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Michael O'Callaghan at Lough Tay, Co. Wicklow, Ireland 2000 Global Vision


Michael O'Callaghan is the founder and President of Global Vision Corporation, a Non Governmental Organisation accredited to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD); the founder and Director of Global Vision Trust; a Fellow of the Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI) at Columbia University Graduate School of Business; a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Commission on Environment and Communication (CEC); a former Director of Friends of the United Nations, and an European representative of the United Traditions Organisation.

Born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1952, he was educated in Ireland at Glenstal Abbey School and at Trinity College, Dublin. He has an transdisciplinary background in systems theory, cybernetics, ecology, psychology, art, music, new media, and film production. He studied art at the Istituto Statale d'Arte in Urbino, and vernacular architecture whilst restoring a 12th-century castle and village on a hilltop in Chianti, Tuscany.

He first became actively involved in ecology in 1972 in Ireland, carrying out a cybernetic study of how information about the metabolism and footprint of Dublin on the surrounding bioregion was processed through the body politic of that city. This led to further research in anthropology, epistemology, renewable energy, environmentally sound technology, holistic medicine, sustainable agriculture, transpersonal psychology, and communications technology. After living briefly with indigenous peoples in the Himalayas, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka, he moved to New York in 1975 where he founded Global Vision Corporation in 1982. During his 20 years in the USA, he also lived in Colorado, upstate New York, Western Massachussets, on an island in the Gulf of Mexico, and in San Francisco. He founded Global Vision Trust in London in 1998, and returned to Ireland in 2001.

O'Callaghan considers himself an information artist - working with information itself as his primary medium. His principal interest is in creating contexts of information or situations which evoke what the late anthropologist Gregory Bateson called The Pattern That Connects – the pattern that connects global issues to each other and to our own way of seeing them.

Apart from the International Institute of Astroarchaeology described in this proposal, his current projects include a 1-hour film called Sustainability: The Best Investment about the need for a major shift in investment to implement global solutions, with a celebrity lineup including the Dalai Lama, Bernardo Bertolucci, Gérard Depardieu, Kate Moss, Maurice Strong, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, and Amory Lovins; the Sustainability Student Action Kit, an educational multimedia package including ten 12-minute films, a DVD, a book and online resources designed as a prototype global curriculum on solutions to world problems, produced in collaboration with Dreamchaser Productions and Peace Child International; a GIS computer simulation software application called Sustainable City, designed to enable any town or city to see itself - and its surrounding environment - as a whole system; Population Explosion, an electronic time-sculpture compressing 500 years of population growth into one minute of clock time; Global Vision, an impressionistic feature film conceived as a Collective Self-Portrait of Humankind and the Biosphere; Image Resonance, cutting-edge music-driven film- and video-editing software; and the Global Vision Expo, a completely new kind of decentralised world's fair designed as a learning-oriented information environment for the bioregional implementation of Agenda 21. These projects are now in development.

He has also set up the Sustainable Geneva website to support that city's Local Agenda 21 project with a variety of proposals to encourage its citizens to develop Geneva as the world's first sustainable city.

He is currently planning to set up Global Vision's future base at a 12th-century village and castle on a hilltop in Tuscany, Italy, where he hopes to carry on the above-mentioned projects and launch the following new programmes in the year 2002: (1) Education for Sustainability (international sustainable development leadership training workshops for teenagers to implement local Agenda 21 solutions to global problems in their schools and communities); (2) Ecovillages & Ecologically Intelligent Architecture (a state-of-the-art resource centre to promote the development of solar energy, environmental building design, and sustainable ecovillages in the European Community); (3) Science and the Sacred (workshops, seminars & conferences to foster intellectual pluralism with leading thinkers from the sciences, the humanities and the world's spiritual traditions); and (4) Sustainable Agriculture (research & development for the production and marketing of organic produce in Tuscany and the Mediterranean bioregion).

He is the author of the Astroarchaeology and Global Vision websites, and of various texts including Global Strategy: Promoting the Concept of a Sustainable Civilisation as a Global Goal, (an NGO Position Paper for the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development); Sustainability: Positioning the Concept as a Global Goal, (an NGO Position Paper for the 1977 UNESCO conference on Environment & Society: Education and Public Awareness for Sustainability); Global Vision: Cognitive Process in Self-Organising Systems (described by Development Policy Analyst Hazel Henderson as "one of the most succinct descriptions of the theoretical underpinnings of the societal transformation of human cultures now underway"); and When the Dream Becomes Real: The Inner Apocalypse in Mythology, Madness, and the Future (a transpersonal study of the symbolic and transformative function of apocalyptic imagery in the individual psyche and the collective unconscious.

O'Callaghan has produced and directed over 40 TV interviews of leading thinkers, including the Dalai Lama, Buckminster Fuller, Richard E. Leakey, R.D. Laing, Kenneth Boulding, Robert Müller, Hazel Henderson, Thomas Berry, Helena Norberg-Hodge, David Woollcombe, Medard Gabel and Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum. He was Co-Executive Producer of Fire on the Mountain, a documentary about the connection between consciousness and nature, filmed during a private gathering between the Dalai Lama, shamans from five continents, and high-level representatives of the world's religions in the French Alps. This was directed by the award-winning cinematographer David Cherniack, and is available by online mailorder from Mystic Fire Video. From 1987 to 1992 O'Callaghan was an archival film specialist at Petrified Films Inc., a New York stock footage house whose library (now at The Image Bank) includes the outtakes and background plates of all motion picture released by Warner Brothers and Columbia Pictures from the 1910's to the 1970's.

He produced the first Internet Café at the United Nations in New York in 1995, and has given lectures, talks, screenings and/or installations of his work at the United Nations; UNICEF, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD); the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II); the International Conference on Environment & Society: Education and Public Awareness for Sustainability (organised by UNESCO and the Government of Greece in 1977); the World Health Organisation (WHO); the World Business Forum on Enterprise, the City, and Sustainable Development; Harvard University Cronkite Graduate Centre; Columbia University Graduate School of Business; Georgetown University; the University of Massachusetts; the University of South Florida; Friends' World College; the New School for Social Research; the UN International School; World Game Institute; and on various cable TV networks in the USA.

O'Callaghan served in 1995 - 96 on the United Nations DPI / NGO Conference Planning Committee, whose annual conference brings 1,500 NGO delegates from around the world to the UN for strategic discussions on global issues. He has also done consulting work for the International Court of the Environment Foundation (ICEF), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Sustainable Development Initiative at Columbia University Graduate School of Business, Peace Child International, the United Religions Initiative, and Sustainable Ireland.

His work is supported by an international network of partners and sponsors. He used to be a painter, wrote some poetry early on, and plays traditional Irish music on the tin whistle. A citizen of Ireland, he speaks English, French, German, Italian and some Spanish. He lives in Ireland in the Wicklow mountains, and sees the world as a self-organising system.


The URL of this page is:
Updated 9 February 2002
For more information contact Michael O'Callaghan at



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