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Regina M. Abrami

Director, Global Program and Head, International Studies Faculty, The Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management and International Studies

The Wharton School


Environmental Sustainability

Fault Lines and Foresight




Risk managers have no shortage of quantitative tools to identify and hedge uncertainty. What they lack are tools to think about matters of high ambiguity. By introduction to the field of foresight strategy and its theoretical underpinnings in environmental and security studies, Fault Lines and Foresight addresses this knowledge gap. It does so in a way that is deeply experiential, interdisciplinary, and rooted in ideas of systems thinking, coevolution, and chaos theory, all centered empirically on a well-known global fault line: water stress.

By the end of this course, students will acquire content knowledge regarding water issues, demonstrate capacity using several leading foresight tools (e.g., scenario planning, back casting, feedback loops, red/blue teaming, matrix gaming, horizon scanning), and complete a team-based futures scenario on a topic of their choosing.


 "Specialization drives our educational choices from a very early age, and by the time we are in graduate school, standardized subject matter and methods of teaching reinforce our confidence that we know what to expect from our classes. Dr. Abrami’s class challenged that assumption by introducing us to the entirely unfamiliar (to us) field of foresight strategy.  Our classwork changed not only what we think about the world around us, but also how we do that, transcending disciplines and providing a unique toolkit for our future professional endeavors."

- Elena Gerasimova

Student, The Lauder Institute
MBA-MA International Studies Program
Wharton Class of 2018




Dr. Regina M. Abrami

Dr. Regina M. Abrami has a passion for, and expertise in, experiential education, with a focus on issues of political economy, intercultural group dynamics, strategic foresight, and qualitative field-based learning. Currently, she is the Director of the Lauder Institute’s Global Program and Head of its International Studies faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. She additionally holds appointments in the Departments of Political Science and Management. Prior to Wharton, Dr. Abrami served on the faculty of Harvard Business School for 11 years. She has authored dozens of HBS case studies, and continues work on the political economy of economic governance, national innovation, and the geopolitics of national economic security, with special focus on China. In 2014, her co-authored book, Can China Lead? Reaching the Limits of Power and Growth was published by Harvard Business Review Press (published in Chinese in 2017).