EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Context and why this was important

Families are usually seen as part of the private sphere, created and broken by personal relationships and decisions made outside the realm of the state. But the family is at the heart of both the health of individuals and the health of societies. It has central influence on outcomes for children. Well-functioning families are central to stable communities which are the building blocks of society and therefore of democracy too. We met to explore how families are changing in different countries and to try to determine what individuals, society, commerce and state need to do to support the families of the future.

People

Baroness Deech DBE QC (Hon) chaired a group of about 40 that included extensive experience of the UK Family Courts, alongside academics, international expert researchers, policy advisors, journalists and religious and business leaders.

Analysis

We know that families, well-functioning or otherwise, are important in the lives of all family members and that they are especially important for the security and wellbeing of children. The starting point for this discussion was the concern over increasing relationship breakdown and the negative effects for children (on behaviour, educational outcomes and on their mental health).

There was striking consensus, given the range of views present, on the overriding importance of the quality of personal relationships for individuals and for children, as opposed to a focus on the gender or sexual orientation of parents as might have been the case in past decades. There was a sense that people engaged in polyfamily arrangements were generally earnest and thoughtful but also an assumption that these arrangements were inherently more complex and unstable and not a model for most families.

There was a wide-ranging discussion about the different ways relationships are coming under pressure or at least changing: the acceptability of family breakdown and reformation; the increase in intentionally short-term relationships; the huge increase in choice and selection of partners delivered over the internet; and the erosion of barriers and taboos that previously might have kept couples together during difficult periods. For some, these trends are seen as the consequence of a less religious, duty-bound and more individualistic society. Marriage, although still the predominant family structure, appears to be on the decline and to be increasingly the preserve of the middle classes and better off.

Some argued that marriage, or at least the sense of an intentional contract between two people, ought to be unambiguously held up as the model most likely to deliver benefits of stability and security. Lack of government support for couples and families was noted and criticised, especially given the cost to the state of family break-up. For others in the group, the quality of relationships, parenting and care was paramount and the contractual aspects of marriage secondary and not necessarily essential. It was also questioned which came first – poverty and inequality or poorly functioning families. But it was accepted that this quickly became a vicious circle. 

We explored how societies might become more caring and how families might be better supported in shaping the next generation. Where should interventions best be made to support the institution of the family? Had the UK Government got its priorities right in appointing a “Minister for Loneliness” to tackle the identified harms caused by loneliness, whilst not making a more direct effort to tackle relationship breakdown as a prime cause of loneliness? Current high rates in the UK of child abuse, gang warfare and children excluded from school may well be a result of family breakdown.

Responses – not consensus but ideas emerging

Government should promote stable family life (in all its legally accepted modern forms) as a social and personal good, likely to lead to the wellbeing of children, parents and broader society. Opinion-formers should not fear to speak out about this.

Consequently, government should radically assess major policies (on tax, welfare, health, housing, employment and education) for their effects on families and the provision of care for children. Governments should be much more aware of the adverse pressures their policies create and remove the disincentives for couple formation and family life.

Innovative welfare reform: £16 billion per annum is currently spent on child benefit. Could child benefit be reconfigured in ways that allowed more flexibility and parental choice in how and when to use the funds, particularly in the important early years of a child’s life? Could the take-up of parental leave be better incentivised? Convincing fathers that they can take the parenting leave available to them remains a challenge. Understanding the widespread success of Germany’s parental leave scheme would be a good place to start.

Governments could do more to uncover the largely hidden labour of care (of children, the elderly and others in need) to raise the profile and recognise the economic value of those who care for others in the family.

A radical vision of the family and care for family members in the 21st century should include engagement with tech companies to connect people and services and to explore advanced robotic care to augment human care-giving for the young and the elderly. The data locked up in families (and family relationships) could also become part of future business models for care but the associated ethical and data governance challenges must also be addressed.

The value of families, as the structures sustaining social and human capital, is increasingly recognised by some companies in their adoption of family-friendly initiatives. In some areas, private companies are taking the lead, but these ideas have much further to go in developing family-friendly travel and flexible working arrangements responsive to the changing needs of children over time.

The disconnect between most of corporate America and standards in Europe on family-friendly policies has yet to be bridged.  At the most basic level, this would need to begin with an expansion of paid holiday which remains minimal in the US and sets the context of the relative value placed on work and family.

FULL REPORT

Context

Most of us still choose to live in some form of family unit and although marriage is still prevalent, cohabiting couples are now the fastest growing family form. If things go wrong within families, it is not only personally damaging for those involved, especially children, the consequences can also be damaging and expensive for wider society and the state.

Changes in technology, the economy, politics, social attitudes and culture are affecting the nature of families. Technology and data analysis are also revealing the importance of modern families as powerful extended networks supporting personal resilience throughout our lives.

The likely introduction in the UK of ‘no fault divorce’ and the extension of civil partnerships to heterosexual couples illustrate the way decisions made by governments can still inform evolving family structures. Tax regimes, the welfare system and policies to deal with poverty, inequality or housing create the legal and financial context, and the social and physical environments, that support or undermine family life. How best can government wield its influence? With the influence of companies growing, there is also a powerful impact on the context for families from the commercial world. What do companies need to do? Set in this modern context, what can and should religious and social institutions, the traditional guardians of “family values”, do to support and celebrate families?

People

Baroness Deech DBE QC (Hon) chaired an international group of journalists, academics, researchers on family change and demography, government advisers, think-tank staff, campaigners, religious figures, relationship counsellors, specialist family charities and lawyers with direct experience of the UK Family Courts. The discussion was informed by an understanding of demographic change; social policy research; legal casework; counselling practice; religious guidance; public policy research; and technological innovation. More input from the ethnic diversity perspective would have been welcome.

Analysis

Relationship breakdown and its effects

Direct and long-term experience of serious family breakdown and its adverse impact on children was a powerful starting point for discussion. It was argued that the increase in family breakdown was linked to a weakening of the institution of marriage. It was proposed that the rise in cohabitation, evident since the 1950s and which took off in the mid-1970s had meant more fractured families.  The statistics showed that cohabiting couples are more likely to separate than married couples are to divorce, and that having children has been decisively separated from marriage in a major societal shift, at least in the UK. The annual cost of family breakdown was estimated at £50bn.

Marriage, it was argued, brings with it more of the ingredients to support lasting relationships (expectations, assumption of responsibilities, intentional commitment, social status, legal contract). There were strong advocates for marriage as the best model and for its unequivocal support by the state. Prenuptial agreements, a foreign solution, might help to concentrate parties' minds on the nature of their future relationship. Lack of suitable, affordable housing, and transport difficulties affected families particularly badly.

We also learned, however, of the increase over the last 40 years of a range of newer family types, either hidden in the past or which didn’t exist: families with children conceived through IVF (8 million babies since 1978); or with the support of surrogacy; and for both gay and heterosexual couples an increasing trend for people to come together in non-romantic relationships but for mutual support to help raise children (which sounds rather like some traditional forms of marriage). The research suggested that it was not necessary for parents to have a genetic, gestational or even romantic connection for a successful and happy family. What was essential was simply for relationships to be warm, supportive and stable.

All families are affected by their social context and physical environment, and are vulnerable to outside pressures. The support offered by the extended family, by support groups or religious institutions could make a big difference, as could neighbourhoods free from crime, and routes out of poverty.  Families are embedded in broader sets of relationships, either supportive or otherwise. Nevertheless, distrust of the Church was weakening the effect it might have.

Is marriage for the better off?

Inequality was also at the heart of this debate. Class divisions are being intensified by family structures. The suggestion was that marriage is becoming the preserve of the better off, with an increasing divide related to wealth and income. The better off are marrying and reaping the rewards of greater family stability. It would be worth researching why young people avoid marriage in increasing numbers today. It was noted that there is generally less social mobility as a result of marriage – doctors are marrying other doctors not nurses; directors are marrying peers not their assistants; graduates marry graduates.

Disadvantage is played out in the quality of family life, with couples driven apart and fathers absent or uncertain. Poverty cannot be ignored as a factor in relationship breakdown. At a fiscal policy level, this is an issue for government as it controls the welfare systems that directly impact families. What government intends, and what actually happens as a consequence of policy, are not the same – there has to be a better understanding of the real effects of government policies. It was asked if government policies contribute to family dysfunction: is the emphasis on ‘hardworking families’ skewed towards the ‘hard work’ over the needs of the family?

Governments also affect families indirectly in setting the broad context for housing, education, welfare, social services, and funding of local government. But Government appears unwilling and unable to show political leadership on relationship breakdown for fear of offending those affected. Government tends to hope that this will be tackled by other actors – non-profits, charities, communities and schools – despite the significant direct economic cost of relationship breakdown to government.

Technology, work and social change

Discussion of government policy bumped up against calls to reassert the value of individuals as human beings searching for meaning in life and in their roles within families and communities. The sense of value, meaning and identity a person has simply by virtue of being part of a family and a community has been eroded over recent decades and is at further risk. Do we want a society that attaches meaning and respect only to achievement?

Changes in society wrought by technology have brought many benefits but also could further undermine the foundations of family structures and jeopardize the prospects for children. Forms of employment that allow time for children, family and community are under pressure. Although mobile communications enable people to work from home they also degrade both parents’ and children’s presence and attention in family life with an expectation that people will be permanently available for work contacts (or to their circle of friends outside the family). Getting better outcomes for families from technology must be part of the project of global companies.

We heard of new anxieties about the nature of relationships formed primarily on-line. It was not clear that an emphasis on ‘selection’ of a partner as opposed to ‘growing together’ within a community was the best route to long-term stable relationships. Young people were seeking counselling support on whether or not their relationships made the grade.  

There was also the long-established challenge, perhaps intensified, of the change of pace that came with a switch from work to caring for a baby. Technology might help on this, for example by making it easier to find new friends and peers in a similar situation through social networks and geolocation apps.

Providing and care

There was a striking consensus in a group of such varied opinions and beliefs that the quality of parenting and care should come first, not the preference for one structural form of the family over another. Families and relationships of whatever type can provide a loving and supportive framework for the care of children and elders.

Problems can flow from a lack of understanding of parenting and care. It was argued, in particular, that the priority for care and education should be the first three years of life. We asked if we could identify and better support the caring services that couples and families provide and if good relationships and caring could be taught and, if so, then who should teach? It was noted that there is still a cultural hurdle to overcome in supporting and validating fathers as carers. Linked to this, perhaps, caring roles are still not sufficiently valued. How could we afford more respect and reward to these roles? Nevertheless, it was important not to undermine the relatively recent commitment to their careers shown by women with qualifications. Over-emphasis on maternal care in the first three years of a child's life risks setbacks for women's aspirations, especially where taking time out of work is not as acceptable as it might be.

We heard about the different models of statutory maternity and paternity leave and the low take-up (in the UK at least and the very limited offering in the US) of shared parental leave by fathers, in contrast to the much higher take-up by men of the more generous German ‘parent time’. It was noted that this shift had taken over twenty years to achieve in Germany. What further flexibility could be added by governments and by companies? Child-care at work (e.g. as recently pioneered by Goldman Sachs emergency nannies)? Assisted routes back into work for older returning parents (usually women)? Flexibility over Child Benefit payments? Is there a better way to spend the £16 billion spent on Child Benefit in the UK to allow parents more choice, taking more of the benefit in the early years for example?

We explored how technology might support carers. Augmented care using automated equipment could help manage the bodily care of the elderly, and robots to assist with the heavy chores could arguably free up time for more human interaction. This raises a raft of ethical questions about the quality of human-robot interaction and the consent of those on the receiving end – would you mind a robot carrying out intimate personal hygiene or would you prefer it? Would it be acceptable for robots to chat to babies, which they might do quite well? Would this be preferable, or different, to putting them in front of a screen? It is unlikely that robots will prove to be a cure for loneliness.

Social networks are already available for new parents and others to find peers and to make building a support network easier. What more can be done with technology to connect families?

There are many datasets on family life from household surveys, national statistics, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the Millennium Cohort Study, European, OECD and other surveys but it was agreed there is still a data gap. We asked what more could – and should – be done to collect data. Families themselves are generating massive quantities of potentially valuable (genetic and behavioural) data which could fuel understanding of families in ways we can only imagine. But who owns relational data (i.e. data that exists between a string of relatives) and how it may be made available and used? The accumulated data of an older person was described as an asset that could be exchanged – perhaps for care? Older people may well have value for the data tech companies entering pharmaceutical markets.  

Responses – not consensus but ideas emerging

A challenge to UK & US governments to support the family in the tax and benefit system.

There was a call to reassess government policies with the objective to strengthen families, in particular family resilience and child wellbeing. This applied to a range of major policy areas as well as direct legislation on marriage, including tax, welfare, education, housing, employment and policies to tackle inequality. Government should look at both the incentives and unintended disincentives that policies created across these areas.

Governments should consider longer shared parental leave. Care allowances for parents might be linked to successful completion of caring and/or parenting courses to professionalise care to a degree and to increase its perceived value in society. However, this time and travel commitment might prove exceptionally difficult for single parents and isolated communities. We might learn from the relative success of German ‘parent-time’ (introduced in 2007) which showed that a cultural change and a shift in attitude to taking parental leave is possible. Understanding how that change has taken place and what convinced fathers that they could take time for their children is a good place to start.

Governments might be more innovative on child benefit. The UK government currently spends around £16 billion or 5% of total welfare spending on child benefits (2016-17) https://obr.uk/forecasts-in-depth/brief-guides-and-explainers/an-obr-guide-to-welfare-spending/. There may be scope to allow parents more choice, for example to use more of their child benefit entitlement in early years care.

Legal protection for cohabitation. The likely future extension of civil partnerships to heterosexual couples points the way for a better legal and more stable framework for cohabiting couples who do not wish to marry for whatever reason. This might apply also to others, such as women married under Sharia Law, not recognised by western legal systems.

Relationship education is already delivered by many state schools. Should we be explicitly promoting stable relationships, civil partnerships and marriage for the good of children in future, for their general mental health and social resilience? The UK Government’s Department for Education is currently consulting on whether to make compulsory the new subjects of Relationships Education at primary and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) at secondary level. https://consult.education.gov.uk/pshe/relationships-education-rse-health-education/.

Urban planning to facilitate families. We should promote urban design that includes housing and initiatives that encourage social interaction. Greater ‘community care’ and mixing between the generations might result and bring benefits. Are there opportunities for innovation in housing finance and house building to support multigenerational households?

Should couples be more prominently recognised and validated in public service settings, for example in the signage in healthcare settings for babies and children? What can we do to normalise the role of fathers as full carers for their children?

Could the state open itself up to greater partnership with religious and community institutions that are invested in their localities in order to support their work in sustaining families?

Might we explore a radical technological vision of care in the family in the 21st century to take account of the ways we can use technology to connect people and services and give (economic/social) value to care, a previously uncommoditised activity? What opportunities are there to incentivise advanced robotic care to augment human care-giving for the young and the elderly? How can companies be incentivised to build new business models for care? Are new uses of individual and family data part of the picture?

How can we encourage responsible innovation on families led by the corporate sector? The value of families in sustaining social and human capital is increasingly being recognized by global companies in their adoption of family-friendly initiatives within the workplace; these ideas have much further to run in allowing family-friendly travel and flexible working arrangements responsive to the changing needs of children over time. More also might be done on pathways back into work for parents who have taken time out for childcare. Germany’s corporate sector was highlighted as a leader.

Mental health and families. Evidence about the risks to teenage mental health outcomes points to family breakdown, the quality of the adults’ relationship and the closeness of relationships between parent and child. Support for couples and families should be central to current discussions of mental health.

Participants were keen to follow up on these emerging responses by continuing contact with each other.

 

This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference. No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.

 

CHAIR:  The Baroness Deech DBE QC (Hon)

Life Peer, House of Lords. Formerly: Chair, Bar Standards Board (2009-14); Gresham Professor of Law (2008-12); Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (2004-08); BBC Governor (2002-06); Principal, St Anne's College (1991-2004); Chair, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (1994-2002); Executive Council Member, International Society of Family Law

 

AUSTRALIA/USA

Ms Belinda Luscombe 

Editor‑at‑Large, Time Magazine, New York. Covers all issues on family and relationships. Author, 'Marriageology: The Art and Science of Sticking Together' (publication date: May, 2019). Formerly: Cultural Editor, Time (2003‑08). Recipient, The Council on Contemporary Families Media Award for Print coverage of Family Issues (2010).

BULGARIA/CANADA

Ms Monika Viktorova MSc 

Analyst, Technology, Strategy & IT group, Deloitte. Academic and philanthropic work at the intersection of human rights, feminism, biomedical ethics, health policy and governance. Formerly: Research Coordinator, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta; McGill University: member, Research Ethics Board; advanced studies in biochemistry; member, McGill Women's Alumnae Association Board.

CANADA

Dr Matthew Godwin 

Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Toronto, working to build collaborative research ties between Canada, the UK, Israel and Palestine, with a keen interest in inclusive growth and its implications for social, political and familial institutions. Work has looked at the erosion of 'traditional' family structures in the West against diaspora communities, which are more likely to retain familial and community structures reflective of those in their 'homeland'. Formerly: worked for British Labour Party and Canada's NDP in Lower and Upper Houses; e‑commerce start‑up.

Professor Ito Peng PhD 

Canada Research Chair in Global Social Policy, Department of Sociology, and Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto; associate researcher, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, and UN Women; distinguished fellow, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. Research interests include: social policy reforms in East Asian and European countries, gender, family and demographic changes and their impacts on society and economy.

Professor Linda White 

Professor, Department of Political Science and Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto. Areas of research include comparative social and family policy, particularly education, early childhood education and care, and maternity and parental leave; gender and public policy; ideas, norms, and public policy development.

CHINA

Professor Yali Xue 

Associate Professor, Institute of Sociology, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences; Academic Visitor, University of Manchester; Editorial Director, Journal of Chinese Family Studies. Research areas: Chinese family immigration, family structure and function, family life education, marital attitudes and late marriage trends; social risks, the democratisation of risks, anomie, modern hierarchy risk.

FRANCE/INDIA

Professor Vaiju Naravane

Executive Director, Ashoka University Centre for Social and Behaviour Change (think tank and research organisation funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), India; head, Department of Media and Film Studies; on research sabbatical at EHESS (School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences), Paris; novelist and commentator; Foreign Fiction Editor, Albin Michel (French publishing house). Formerly: Europe Correspondent, The Hindu; Director of Information and Public Relations, World Health Organization, Geneva.

GERMANY

Mr Eberhard Schaefer 

Founder (2007), Berlin Fathers' Centre, Berlin: senior expert on fatherhood, counselor and therapist, Väterzentrum Berlin (Berlin Fathers' Centre, an NGO); practitioner in work with fathers and further education; lecturer, writer of popular books and specialist articles.

ITALY/UK

Ms Cristina Odone 

Founder and CEO, National Parenting Organisation; columnist, Daily Telegraph. Formerly: Editor, The Catholic Herald; Deputy Editor, New Statesman; Director, Centre for Character and Values, Legatum Institute.

PAKISTAN

Ms Saadia Gardezi 

MPhil Modern South Asian studies and Weidenfeld Hoffman Scholar, University of Oxford. Seven years' experience in news media in Pakistan. Editorial cartoonist and head of Opinions desk, The Nation newspaper, Pakistan. Lecturer at various universities in Pakistan, and a small business owner.

UK

Miss Joanna Abeyie 

Managing Director, Hyden, London (2016‑); Non‑Executive Director, Investors in People; Trustee, The Lord Mayor's Appeal; Council Member, Media Society; Governor, Mulberry School's Trust; current affairs journalist, BBC (2016‑). Formerly: Founder, Shine Media (2008‑16).

Mr John Ashcroft 

Research Director, Relationships Foundation, leading projects on relationships in families, health systems and schools.

Canon Anthony Ball 

Canon Steward and Almoner, Westminster Abbey; Governor, Westminster City School. Formerly: Rector of Worth, Pound Hill and Maidenbower, West Sussex; Archbishop's Chaplain, Lambeth Palace; Archbishop of Canterbury's representative to the Heads of the Orthodox Churches in Syria and Lebanon; British Diplomatic Service.

Mr Harry Benson 

Research Director, Marriage Foundation. Formerly: Founder and Director, Bristol Community Family Trust; partner, stockbrokerage; pilot, Royal Navy. Author, "What Mums Want", "Let's Stick Together", "SCRAM".

Dr Neel Burton BSc, MBBS, MRCPsych, MA (Phil), AKC 

Fellow, Green Templeton College, Oxford; psychiatrist; philosopher. Author, 'For Better For Worse: Should I Get Married?' (Acheron Press, 2018).

Sir Paul Coleridge 

Chairman, Marriage Foundation. Formerly: High Court Judge (2000‑14); family law specialist barrister.

Mrs Jane Ferguson 

Chair, West London Action for Children.

Mr Nicholas Ferguson CBE 

Chairman, Savills. Formerly Chairman, Sky plc; Chairman, Alta Advisers; Chairman, SVG Capital plc; Chairman, Courtauld Institute of Arts; Chairman, Institute for Philanthropy. A Governor and Chairman of the Investments Sub‑Committee, The Ditchley Foundation.

Professor Susan Golombok 

Director, Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge, and Professorial Fellow, Newnham College, Cambridge (2006‑). Research examines the impact of new family forms on parenting and child development. Author, 'Modern Families: Parents and children in new family forms' (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Formerly: City University, London (1987‑2005); Institute of Psychiatry, London (1977‑86).

Mr David Goodhart 

Head of the Demography, Immigration and Integration Unit, Policy Exchange; author: 'The Road To Somewhere: The New Value Divides in UK Politics' (Penguin, 2017) and 'The British Dream'. Formerly: Founder (1995) and Editor, 'Prospect' magazine; Director, Demos; Bonn Correspondent, The Financial Times (1988‑91).

Mr Jonathan Hellewell LVO 

Special Adviser to the Prime Minister for faith communities, No10 Downing Street (2016‑).

Mr Stephen Johnston 

Co‑founder, Aging2.0 (global network of 65+ Chapters in 20 countries focused on innovating ageing); Founder, Fordcastle (consulting company); co‑author, 'Growth Champions' (Wiley, 2012). Formerly: Fulbright Scholar, Harvard Business School.

Mrs Katie Massie‑Taylor 

Founder, Mush (social app for mothers, which has been downloaded by 300,000 mothers in the UK and Australia). Formerly: matchmaking company; City broker; PR Executive.

Dr Michael Muthukrishna 

Assistant Professor of Economic Psychology, London School of Economics (LSE); Research Associate, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University; Affiliate, Yale Applied Cooperation Team; Affiliate, Developmental Economics Group,  Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE; Technical Director, The Database of Religious History.

Ms Amy Orben 

College Lecturer in Psychology, The Queen's College, University of Oxford and Psychology Researcher and DPhil Candidate, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford. Research area: Effects of social media and technology use on well‑being, large‑scale social data analytics.

Mr David Percival 

Founder, 2‑in‑2‑1 Limited.

Ms Honor Rhodes OBE 

Director, Tavistock Relationships, London; Trustee, Early Intervention Foundation and NHS Clinical Commissioning Group Board. Writer and couples groups facilitator, interested in answering the question, "does what we do work?"

Mr Frank Young 

Political Director and Head, Family Policy Unit, Centre for Social Justice (2015‑). Formerly: leading public affairs agency; Conservative Party campaigns.

USA

Mrs Nicole Anderson 

Software engineer, movement educator, novelist and blogger, focusing on eHumanity: The intersection of technology and consciousness. Formerly: Founder and CTO, SapientX, San Francisco (2016); software engineer, Motorola (1992‑2001).

The Revd Dr Christopher J. Benek 

PCUSA Pastor; Pastor and CEO, CoCreators; Editor‑in‑Chief, SuperPosition Magazine; Moderator, 41 Churches of The Presbytery of Tropical Florida; Founding Chair, Christian Transhumanist Association; OpEd Writer, The Christian Post; globally recognized expert on theology and emerging technology; lead clergy expert on A.I.; social and religious analyst and commentator; futurist, ethicist and speaker; PhD student in Theology (focusing on the intersection of technological futurism and eschatology), University of Durham.

Professor Terri Conley 

Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan.

Kay Hymowitz 

William E. Simon Fellow, Manhattan Institute; contributing editor, City Journal; board member: National Affairs and The Future of Children journals. Writes extensively on childhood, family issues, poverty, and cultural change in America.

Professor Spencer L. James PhD 

Associate Professor, School of Family Life, Africana Studies, Brigham Young University.

Shannon Minter 

Legal Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Washington, D.C.; civil rights attorney; boards of Gender Spectrum and the Transgender Law and Policy Institute; American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. Formerly: Commission on White House Fellowships (Obama Administration).

Mrs Kimberly Parker 

Director, Social Trends Research, Pew Research Center, Washington, DC. Formerly: associate director of social and demographic trends research and research director, political unit, Pew Research Center; research associate, American Enterprise Institute. Author of studies on a variety of topics including gender and work, and the changing American family.

Dr John E. Rielly 

President Emeritus, Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Visiting Fellow, Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. Formerly: Adjunct Professor of Political Science, Northwestern University; Visiting Professor, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego (2003‑16); Foreign Policy Assistant to Vice President Hubert Humphrey; President, The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations (1974‑2001). A Member of the Board of Directors, The American Ditchley Foundation.