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Playing with Possibilities at the UNESCO-PMU Symposium 2024

We are thrilled to share that UNESCO Chair Shermon O. Cruz and Jezreel Larry R. Caunca presents at the 3rd Annual UNESCO-PMU Symposium in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia!

This year’s theme is “Priority Youth: Futures and Foresight for Inclusive Decision-Making,” and we will be presenting on a topic close to our hearts:

"Playing with Possibilities: Enhancing Foresight Skills in Filipino Youth Leaders through the Dreams and Disruptions Game."

Join us as we explore innovative ways to empower the next generation of Filipino youth leaders with the foresight skills essential for navigating the complexities and uncertainties of the future.


This study examines the effectiveness of the 'Dreams and Disruptions', an award-winning imagination-driven scenario-building card game, in enhancing foresight skills among youth leaders (i.e., student leaders, youth advocates, undergraduate students, and Boy Scouts). The game employs an innovative method integrating aspirational futures (dreams) and potential crises (disruptions) to develop anti-fragile visions of the future. Through gamification and participatory action learning, young people have the opportunity to develop skills in scenario construction, understanding leadership archetypes, and anticipating the impacts of existential risks and threats. This allows them to reflect and generate options and strategies to anticipate, adapt, and respond to knowable and unknowable futures.

'Dreams and Disruptions' is a gamified method to teach futures literacy and build the youth’s capacity to imagine unthought-of futures, address long-term challenges, and create opportunities for youth empowerment and intergenerational equity. This study shares the workshop insights and outputs of around 1,900 youth leaders and students in the Philippines. The 'Dreams and Disruptions' game was used to introduce futures literacy and served as its primary methodological tool. The game unfolds in three phases: (1) Building Hybrid Futures, where players create narratives using scenario archetypes and emerging drivers of change; (2) Forging Pathways, which explores the evolution of these scenarios through the introduction of leadership and movement archetypes; and (3) Transcending Disruptions, where players adapt their scenarios in response to simulated global stressors.

This structure engages players with key concepts of foresight, randomness, systems thinking, and complexity, which are crucial for understanding and navigating future uncertainties.

The study centers on a qualitative analysis of stories, images, and reflections from participants, assessing their grasp of foresight concepts and their ability to navigate and innovate within complex future scenarios. As one young leader participant reflected, "Playing through these scenarios made me reconsider the importance of contemplating multiple possible outcomes and staying prepared for unforeseen circumstances. The game expanded my understanding of both the optimistic and challenging paths the future might take, highlighting the need for resilient and adaptable future planning."

This captures the essence of the game's educational value, revealing its power to shape youth perspectives on navigating future complexities with insight and creativity. The workshops conducted advanced a youth leadership culture where a proactive stance is encouraged with both present and future generations in mind.

Additionally, the game contributed to building essential future skills like imagination literacy, collaborative problem-solving, ethical decision-making, and creative innovation, which are vital for future leaders. The 'Dreams and Disruptions' game is a futures education tool designed to prepare youth for anticipatory leadership in a complex and highly uncertain world. This also reflects on the dynamics of futures thinking, gamification and youth leadership and foresight.

Stay tuned for more updates! 🌍✨


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