Stockholm – A prize aimed at sparking new forms of global cooperation has generated more than 2,700 entries from over 120 countries against a backdrop of rising international instability.

The US$5 million Global Challenges Prize 2017 – A New Shape, backed by the Stockholm-based Global Challenges Foundation, is a quest to find new models of global governance capable of tackling serious global threats – from climate change and weapons of mass destruction to extreme poverty and pandemics. It is based on the premise that current institutions of global governance are no longer equipped to deal with 21st century risks. The prize closed for entry submissions on September 30.

The Global Challenges Foundation has received entries from every continent since the prize launched in November 2016. The largest numbers of sign-ups have come from the United States and India, but others have come from countries as far afield as Argentina, China, Iraq, Germany, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa and Syria. The entrants come from diverse backgrounds – academics, think tank researchers and business, but also university students and non-governmental organisations.

Mats Andersson, Vice Chair of the Global Challenges Foundation said the global response to the prize had confounded all expectations.

“At a time when we’re seeing rising populism across Europe and the United States, international agreements coming apart at the seams and escalating threats of nuclear destruction, the New Shape Prize has clearly tapped into a deep desire to rethink the way we take decisions as a global community,” he said. 

An eight-country survey conducted for the Global Challenges Foundation earlier this year found that two thirds of citizens want to see more action from global leaders to tackle major global risks, with strong support expressed for both United Nations reform (85%) and the creation of a new global decision-making body to manage threats to humanity (71%).

“The foundation is delighted with the engagement we’ve had with the New Shape prize from thinkers across many disciplines,” said Mats Andersson. “This is the kind of silo-busting collaboration we need if we are to rise to the very real challenges of our time.”

The foundation will now begin an intensive assessment process. The entries will first be evaluated by nine regional panels with reviewers from at least 44 countries. Each panel will be chaired by an expert in global risks and global governance:

  • Jens Orback, former minister of democracy, integration and gender equality for Sweden
  • Sabina Dewan, executive director of think tank JustJobs Network
  • Risa Hontiveros, senator of the Philippines
  • Ulad Vialichka, chairperson of international consortium EUROBELARUS
  • Hajer Sharief, co-founder of Together We Build It Org – Libya
  • Maina Kiai, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
  • Azita Raji, former US ambassador to Sweden
  • Lan Xue, Professor and Dean, School of Public Policy and Management Tsinghua University
  • Penda Mbow, History Professor at Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar
  • Darynell Rodríguez Torres, executive director of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) in the Hague, Netherlands

Bringing together the best entries from each region, the regional review panels will produce a list of approximately 100 submissions by mid-December. These will be shortlisted to 20 entries and a larger jury will select the winning ideas to be revealed at the New Shape Forum in Stockholm in May 2018. The Global Challenges Foundation will award US$5 million for the best ideas for more effective international decision-making structures or processes.  

More than 30 events to publicize the New Shape Prize have been held with institutions around the world ranging from the global launch held at Chatham House in London to an event with Tsinghua University in China, and, most recently, a ‘Futurathon’ in Moscow. 

As well as the entries to the competition, more than 14,000 people registered their interest in the prize on the foundation’s website.

Through the New Shape Prize, the Global Challenges Foundation hopes to stimulate urgent global debate at the highest levels about how the world community manages global risks and to contribute to the re-shaping of global governance in order to safeguard future generations.

Notes to Editors:

For more information or interviews please contact Alex Evans on +44 20 7067 0708 or [email protected]

More information about the New Shape Prize can be found at https://globalchallenges.org/en/our-work/the-new-shape-prize