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Former AUT Head To Establish Future Studies Centre

Former AUT Head To Establish Centre for Future Studies

The retiring Vice-chancellor of the Auckland University of Technology, Dr John Hinchcliff, is launching a new Centre for Future Studies to be backed by Morton Estate Wineries.

Dr Hinchcliff says the study of the future is about visioning, scenario building, scanning and disciplined speculation based on a wide ranging understanding of trends.

He says Future Studies is a well established discipline internationally but until now there has not been a university research centre covering the area in New Zealand.

“ We spend the rest of our life in the future,” he says, “so a disciplined approach that is not about crystal ball gazing or divination is critical for us to explore where we are heading.”

Dr Hinchcliff says futurists internationally have tended to be historians, sociologists, ecologists and psychologists but he would look to the inclusion of scientists, engineers, economists, philosophers and business people to integrate their wisdom and their inter-related insights to the discipline.

Morton Estate proprietor, John Coney, says he is supporting the establishment of the centre for future studies because he considers it is critical for politicians, planners, business and community leaders to know more about trends, how to use them, or avoid them, or change them to create a better future for all.

“Our aim is to create a forum for open discussion and debate so that people can participate freely in ways they may not usually in the course of their normal professional practice,” says Mr Coney.

John Hinchcliff retires this month after a life-long career in education that included overseeing the rapid growth of AUT to its establishment as New Zealand’s eighth university in 2000.

Communications Brief:

Dr John Hinchcliff, Vice Chancellor, Auckland University of Technology

Dr John Hinchcliff - philosopher, Reverend, writer, long-time peace campaigner, revered academic and staunch advocate for values and ethics in education - is retiring as Vice Chancellor of Auckland University of Technology this month, after twenty years at the helm.

Retiring from AUT does not mean stepping off either the local or world stage for Dr John – he has books to write, conferences to attend, a future studies centre to be involved in, grandchildren to enjoy and a farm to work on. He may also stand as a candidate at local body elections. But it may never happen again that a religious philosopher becomes vice chancellor of a New Zealand university.

John Hinchcliff Trust: Auckland University of Technology has launched the John Hinchcliff Trust to coincide with the retirement of “Dr John” (as he is known to staff). The aim of the trust is to recognise the pioneering work that Dr Hinchcliff has carried out in the tertiary education sector and his contribution to international education and understanding. The Trust aims to raise $ 7.5 million to set up a fund that will contribute to the costs of AUT students and staff wishing to study abroad and for students from participating affiliated universities to study at AUT. The Trust will award fellowships and scholarships to students and staff with the aim of allowing participants to further their education through exposure to a range of cultures and ideas.

Some of his achievements to date: An Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education 1997 Distinguished Alumnus Award, Drew University, 1998 Ten books edited in the fields of Professional Ethics, Nuclear Disarmament, Sport, Philosophy and Religion Led the metamorphosis of ATI to AIT and then AUT – New Zealand’s newest University and the first University of the millennium. History: Born in Wairoa in 1939, head prefect and ‘most outstanding’ pupil at Nelson College MA in Philosophy (Hons) at Canterbury University Awarded a Rotary Foundation Fellowship for International Understanding in his final year at Canterbury University and chose Israel as his destination. PhD from Drew University, New Jersey (1965). Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia. Chaplain at Auckland University (1973) where he introduced the study of ethics in the medical school. Member of the Foundation for Peace Studies Council and Peace Squadron at the time the USA began to send nuclear-propelled ships into New Zealand waters - He tirelessly campaigned for nuclear ships to be banned from NZ waters for nearly a decade. Organised an International Convention for Peace Action in 1977, bringing 40 speakers from around the world together (Including Sir Mark Oliphant, nuclear physicist, and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mairead Corrigan, and Pete McCloskey, the only US senator to take a stand against the Vietnam War). Organised a delegation of prominent New Zealanders to France to protest against nuclear testing in the Pacific (ATOM – Against Testing on Mururoa). Not long after the visit, the French stopped testing. Stood for the seat of Eden in 1978 as a Labour Party candidate. Has written a book entitled Parihaka that is to be published this year - inspired by his reading of visionary prophets Te Whiti and Tohu.

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