Climate Change and Cultural Conflict

The first public presentation of a new global consortium pooling the resources of several international research institutions in order to pursue a deeper understanding of the relationships between the factors at work in these two major challenges facing humanity.

Conflict and climate change are major drivers of displacement in Syria. (Illustration photo credit: UNHCR)
Conflict and climate change are major drivers of displacement in Syria. (Illustration photo credit: UNHCR) (

Illustration photo credit: UNHCR


Our goal is to bring together experts on climate and conflict from around the world to help us develop computer models and simulations that will provide policy-relevant insights that can guide conversations among stakeholders, including governments and NGOs, about ways to promote peaceful coexistence as we respond to the environmental stresses caused by climate change.



  • Welcome from Anne Halvorsen (Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Agder) and Sunniva Whittaker (University Rector, University of Agder)


  • Modeling Climate and Conflict with Monica Tofts (Tufts University), Antje Danielsen (MIT), LeRon Shults (UiA)


  • Break (coffee and snacks)


  • Panel: Challenges and Opportunities in the Simulation of Human Futures moderated by Wesley Wildman (Boston University)

The team behind the consortium includes directors and representatives of several international research institutions and networks including:

  • The Social Simulation research group at the Institute for Global Development and Social Planning at the University of Agder
  • The Center for Modeling Social Systems at NORCE
  • The Center for Strategic Studies at Tufts University
  • The MIT Energy Initiative
  • The Center for Mind and Culture in Boston
  • The Virginia Modeling Analysis and Simulation Center
  • The Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO)
  • The Centre for Development and the Environment at the University of Oslo
  • The Center for International Climate Research (CICERO)
  • The Center for Climate and Security in Washington, DC

After welcoming comments from Sunniva Whittaker (the new rector of the University og Agder) and Anne Halvorsen (the dean of the Social Science faculty, University of Agder), the three co-leaders of the consortium will provide updates on our progress and plans for next steps.

Drs. Monica Toft (Tufts University) and Antje Danielsen (MIT) will discuss the ways in which cultural conflict and climate change impact one another, and Dr. F. LeRon Shults (UiA) will explain how we plan to use computer models and simulations to find ways to reduce the human suffering caused by both.

After a short break, Dr. Wesley Wildman (Boston University) will moderate a panel with several of our international experts to discuss these challenges and our strategies for addressing them in novel ways.

Everyone is welcome to join us and participate in these important conversations.