Mission & Vision


Publication: 2012-12-30



Name:Owen Ambur


Name:Millennium Insitute



  • System ThinkersMI seeks to play a catalytic role in creating a global network of system thinkers to solve critical 21st century challenges.

  • AfricaWith a population of 703 million, over half of who live on $1 a day or less, Africa is the world's poorest continent. According to data from the World Bank and UNDP's Human Development Report, 34 of the world's poorest 48 countries, and 24 of the 32 countries ranked lowest in human development, are in Africa. Africa has taken positive strides in recent years, recording an average annual growth rate of 4 percent, reducing the number of violent conflicts, improving governance, and putting democratic structures in place. Despite these commendable gains, the statistics indicate that Africa still has a long way to go to effectively meet the human development needs of its people. The international community's renewed commitment to Africa's development is most welcome. Initiatives such as debt relief, removal of trade barriers to promote increased international trade, and increase in aid are key parts of that commitment. However, for Africa to "claim the 21st century", we must begin to address its challenges in an integrated manner, using tools that illuminate the consequences of policy choices and identify the best ways to reach the Millennium Development Goals, develop poverty reduction strategies, and design other regional and national development plans.

  • Latin AmericaLatin America and Caribbean Region -- The Latin America and Caribbean region is home to over 500 million people. It is rich in human and natural resources, is the most urbanized region in the developing world, and experiences impressive growth rates. Still, 25 percent of inhabitants live on less than $2 a day. In Latin America, deep inequality hinders development, while Caribbean states are highly vulnerable to natural disasters and external shocks, both of which exacerbate poverty. In order for the region to exploit its potential, a planning tool is needed - one that is dynamic, incorporates economic, social, environmental considerations in its analysis, and supports monitoring progress toward the Millennium Development Goals, and other international development goals.

  • Caribbean Region

  • United States of AmericaThe United States is arguably the richest and most industrialized country in the world. It also consumes the most natural resources and produces more waste and pollution than any other country in the world. But the United States can set an example for the world by making changes that assure a sustainable future for our planet. A model that addresses these issues in an integrated and transparent way can mobilize action towards a sustainable energy future for the United States.

  • Balkans RegionAfter a decade of conflict and instability following the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia, the Balkans region is moving towards stability. Its entities are embarking on regional cooperation initiatives and looking to become a member of the European Union in the near future. A tool that supports visioning and scenario-building to illuminate the implications of different policy choices is critical to consolidate the peace this region is building.

  • AsiaAsia and Pacific Region -- Half the world's population lives in this region of over 3 billion people. Although, on the average, the region is enjoying impressive economic growth and reduction in poverty, significant differences among and within the countries persist. China, for instance, continues to be a strong economic power in the region, and in turn, lifting millions of out poverty; yet about 160 million still live on less than $1 a day. Countries in South Asia fare much worse, with more than half of its population living in poverty. The tsunami of 2005, political instability in Nepal and Indonesia, as well as the threat of HIV/AIDS, all contribute to exacerbate the challenges faced in this region. In order to achieve income equality, social stability, and build infrastructure and institutions that bridges the rural-urban divide, a planning tool able to analyze the challenges confronting the region in a dynamic and integrated manner is required.

  • Pacific Region

  • Millennium Institute PartnersBuilding strategic collaborations with institutions that share MI's vision and mission is an important component of our work. MI collaborates with governments, non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, bilateral development agencies, private foundations, corporations, and universities. Our partnerships are based on accountability and trust, which is crucial to the success of all our projects. Some of our past and current partners include:

  • Government of Mozambique

  • Government of Mali

  • Government of Malawi

  • Government of Namibia

  • Government of Swaziland

  • Government of Kenya

  • Government of Jamaica

  • Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein

  • Carter Center

  • Centre for Applied Studies in International Negotiations

  • Conservation International

  • SolarQuest

  • Sustainable Food Trust

  • Planet2025 Network

  • United Nations Development Programme

  • United Nations Environmental Programme

  • ECOWAS Commission

  • Canadian International Development Agency

  • Swedish International Development Agency

  • Liechtenstein Development Service

  • Biovision Foundation

  • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

  • Beldon Fund

  • General Motors

  • ELIA - Ecological Living in Action

  • Code Sustainable

  • High Road Strategies

  • Chancellor CollegeUniversity of Malawi

  • University of Bergen

  • College of Environmental Science and ForestryState Unversity of New York

  • Universiti Putra Malaysia

  • Millennium Institute Board of Trustees

  • Ndioro NdiayeChair -- Ndioro Ndiaye is former Minister of Social Development, Women, Children, and Family of the Republic of Senegal. She was twice elected Deputy Director General of International Organization for Migration (IOM), a post in which she channelled her energy and skills towards sensitizing and supporting developing countries in their search for a better management of both internal and international migration management. She contributed to enhancing focus on the nexus between Migration and Development and to the mainstreaming of migration into national public policies for poverty reduction, which led to the establishment of IOM's Migration for Development in Africa program.

  • Rob WilesTreasurer -- Rob Wiles, Treasurer, has over thirty years experience in international development and humanitarian assistance, both at an operational and policy levels. He served in various capacities with the Canadian Agency for International Development (CIDA), most recently as its senior organizational development adviser. In 2003, Mr. Wiles was Recipient of the President's ‘Award of Excellence 2003,' an award presented to employees for exceptional contribution to CIDA's mandate. Mr. Wiles received his education from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, where he was awarded Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in Philosophy/Science; and from Harvard University, where he was award a Master of Arts in Public Administration.

  • Hans R. HerrenPresident -- Hans Herren, an internationally recognized scientist, was appointed MI's president in May 2005. Prior to joining MI, he was director-general of the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Nairobi, Kenya. He also served as director of the Africa Biological Control Center of International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), in Benin. At ICIPE, Hans developed and implemented programs in the area of human, animal, plant and environmental health (the 4-H paradigm) as they relate to insect issues. At IITA, he conceived and implemented the highly successful biological control program that saved the African cassava crop, and averted Africa's worst-ever food crisis. Over the years, Hans has moved his interests toward integrated sustainable development, in particular, linking environmental, plant, animal, and human health issues. As MI's president, Hans' priorities are to internationalize the Institute, and develop its public sector component with new core and project funding. This funding will enable developing countries to implement MI's Threshold 21 (T21) integrated planning model. He envisions regional MI training centers that promote the institutionalization of T21 at sub-national, country, and regional levels. At the global level, Hans will promote the use of T21 for assessments such as Global Environment Outlook, Africa Environment Outlook and International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology. MI's private sector activities, such as the partnership with General Motors, will continue and be expanded. New models will be developed for use in settings such as primary and secondary educational institutions to teach environmental and societal issues. Hans earned his Ph.D. at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, and holds numerous awards that recognize his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. These include: Election to the U.S National Academy of Sciences in 1999 Election to the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World (TWAS) in 2005, for his contribution to the development and support of sciences in Africa Recipient of the 1995 World Food Prize, the highest award given to an individual for advancing human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world Recipient of the 1995 Kilby Award, given to individuals who have made significant contributions to society through science, technology, innovation, invention, and education Recipient of the 2002 Brandenberger Preis, for improving the living standards of Africa's rural population through the development of agricultural projection methods that is in harmony with the environment Recipient of the 2003 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, awarded to individuals whose contributions to environmental science, energy and medicine confer great benefit upon mankind Recipient of the 1991 Sir and Lady Rank Prize for Nutrition, awarded by the former Prime Minister of Britian, Lady Margaret Thatcher Hans serves on the boards of numerous organizations, including co-chairing the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science & Technology, (IAASTD); chairman of BioVision, a Swiss foundation with a global mandate to alleviate poverty and improve the livelihoods of poor people while maintaining the precious natural resource base that sustains life; president of the International Association of the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS); and member, US Board of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BANR).

  • Carlston BoucherBoard Member -- Carlson Boucher has several decades of experience in the international development field with the United Nations and World Bank. He served in numerous capacities, including Barbados' Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Director of the World Bank . He holds an M.A. in Development Economics degree from University of Sussex, and is a recipient of the Companion of Honor of Barbados national award.

  • Erling MoxnesBoard Member -- Erling Moxnes is a Professor of System Dynamics at University of Bergen, where he also teaches several courses in System Dynamics. He holds a PhD in Engineering Sciences from Dartmouth College, and in 2000, won the Jay Forrester Award for the best contribution to the field of System Dynamics for the period 1995 - 2000.

  • John D. ShillingBoard Member -- John D. Shilling, Chair, is retired from the World Bank, where for nearly 30 years he held a number of senior positions. He headed the Bank's efforts in sustainable development, laid basis for a new Environment Strategy and a World Development Report on sustainable development. He worked extensively in economic analysis and policy assessments in macroeconomics, environmental sustainability, capital flows and financial markets, and risk assessment, especially in North Africa and Asia. More recently, Dr. Shilling consults with NGOs, including WWF and CI, the World Bank, the UN, and others on environmental economic issues. He has served on the Boards of the Kenan-Flagler Business School Sustainable Enterprise Program (UNC) and The Mountain Institute, He is currently on the Boards of the Center for Resilience at OSU and the Piedmont Community Foundation. Dr. Shilling holds a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT, and an A.B. in Philosophy and Economics from Stanford University.

  • Millennium Institute Staff

  • Maureen JohnsonComptroller -- Maureen has over twenty years of accounting expertise, including twelve years specializing in nonprofit accounting. Before joining MI in 2004, she was the comptroller of the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights, in Washington, DC. Previously, she worked with the H Street Community Development Corporation and Subsidiaries, also in Washington, DC. Maureen holds a B.S. in Accounting from the University of the West Indies, and a Diploma from Alpha Commercial College, both in Jamaica.

  • Adedoyin OnasanyaDevelopment Associate -- A native of Nigeria, Ade holds a Master's degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University, in Waltham, Massachusetts. Prior to joining MI, he worked for Action Health Incorporated, a Nigeria-based nonprofit organization with a mission to improve youth health and development. He also interned with Europe's Forum on International Cooperation, a Dutch nonprofit organization working to improve civil society participation in Europe's international development cooperation efforts. During his internship, Ade conducted research and recommended strategies the European Union can adopt to make development cooperation more equitable for developing countries. In 2002, he was named an "Online Volunteer of the Year" by United Nations Volunteers for his work with HORIZON International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering solutions to problems in the areas of health, environment, development and population.

  • Matteo PederciniDirector for Capacity Development and Modeling -- Before joining MI, Matteo was the project manager for a European Union development project in the Central African Republic; an Officer and Instructor in the Italian Army's Parachutists Brigade; and the manager of Cascina Castelgaro SS. He holds a PhD and a Masters in System Dynamics from the University of Bergen, Norway, and a Masters in Economics/Business Administration from the LIUC University, Italy. Matteo has created and applied several system dynamics national models, in collaboration with developing country governments and international organizations. These models include T21-Swaziland, T21-Sénégal, T21-Papua (Indonesia), T21-Cape Verde, T21-Ghana MDG, T21-USA, and T21-Mali, and others. He led training activities for officials from several countries, and he has been teaching at the University of Bergen and at the University of Malawi. He is fluent in Italian (native), English, French, and Spanish. Matteo has published a number of papers on modeling and development issues on peer reviewed journals, and he contributed to thematic books and to official strategic documents for various sub-Saharan countries.

  • Weishuang QuDirector of Modeling and Analysis -- Weishuang has interdisciplinary skills in system dynamics, econometrics, applied statistics, computer programming, Monte Carlo simulation, electrical engineering, systems engineering, and operations research. He developed MI's generic Threshold 21 model, and has applied it to many countries, including: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Italy, Latvia, Malawi, Mozambique, Taiwan, Tunisia, and the United States. Weishuang also customized MI's M3 transportation model for Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Thailand, and USA, as well as MI's Multi-Entity Gaming (MEG) model for five entities in southwestern Balkans. He has published papers in several international peer-reviewed journals. Before joining Millennium Institute, Weishuang held positions in diplomacy, technical management, research, and teaching. He holds doctoral and master of science degrees in Systems Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, a Master of Science degree from the Graduate School of the University of Science and Technology of China, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Shanghai Jiaotong University, also in China.

  • Zhuohua TanResearch Assistant -- Zhuohua conducts research on environmental and climate issues utilizing system dynamics models on global and regional scales. Her projects and studies at Millennium Institute involve integrated analysis and modeling on energy policy, sustainable agriculture, water management, poverty measurement, as well as other multidisciplinary topics, in cooperation with a number of leading organizations. She holds a Master's in Operations Research from Cornell University, and a Bachelor's in Management Science from Fudan University.

  • Tom van der VoornJunior Modeler -- Tom holds a BSc and MSc degree respectively in Applied Physics and System Engineering, Policy Analysis and Management from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. He is also a PhD candidate at the Institute of Environmental Systems Research, University of Osnabrück in Germany. His PhD research is on the applicability of backcasting, a well-known normative foresight approach, to explore and govern transition pathways to adaptive water management in the US Mississippi and Dutch Rhine Estuary and the South African Breede-Overberg Catchment. In the recent past, he acted as Work Package leader of the Climate Water project on bridging the gap between adaptation strategies of climate change impacts and European water policies, funded by the Seventh European Union's Framework Programme (FP7). He was also guest lecturer at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft, the Netherlands, and at Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland, United States.