Unleash Imagination Vision

“The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.”
– Arthur C. Clarke

In honor of Arthur C. Clarke, renowned writer, futurist, technologist, space promoter, and humanist, the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation launched Unleash Imagination – Shape the Future to celebrate his centenary in 2017. Unleash Imagination is an exciting intergenerational initiative to explore how imagination fuels the future. Sir Arthur understood that humankind’s most powerful tool to shape its future is its imagination. His own prolific work in science fiction and science fact seamlessly melded cognitive and creative elements together. Unleash Imagination explores the partnership between imagination and empiricism to create a better world.

Unleash Imagination

Unleash Imagination builds upon the Foundation’s track record of recognizing and celebrating the world’s most illustrious and creative thinkers, scientists, writers, technologists, business leaders and innovators via the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Awards. Past winners of the Awards include Ray Kurzweil, inventor and futurist in computer-based technologies; Walter Cronkite, broadcaster; Elon Musk, for achievement in clean energy, and space exploration; Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, and environmental activist; Vint Cerf, a ‘father’ of the Internet; Sir Kenneth Robinson, educator and innovator; Jeff Bezos, space innovator and businessman; Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist, cosmologist and visionary; Bran Ferren, physicist, artist and innovator; and Ursula Le Guin, acclaimed novelist, primarily in science fiction and fantasy.

A centerpiece of Unleash Imagination is its intergenerational dimension. All generations have something to teach one another and contribute to the future. Children have naturally rich imaginations but have yet to acquire expertise and experience. Adults have expertise and experience but can be unwilling to accept the time and risks involved in testing fresh ideas. Intergenerational collaboration strengthens critical decision-making and develops a pipeline of innovative talent, elevating our chances of addressing the looming challenges and opportunities facing Planet Earth.

Unleash Imagination combines:
(1) a Young Leaders program around science, technology, engineering, arts and math powered by imagination. This includes the Clarke Changemakers and a Youth Video Challenge.

(2) Clarke Conversations on Imagination, which brings together exceptional solution seekers across disciplines in the professional, business, educational, artistic, science and technology, and policy communities to promote a culture for fresh ideas open to innovative and creative young workers.

(3) the Intergenerational Forum which provides the opportunity for intergenerational collaboration, helping today’s leaders build bridges to the future through the unique perspectives of youth.

(4) the Clarke Awards that recognize and celebrate the world’s most illustrious and creative thinkers, scientists, writers, technologists, business leaders and innovators.

Unleash Imagination – Shape the Future kicked off in December 2017 as part of the Arthur Clarke Centenary celebration with a full day conference and an evening Clarke Awards dinner program. The Clarke Conversations and the Intergenerational Forum can be viewed at https://www.clarkefoundation.org/unleash-imagination/ and https://www.clarkefoundation.org/clarke-conversations/. The Clarke Awards are viewable at https://www.clarkefoundation.org/awards/. Young Leaders were treated during the conference to interactive learning in our Imaginarium. Their collective priorities for the future are also available on the Clarke Foundation website. The Arthur C. Clarke Awards were presented to Stephen Hawking, PhD, Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist, Author and Cambridge University professor; John Hendricks, Founder and former Chairman, Discovery Communications, and Founder and Chairman of CuriosityStream; and Kim Stanley Robinson, Hugo and Nebula award winning author of science fiction, including the Mars Trilogy. Their remarks can be found at https://www.clarkefoundation.org/awards.

Unleash Imagination featured the Young Leaders Changemakers event on September 23 at KIDFest, in Silver Spring, Maryland. The Changemakers session featured acclaimed astronomer Alycia Weinberger, Ph.D. from Carnegie Institution for Science.

Unleash Imagination continued on the evening of November 8 at the Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F Street, NW, Washington, DC and featured an Intergenerational Forum, linking the challenges of humans on earth and in space as affected by and affecting climate change, an issue of great concern to Clarke Young Leaders.

That evening Arthur C. Clarke Awards were presented to:

Life Achievement ─ Irwin Jacobs, co-developer of CDMA, co-founder and former chair of Qualcomm and philanthropist.

Innovator ─ Jill Tarter, astronomer, Emeritus Chair for SETI Research at the SETI Institute, and seeker for an answer to “Are we alone?”

Imagination in Service to Society ─ science fiction writer, Cixin Liu, nine-time winner of the Galaxy Award and winner of the Hugo Award.

All guests enjoyed a reception and dinner with the participants, experts, and Awardees.

The 2020 Clarke Conversation took up the theme of crisis and imagination: how crisis makes emphatic the need to reexamine through the lens of imagination the broad sweep of our relationships, past choices, and our approach to human dignity. In this one-hour live video event, the three 2020 Clarke Awardees reexamined and reimagined our possible futures.


Unleash Imagination Partners

The Clarke Foundation’s programmatic partners for 2018 Unleash Imagination-Shape the Future included the Foundation’s sister organization, the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at the University of California at San Diego; the KIDMuseum, Carnegie Institution for Science and the Museum of Science Fiction. As the program expands, the Foundation seeks to join with programmatic partnerships to include foundations, individuals and the corporate sector.

Since 2018, Unleash Imagination’s marketing partner has been Hughes, an Echostar Company.


About Arthur C. Clarke and the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation

Sir Arthur C Clarke was a scientist, author and visionary, perhaps most famous for envisioning a global network of geosynchronous telecommunications satellites in 1945, developing low altitude radars conceptualizing the “space elevator” from Earth’s surface to orbit, and working on ocean thermal energy conversion. His science fiction novels, such as Childhood’s End, Rendezvous with Rama, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, and writings on space, energy, and oceans presciently captured technological and scientific achievements yet to come. He believed that imagination, science, technology and the arts were essential to tackle challenges with big and fresh ideas. He warned about climate change and was passionate about popularizing science, working with young people, and promoting a single peaceful humanity.

The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation was founded in 1983 to promote, enable and recognize the power of imagination to benefit humanity, to promote the extraordinary contributions of Arthur C. Clarke to the world, and to promote the use of space and communications technology for the benefit of humankind. The Foundation is dedicated to building on Sir Arthur Clarke’s multidisciplinary and inspiring legacy. Sir Arthur served as Honorary Chairman of the Clarke Foundation in the United States until his death in March 2008.