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Strategic Initiatives to Meet Complex Challenges: Our Future Direction

Equitable, Prosperous & Sustainable Societies

The 21st century is witnessing a complex array of forces: fast-paced technological innovation, globalization, economic restructuring, social inequality, regional conflicts, and international migrations. This is creating enormous challenges for our political institutions, restructuring economic relationships, generating social upheaval, and posing urgent questions of justice and equity.

How do we foster opportunity, equitable prosperity, and well-being in the context of a globalized economy and technological change that promises to fundamentally alter our basic relationship to ourselves and to others, transform both the content, meaning, and role of work in our lives, and contribute to social and economic inequalities? How do we reconcile security, community, and identity to openness, pluralism, and global justice? How do we respond to those who have become alienated and left behind by social, economic, and cultural change, while shaping a fast-moving world to be more inclusive of all in society? How do we tackle a deteriorating public discourse, rising intolerance, and resurgent extremism and fundamentalism while building civic trust and engagement consistent with our democratic principles, promoting well-informed communication and deliberation, and restoring trust in political institutions?

We stand at a watershed. Understanding the forces at work and crafting effective responses to them requires our best theoretical, empirical, historical, and creative perspectives. Researchers at McMaster are bringing a wide range of disciplinary expertise to bear on these urgent questions.

Within our interdisciplinary Institutes and Centres, researchers are forging innovative approaches that integrate ideas from across the University. Cutting-edge methods are allowing us to exploit the ever-increasing stores of data available to us. Addressing these questions and finding solutions involves engagement with wider society at local, national, and international levels. With resources to draw on such as the Centre for Community-Engaged Narrative Arts, the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, and Peace Studies, McMaster is well positioned to play a considerable role in addressing the profound questions facing us in the 21st century.