Meridian 180's mission is one of preparedness. Rather than take a retrospective view, we seek to anticipate and prepare intellectually and politically for future environmental disasters, political/military conflicts, economic crises, and problems of social justice in the Pacific Rim and globally. Our overarching methodology is to assemble a unique global group of creative thinkers, build relationships among them, and develop adaptive solutions that can mitigate the impact of these challenges. 

We develop strategies for preparedness from an interdisciplinary perspective through multi-lingual exchange, working to cross the divide between the academy, industry, and the public sector. The goal is to identify and address gaps in research and response, in areas where response is critically needed.  Armed with the knowledge that disaster is likely, as in the case of nuclear accidents or economic crises, Meridian has the opportunity to affect change by offering research-based solutions.

Why Meridian 180

Today’s world presents challenges that overwhelm even the experts. Existing paradigms, intellectual frameworks, and modes of expertise are being questioned while new technologies present new challenges to a globally connected world. The Great East Japan earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 illustrated the complexity of catastrophes. The interconnectedness of environmental, economic, psychological, and political challenges posed by the disasters exposed the limitations of expert thinking. The tools, understanding and vocabulary necessary to address complex crises did not exist. From this, Meridian 180 was founded with a mission of preparedness - to engage thought leaders from around the world in developing news ways to address global challenges. 


At Meridian 180 we believe in the power of broad expertise to create the new ideas and solutions of our time. Our members come from around the world and represent a wide range of disciplines, expertise, and professional domains. They are scholars, lawyers, policymakers, activists, artists and business professionals. The diversity of backgrounds, disciplines, cultures, professional experiences, and research interests of our members enables Meridian 180 to avoid the pitfalls of “siloed” expert thinking and to develop new insights and incubate new perspectives and research directions. 


At Meridian 180 we believe in the power of a global conversation to create global solutions. For this reason, we are committed to conducting our work and creating outputs in Chinese, English, Japanese, and Korean. The diverse cultural and geo-political perspectives embedded in our work result in the creation of new knowledge that is independent and objective.  Meridian 180 operates from global bases located at leading universities including UNSW Sydney, Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea; Institute for Social Science at the University of Tokyo; Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan; and Keio University in Tokyo, Japan.

Learn more

2018 marks a new era for Meridian 180.

As well as establishing its first base in the Southern Hemisphere at UNSW Sydney, f​​​​​rom 1 September Meridian 180's global headquarters will move to the Buffett Institute for Global Development at Northwestern University, Chicago. The move to the Buffett Institute offers exciting new opportunities for Meridian 180 and UNSW Sydney.



If you would like to know more about Meridian 180 or the development of Meridian 180 @ UNSW please complete the form below and the UNSW Base team will get back to you.


International Reach

4 Languages

Discussion in English, Mandarin, Japanese and Korean.

6 Bases

Sydney, Chicago, Tokyo, Kyoto, and Seoul.




Members from academia, government, business and industry.

Meridian 180 Leadership

Annelise Riles

Annelise Riles is a leading global interdisciplinary anthropologist and legal scholar. Annelise founded Meridian 180 to bring together thought leaders in academia, government and business to work together to generate ideas and guidance on the most important problems of our time, anticipating, preparing for and responding to emerging crises.

Annelise is the Executive Director of the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University, enhancing Northwestern's reputation for cutting-edge, interdisciplinary programs and research on globally relevant topics.

She is also the Associate Provost for Global Affairs and a professor of law and anthropology. Her scholarship spans a wide range of substantive areas including human rights, managing and accommodating cultural differences, and the regulation of the global financial markets.

Meridian 180 @ UNSW Leadership

Fleur Johns

Fleur Johns is a Professor and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Law at UNSW Australia. Fleur has been involved with Meridian 180 since it was founded in 2012 and is thrilled to bring its distinctive interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to problem solving to UNSW.

In her research Fleur studies patterns of governance on the global plane, employing an interdisciplinary approach that draws on the social sciences and humanities and combines the study of public and private law. 

She is currently working on a three year, collaborative, Australian Research Council-funded project entitled 'Data Science in Humanitarianism:Confronting Novel Law and Policy Challenges'. Prior to commencing her academic career, Fleur practised corporate law in New York, where she specialised in international project finance in Latin America.

Member Spotlights


Rob Brooks

An evolutionary biologist who studies the evolutionary consequences of sex. Academic Lead for the Grand Challenges Program at UNSW, and member of Meridian 180’s Core Ideas Group.



Yuji Genda

Professor Genda is a Professor at the Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo.

"What takes place in Meridian 180 is 'uncharted conversation'...reaches beyond individual countries, regions, professions, and domains of expertise." 



Penny Burtt

CEO of Asialink Australia's leading center for the promotion of Asian countries and Australia's role in the region. Member Meridian 180 @ UNSW Advisory Board. Previously VP Government Affairs, Asia Pacific for Visa Inc.



Robert Chu

Partner in Sullivan & Cromwell’s Melbourne office, where he heads the Firm’s Australian practice. Member of Meridian 180’s global Advisory Council.



Tim Fung

Founder and CEO of Airtasker, also regarded as a serial entrepreneur. Tim is a UNSW alumnus.



Eunice Kim

Professor at Ewha Womans University Law School. Member of the Meridian 180 Core Ideas Group. On the boards of KB Financial Group Inc, The Global teaching Project and numerous governmental, regulatory and industry committees.