect these values and ongoing effort to help to see the world differently. In addition to the Future Labs, we like to highlight the BDSO Support and the Madar project. The BDSO Support was successfully continued last year in Tunisia, despite the challenging economic, (geo)political and societal context for all involved parties. It was very helpful that we could operate locally and therefore continue the training, tenders and other support. The Madar project matched a lot of startups through coaching and hybrid events. We are very much looking forward to the follow up!

On a more organizational level we are happy with our new visual identity and accompanying website that went live. We will continue to further professionalize our governance, but made great progress in formalizing processes and further optimizing our finance report systems.

For 2022 we are looking forward to expanding our current projects and developing new projects as well, of course. The Future Labs will have its kick-off in Egypt and continue to further explore stories and collaborations in Tunisia and the Netherlands. For the BDSO Support we are happy to be more with our feet on the ground in Egypt, a nice synergy with the Future Labs indeed, and also continue the trainings in Tunisia.

A warm thank-you to everyone who helped make 2021 such a good and inspiring year for New Silk Roads. We are truly grateful to our team of directors and consultants, all editors, artists, thinkers and all business and social partners for working closely together and for their enormous commitment and contribution to help to see the world differently.

March 2022,
Board of Stichting New Silk Roads
Dorothé Bongaerts-Stubbé
Boudewijn Niels


Winter 2022 Updates

2022 Feb 03

For over ten years, we have been guided by the values embodied by the old Silk Road: trust, connectedness, and international solidarity. Amidst all the disruptions and uncertainty of the previous years, these values have continued to guide our work. In 2021, New Silk Roads convened several futures thinking programs in Egypt and Tunisia which produced bold, localised visions for our shared futures. With our partners, New Silk Roads also raised EUR 2.5 million, including partners under the GreenWorks Alliance and Madar.

In 2022, we’re also launching Futures Talks, an online series which invites the intellectual travelers of today to share how they utilize futures thinking within their respective work. For an overview of all our current and past projects, we invite you to visit our portfolio.

We wish you all a healthy and inspiring 2022 and hope to meet you along the new silk roads!

The New Silk Roads Team

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Futures Lab 2021

2021 Jun 08

We are proudly presenting our Future Lab 2021 program. We gather Tunisia's boldest -and bravest- minds to imagine alternative futures and construct scenarios around the question "What If the Future Were Rural? Imagining Just Food Systems in Tunisia. Stay tuned.

Annual Report 2020

2021 Feb 01

Introduction by the Board

The year 2020 was unique and unprecedented for everyone all over the world due to a pandemic that affected all of us in more than one way. The values of the silk roads of the past have gained even more value in this year full of disruptions: trust, connectedness and international solidarity. All our projects, advice and support are inspired by these values and we can be proud of what has been achieved. We made decisive progress as a guide to see the world differently, even more different than it already looks due to the challenging economic, (geo)political and societal context that will continue in 2021 and much longer than we would like to see.

We are pleased that we continued to develop various projects to support our partners in their international, social and creative business. Our main current projects will be explained in this annual report, but we like to highlight the Vertical Atlas and the Future Thinking School because it shows our progress so well.
The Vertical Atlas is a new atlas to help us navigate the digital geopolitics of the world today. It is currently finalized by a diverse group of more than 50 international designers, artists and thinkers from over 20 countries. The first confidential drafts are very promising.
The Future Thinking School organizes future thinking masterclasses focused on imagining alternative futures and giving training on specific future thinking skills, such as signal identification, back casting, foresight, and scenario-building. The first pilot was successfully launched in Tunis and we can’t wait to see the follow up!

On a more organizational level we continue to further professionalize our governance. Formalizing policies, unifying our contract models and optimizing our finance report systems are just examples of our ongoing progress in this respect.
For 2021 we would love to get rid of the context of the pandemic, but for now it seems we are just dealing with that context for even longer. For New Silk Roads the prospects have a far more happier note: our projects continue fully Corona-proof and our new visual identity and accompanying website is planned to go live in Q1 already.

A warm thank-you to everyone who helped make 2020 a good year for New Silk Roads. We are deeply grateful to our team of directors and consultants, all editors, artists, thinkers and all business and social partners for working closely together and for their enormous commitment and contribution.

February 2021,
Board of New Silk Roads Foundation
Dorothé Bongaerts-Stubbé
Boudewijn Niels


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