Speaker Aarathi Krishnan


Aarathi Krishnan specialises in humanitarian futures and strategic foresight, for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC). She has worked in humanitarian and development aid globally for over 15 years. She currently focuses her work on reimagining futures for the humanitarian system and social change. She works at the intersection of humanitarian futures, strategic foresight, and systems/complexity thinking. She is specifically interested in issues of inclusion, intersectionality, power and privilege. Her practice covers systems change, training, research, horizon scanning and experiential futures, with a specific lens on decolonised and feminist futures.


Humanitarian Futures: Perpetuating the Status Quo or Actually Reimagining a New World?

This presentation will outline that any kind of transformation for social good in the 21st century will only truly be effective if it is a systematic interrogation of all drivers of change (including those that are less obvious), is representative of all peoples and all futures, and clearly linked to strategic reform. When futures frameworks only put forward visions or markers that push one dominant and singular narrative, it limits our questioning of whether measures of global poverty to date have considered colonial history, implications on inequality from brutal economic policies, or planetary implications from industrialisation. It reinforces future progress as singular, linear spectrums that build on the trajectories of our history, and assumes that those ideas of progress are the only ones everyone has to aspire to in the future. It can result in crippling inaction if reimagination is not systematically linked to levers for societal, political and institutional transformations.

The presentation will draw on the philosophies of intersectionality and decolonisation and draw on examples of work that blend futures and systems approaches utilised currently.

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