About Us

About Us

Our Mission

The Foundation’s mission is to promote, enable and recognize the power of imagination to benefit humanity.

The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation was founded in 1983 to further the wisdom and values of its namesake, Sir Arthur C. Clarke.  The Foundation’s mission is “to promote, enable and recognize the power of imagination to benefit humanity.” Sir Arthur was a scientist who calculated the geostationary satellite orbit, or the “Clarke orbit,” and described how to create global communications.  He also practiced the art of writing, perhaps best known for his science fiction.  He proved prescient about technological and scientific achievements that were yet to come. He was fascinated by the possibilities of the universe, concerned about the health of planet Earth, and held a cautious optimism for the future of humanity.  Moreover, he believed that imagination, paired with science, technology and the arts, was essential to our future survival, to our ability to address big challenges with big and fresh ideas.
The Clarke Foundation believes that to effectively address today’s big challenges and those of the future, we need big, fresh ideas and leaders who inject their decision-making with the power of imagination.  The not-so-distant world of advanced artificial intelligence and scientific achievement poses unique challenges and opportunities for how we define our value as humans, where we find jobs, the health of the earth, the well-being of its inhabitants, the availability of clean water and adequate food supply, and the urgency with which we explore and understand our universe and beyond.   Preparation for this future requires imaginative thinking in our schools, companies, government and other institutions and on the part of our leadership.  The Clarke Foundation is committed to inspire humanity to begin preparing now to shape our future by nurturing and leveraging the power of imagination.

 

The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation was established in 1983 in Washington, D.C., as part of World Communications Year celebrations at the United Nations, an international event sponsored by the United Nation’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The Foundation was created to recognize and promote the extraordinary contributions of Arthur C. Clarke to the world, and to promote the use of space and telecommunications technology for the benefit of humankind.

The Foundation is dedicated to building on Sir Arthur Clarke’s multidisciplinary and inspiring legacy.  The Foundation draws its inspiration and activities from Sir Arthur’s wide range of visionary, creative and constructive imagination.  At one extreme is Clarke the physicist who, at age 28, envisioned a future where geosynchronous platforms—extra-terrestrial relays—could be used for global communication. At the other, is Clarke as a visionary humanist and one of the most inspiring and entertaining science fiction writers of all time. His relentless and profound faith in humanity’s ability to meet the challenges of sustaining our planet and at the same time inspiring us to elevate our imaginations and horizons to the unknown.

Arthur C. Clarke was known not only for his science fiction novels such as Childhood’s End, Rendezvous with Rama, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, but also for his scientific publications on space, energy, and the oceans. He is perhaps most famous for envisioning a global network of geosynchronous telecommunications satellites in 1945, developing low altitude radar, conceptualizing the “space elevator” (an elevator from Earth’s surface to orbit), and ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC).

The work of the Foundation is to continue and recognize the seminal works and ideas of one of the leading thinkers and more extensive writers of science fiction and science fact of the 20th century.

The Foundation was announced through a White House press release at the inaugural celebration of World Communications Year 1983, celebrated on December 16, 1982. Dr. John McLucas, former Secretary of the Air Force and former FAA Administrator, served as the first Chairman of the Foundation; Dr. Joseph N. Pelton, Founder of the Society of Satellite Professionals International and an Officer of the Intelsat Organization, served as the first Vice Chairman; and Fred Durant, Assistant Director of the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, served as the first Executive Director. Ambassador deAlwis and Counselor Chitty of the Sri Lankan embassy played a key role in the Foundation’s creation.

In September 1983, at the World Communications Year celebrations held at the United Nations, Arthur C. Clarke agreed to serve as honorary chairman of the Clarke Foundation of the United States. He served in this capacity until his death in March 2008.

 

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