John Shilling


John Shilling


John D. Shilling earned his Ph.D. in Economics from MIT, and A.B. in Philosophy and Economics from Stanford University. He taught at Boston College, advised the Moroccan Planning Ministry, and worked at the World Bank for nearly 30 years. His major work involved country modeling, sustainable development, macroeconomic policy analysis, environmental sustainability, capital flows, and financial markets, especially in Africa and Asia. He wrote Managing Capital Flows in East Asia (1996), which highlighted the issues that led to the 1997 Asian financial crisis. He laid the basis for the World Development Report program and helped launch the WDR on Sustainable Development for 2002. He helped create a new Bank Environment Strategy in 2000 after evaluating the Bank’s environmental program. Now he consults for environmental foundations, the World Bank, UN agencies, and others on environmental economic issues. He led evaluations of the Infrastructure-Environment Nexus for the Bank and the Poverty Environment Nexus for UNDP. He has been very involved with the Millennium Institute, including Chairing the Board 2006-12. MI developed an advanced system dynamics model that integrates economic, social, and environmental factors and generates long term scenarios. It has been used by many countries to develop and implement sustainable strategic plans.


Purcellville, Virginia, USA

What draws you to the STIA conference?

To learn more about applications of system dynamics that address long-term sustainable development issues. Being able to present the work that I and Millennium Institute have done to apply our system dynamics model, Threshold 21, in many countries in a manner that links economic, social, and environmental factors to promote more sustainable development. And finding those interested in doing more of this work and developing ways to work together.

What are you hoping to experience?

Fascinating and informative discussions about what others are doing and extensive discussions about what MI is doing with its model applications to build others' interest in this approach and gain their support. I hope to learn a lot from these discussions, to be able to encourage others to take broader and longer term systemic views in their work and to gain support for MI.

What are you most passionate about?

Getting the message out that we face serious challenges to achieve really sustainable development, that we need to take a broader systemic view of cross sector relations, that we need to education and public about these issues, and that we can use this work to convince policy makers to make better decisions.

How do you see transformation occurring from this conference?

If I and other participants learn more about how to better manage the factors that contribute to sustainable development and become able to take more productive actions following the conference, this will be an important transformation.

What’s your bigger vision?

That the world learns to take a more systemic view of managing our economies and societies in ways that protect the foundation of ecosystems and natural resources that we totally depend on so we can improve everyones lives in a sustainable way.

What needs to happen for you to evaluate this STIA+ experience as a success?

My evaluation will depend on the feedback I get from other participants who I make presentations to and have discussions with and their willingness and actual efforts to take a more systemic approach. I would especially take account of efforts to get the messages out about the need for sustainable policies and the supporting work to achieve more sustainable development.