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For more information, contact Oana Zabava at

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January 26, 2011

Recent Books on Citizenship and Public Affairs:
A New Roadmap from Global Foresight Books

In the early 21st century, what is “citizenship and public affairs” all about? Who is saying what about threats and opportunities, barriers and breakthroughs? Two Maxwell graduates, Michael Marien (Social Science PhD, 1970) and Oana Zabava (International Relations MA, 2009) have developed an experimental, non-partisan website that maps out current affairs books and reports issued since 2009 by trade publishers, university presses, professional publishers, think tanks, and important international organizations (UN, World Bank, and especially OECD).

GlobalForesightBooks.org emphasizes sectors and complex issues, rather than conventional disciplines and professions. GFB has already posted abstracts of more than 2,000 items, arranged in 25 generic categories. For example, some 80 books have been identified on the recent economic crisis (our most important short-term concern), as well as over 150 books on climate change and sustainability (our most important long-term challenge). Other major categories include managing the unruly world economy, anti-poverty and development issues, advancing human rights, the expanding definition of security, trends in various regions and nations, the long transition to renewable energy, the looming water crisis, food and agriculture for a world of 9+ billion people by 2050, greening cities and transportation, local economic development and better jobs, rethinking crime and justice, smarter US and global governance, reforming education at all levels, controlling health sector costs, communication and the ongoing information revolution, science and technology trends, and methods to shape better futures.

SU faculty with recent works listed at GFB include John Palmer, Gerald Grant, Rosemary O’Leary/David Van Slyke/Soonhee Kim, Bruce Dayton/Louis Kriesberg, David Driesen, Keith J. Bybee, R. David Lankes, and Milton Mueller.

Each new or forthcoming title includes full bibliographic and author information and a brief abstract, easily accessed in multiple modes by Search Books, or by browsing the 25 generic categories, specific A-Z subjects, lead authors, and the lists of more than 100 publishers, big and small. To get a handle on the vast but underappreciated world of informed current affairs thinking, GFB provides a Book of the Month feature on an especially important contribution, and a Recommended Books listing of 10-15 selected books for each of the 25 generic categories. This is supplemented by an overlapping list of Paradigm-Breaking Books that view issues in a different way, and a list of important books and articles proposing Appropriate Economics for the 21st Century.

The demonstration GFB website culminates Michael Marien’s 40 years of various efforts to identify and array futures-oriented public policy books, begun with the Educational Policy Research Center at what was then the Syracuse University Research Corporation. The website invites a rethinking of public affairs for the 21st century, and a more engaged citizenship in our rapidly evolving world of information overload. “We need a richer and more relevant discourse,” Marien says, “with more well-informed views and serious debates on a wide range of issues, in the service of building a more secure, sensible, and sustainable global society that works for all.”

Maxwell alumni, staff and students are invited to visit Global Foresight Books to explore this unique new resource, to comment on what they find (or don’t find), and to sign up for the monthly newsletter, GFB Update.

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