7—9 December 2015

Dahrendorf Foresight Process: European foreign policy 2025 – December Session

Location Hertie School of Governance, Berlin
Beginning 9  Ending 5
(c) Dahrendorf Forum / Esther Scharhüls

European foreign policy 2025: 1st set of scenario workshops 7 – 9 December 2015

By invitation only

The Dahrendorf Forum has initiated a strategic foresight process called “European foreign policy 2025”. The project will focus on the five countries or regions included in the Dahrendorf project: China, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Turkey, North America, Russia and Ukraine. The process brings together international experts on these regions and policy makers. They will identify and discuss key drivers that influence the future trajectories of the relationship between the European Union and the respective regions and countries over the next ten years. Based on that, the experts will develop different scenarios that define the most notable downside risks, and new trends or dynamics that might be leveraged to create new opportunities.

This first set of meetings will be held in December 2015 and the second in March 2016. Both sets of workshops will take place at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. The outcome of the foresight process will be a set of alternative future scenarios for the EU foreign policy 2025 which will be presented and discussed at the Dahrendorf Symposium (25–27 May 2016 in Berlin).

Foresight Analysis and Scenario Planning: Towards Key Drivers (Part I)

Monday, 7 December 2015, 9am – 5pm
> Scenario workshop on Turkey (Faciliator Oliver Gnad)

Tuesday, 8 December 2015, 9am – 5pm
> Scenario workshop on MENA (Faciliator Oliver Gnad)
> Scenario workshop on China (Faciliator Randy Pherson)

Wednesday, 9 December 2015, 9am – 5pm
> Scenario workshop on Russia (Faciliator Oliver Gnad)
> Scenario workshop on US (Faciliator Randy Pherson)

In this first session, workshop participants enter into a critical review of their key assumptions regarding the current situation and identify a set of drivers that are likely to shape the future trajectory of the selected case. In a second step, facilitators lead the group in a structured brainstorming exercise to develop a set of key drivers.

Decision-making in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world can quickly become a costly and risky endeavor – especially in the realm of foreign and security affairs. To lower risks in decision-making, to widen decision makers’ perspectives and to provide them with policy options, Foresight Analysis is one of the most powerful analytic methods in an analyst’s quiver. Foresight analysis helps analysts and political advisors to undertake estimative analysis, which involves thinking systematically about the various ways the future is likely to unfold and what is most likely to determine the eventual outcome.

The objective of Foresight Analysis is not to predict the future but to generate a solid set of scenarios that can bound the range of plausible alternative futures. Foresight analysis is most useful when a situation is complex and the outcomes too uncertain to trust a single prediction. It has proven highly effective in helping analysts, decision makers, and policymakers contemplate multiple futures, challenge their assumptions, and anticipate surprise developments by identifying “unknown unknowns” – i.e. factors, forces, or players that one did not realize were important or influential before commencing the exercise.


The foresight process is organized by the umbrella project team based at the Hertie School and run by Monika Sus and Franziska Pfeifer. The scenario workshops are facilitated by Oliver Gnad (GIZ) and Randolph Pherson (Globalityca).