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Includes Feature Films, Kistler Prize Acceptance Speeches, Interviews, Lectures, and Scholar Visions of the Long-term Future


Recent Publications

“Global Transitions and Asia 2060” Executive Summary

“Water – The Crisis Ahead” Executive Summary

Winter 2010 Newsletter

All Foundation publications are available for download from our Publications page.



“Global Population and the Planetary Future – 2011”

• Humanity 3000 Workshop
• October 2011

Walter P. Kistler Book Award

• Dr. Laurence C. Smith
• October 2011

12th Annual Kistler Prize

• Dr. Charles A. Murray
• September 2011

Norman Myers Lecture

• Walter P. Kistler Lecture Series
• May 2011

“Global Transitions and Asia 2060” Workshop

• Taipei, Taiwan
• November 2010

Peter Ward Lecture

• Walter P. Kistler Lecture Series
• October 2010

“Managing the Future”

• Talk by Sesh Velamoor
• July 2010






Kistler Prize



RECIPIENTS 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011


2007 Recipient

Dr. Spencer Wells

Population Geneticist, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence
and Project Director, The Genographic Project

Dr. Spencer Wells, a leading population geneticist, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, and Director of the Genographic Project, was awarded the Kistler Prize for the year 2007. The Prize is given annually by the Foundation For the Future to recognize original work investigating the implications of genetics for human society.

Dr. Wells was honored for a body of work in the science of population genetics, culminating in the design and implementation of National Geographic and IBM’s Genographic Project, a five-year effort now under way to map humanity’s genetic journey to populate the planet, with field research funded by the Waitt Family Foundation. Migratory patterns dating back as far as 200,000 years are being studied through the collection and analysis of DNA samples from over 100,000 indigenous and traditional people, as well as participation from hundreds of thousands of members of the general public.

Prior to creating the Genographic Project, Wells wrote the book The Journey of Man on the genetic science that would enable him to trace the genealogy of humankind by focusing on genetic markers on the Y-chromosome. He also wrote and presented the PBS science documentary film Journey of Man on the subject. The Genographic Project is following the genetic markers backward through time, utilizing ten research laboratories it has set up around the world, in an effort to plot humankind’s historical journey before distinctions among peoples and cultures are blurred in an increasingly global melting pot. Wells’s latest book, Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project, tells the story of the landmark study’s first year.

Wells, 38, enrolled in the University of Texas at age 16, majored in biology, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa three years later. He then pursued his Ph.D. at Harvard University under the tutelage of distinguished evolutionary geneticist Richard Lewontin. Beginning in 1994, he conducted post-doctoral training at Stanford University’s School of Medicine with famed geneticist Dr. Luca Cavalli-Sforza, considered the “father of anthropological genetics.” It was there that Wells became committed to studying genomic diversity in indigenous populations and unraveling age-old mysteries about early human migration.

Wells’s field studies began in 1996 with a survey of Central Asia, and expanded in 1998 to include an overland expedition of some 25,000 miles through the former Soviet republics, after which he returned to academia and was appointed Director of the Population Genetics Research Group of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford University. In 2001, he decided to focus on communicating scientific discovery through books and documentary films.

Dr. Wells is the recipient of numerous scientific awards, grants, and fellowships. He lives with his wife, a documentary filmmaker, in Washington, DC.


“Instead of guessing about our ancestry, by looking back in the past, what we do is we approach it from a different direction. We approach it in the same way you’d approach constructing a family tree. It’s a genealogical problem … we’re all carrying the genealogical story inside of us, inside of nearly every cell in our body, inside of our DNA – and that’s what we’re studying.”

—From Dr. Wells’s acceptance speech at the 2007 Kistler Prize Banquet