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Robert Jungk was born in 1913 in Berlin. He emigrated to Paris in 1933, where he made documentary films and studied at the Sorbonne, lived in Prague from 1936-38 where he published an anti-fascist paper, and then fled to Switzerland when the Nazis entered Prague, staying there until 1945. Then, as a freelance journalist, he worked for several papers including The Observer of London, for which he covered the Nuremberg Trials.
During the 1950s he began to explore the themes which dominated the rest of his life: the future, peace and anti-nuclear activity. His first book was entitled The Future Has Already Begun, and in 1953 he founded the first Institute for Research into the Future.
By the 1960s Robert Jungk was known around the world and was much in demand as a speaker on global issues. He worked with Bertrand Russel on anti-nuclear campaigns; with Johan Galtung he co-founded the International Conference on Futurism in 1967, out of which he emerged the World Federation for Future Research. He began to develop Future Workshops, in which people envisioned desirable futures and the means of achieving them, as a way of regaining power over their own lives. In 1987 he founded the International Futures Library in Salzburg, the first public library specialising in the collection, inter-disciplinary networking and distribution of future-oriented information.
A similar blend of scholarship and activism characterised his peace initiatives. His book Brighter than a Thousand Suns was followed by several others on the nuclear theme, including The Nuclear State in 1978. At the same time, Jungk was deeply involved in the peace movement, lecturing and participating in marches and demonstrations. In 1992, he stood as the candidate of the Green Party in Austria's presidential elections.
Following Robert Jungk's death in Salzburg in July 1994, the International Futures Library (Internationale Bibliothek für Zukunftsfragen) is continuing its work in the spirit of his efforts, including the production of the quarterly bulletin Pro Zukunft (For the Future), which he started in 1987.
Internationale Bibliothek für Zukunftsfragen