The Global Millennium Project Description

The Global Millennium Project Description

The Global Millennium Prize (GMP) is an annual international contest created to:

  • Stimulate futures prospective awareness among youth and teachers around the world to imagine new alternatives for addressing the 15 Global Challenges outlined by the Millennium Project; and hence, help achieve the 8 UN Millennium Development Goals;
  • Develop future-oriented leaders in their communities and countries for positive change – both today and for the longer-term future; and
  • Inspire creativity, responsibility, and solidarity among the youth of the world.


GMP-SA 2009

The first GMP Schools’ contest in South Africa – GMP-SA 2009 – was held by the SA Node of the Millennium Project in partnership with the Free State Provincial Department of Education in 2009. It was sponsored by the Cooperation Framework on Innovation Systems between Finland and South (COFISA), an initiative of the Department of Science & Technology.

High school students (Grade 10) and Educators in 10 Free State schools were invited to submit their essays on solutions to 3 of the 15 Global Challenges for Humanity which have been identified through the Millennium Project and recognised by the United Nations.

Objectives of GMP-SA

  • Developing awareness among SA youth about the importance and tools of futures thinking
  • Seeking innovative ideas towards a better South African and global future
  • Building foresight skills in South Africa
  • Strengthening the role and visibility of foresight in SA

About the GMP

The 15 Global Challenges Facing Humanity

15 critical Challenges to the future of humanity have been identified through the Millennium Project, and recognised by the United Nations. A global effort and commitment is required to help solve these Challenges. As such, it is important to conscinetize everyone – particularly the youth – around the importance of foresight in recognising, and in seeking innovative approaches and solutions to the Challenges.

The GMP Contest

The Global Millennium Prize contest aims to engage young minds, and people across the education system, around understanding and solving the 15 Challenges. This contest ran for 5 years from 2005 and was launched annually on the Internet in 3 categories: Secondary students, University students, and Teachers. It is currently under review due to funding difficulties.

Key successes of the GMP internationally so far have been:

  • The amazing and innovative ideas that learners and educators from around the world have begun conceptualizing and developing through the contest;
  • The ever-expanding interest and participation of countries around the world in the GMP idea – there have already been winners from Mexico, India, Slovenia, Azerbaijan, Singapore, Russia, Dominican Republic, France, Korea, USA and China just in the first 4 years; 
  • The voluntary and continued commitment of international judges from around the world to support the contest – judges in 2009 were from Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Egypt, Finland, India, Japan, Turkey, United States of America, South Africa, and Venezuela;
  • 4 years of successful international GMP Awards events presided over and recognized by important Mexican and world leaders and dignitaries;
  • Over 7 million hits from around the world on the website to date; and
  • The spin-off launch of the Global Millennium Prize for women starting in 2010.

The Benefits of GMP

  • For South Africa: South Africa faces the same challenges faced globally. GMP was introduced to allow South Africans to start thinking about their own future and to realize that we have to pay concerted attention to developing innovative approaches to dealing with the 15 global challenges. GMP encourages us to engage South Africa’s scholars in futures thinking, rather than passively waiting for the future to happen.
  • For South Africa’s youth: The GMP engages the young minds to understand, and harness their creativity to help in resolving the 15 Global challenges. The GMP-SA allows South African youth to participate with global youth in coming up with innovative strategies to resolve the 15 Global challenges. It presents an opportunity for our youth to be recognised by the world as young futurists, as well as for them to realize that they are capable of playing a role in determining a possibly better future. 
  • For South Africa’s schools and education system in general: This initiative will enhance a culture of reading and has the potential to build and enhance research capacity and entrepreneurial thinking. GMP-SA encourages learners to use their imaginations in developing innovative solutions, refine their understanding through research, and develop the capacity to develop business proposals to make their ideas practicable.
  • For foresight in South Africa: Foresight is not new to South Africa. This is, to the knowledge of this team, the first scale initiative to actively educate and engage scholars in foresight from a young age. From a futures perspective, this is a key way to influence the future by embedding futures thinking in next generations.

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