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.

Read how the founder of Meridian 180, Professor Annelise Riles, describes Meridian 180. Available in Japanese and English.  Or watch the video of the speech, in English.

Upcoming Events

2020 Masterclass program

A monthly series of events exploring the various aspects and challenges of masterful collaboration.

Occurring on the last Thursday of the month every month from March to November, please visit the series Eventbrite page for full event details and to register.

First up - Why putting smart people in a room is not enough. Thursday, 26 March

Woman in audience

    Future masterclasses will explore:

    • The art of constructive disagreement;
    • Collaborations with Asian partners;
    • Working with improbable collaborators; 
    • Trust in collaboration; and
    • Partnering with Indigenous Australian communities

    2019 Masterclasses - available on video

    Three masterclasses have been held in 2019. If you missed them, or if you would like to revisit them, please follow the links below.

    Masterclass 1: The genius of our time is a collaborative genius

    Today’s complex global problems will not be solved by an individual, no matter how brilliant.  


    Masterclass 2: Languages in and of collaboration

    Have you ever had a sense that you might not actually be speaking the same language as someone with whom you ostensibly share a common language?


    Man in audience smiling

    View Masterclass 1 

    featuring Dom Price (Atlassian) and Penny Burtt (CEO Asialink)

    Woman in audience laughing

    View Masterclass 2: Languages 

    featuring Prof Ros Dixon (UNSW) hosted Prof Nick Enfield (Sydney) and A/Pro Amanda Third (WSU). 

    Masterclass 3: Temporality, time and rhythm in collaboration

    Sorry, this event has now passed. The video of the event will be available very soon. 

    There is a rhythm and pace to collaboration. How can differently paced people work well together?

    Professor Dorottya Fabian, UNSW

    Professor Dorottya Fabian

    A/Dean Research Training, UNSW School of Arts and Media. Interdisciplinary researcher into performance and vocabulary

    Professor Ben Newell, UNSW

    Professor Ben Newell

    Dep HOS, UNSW School of Psychology. Researcher in cognitive processes underlying judgment, choice and decision making.

    Chloë Spackman, Australian Futures Project

    Chloë Spackman

    Director of Programs at the Australian Futures Project on a mission to end short-termism in Australia, 

    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 marked the beginning of 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 moved to the Buffett Institute for Global Studies 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.

    Fleur Johns - Leadership - UNSW
    Meridian 180 @ UNSW Leadership

    Fleur Johns

    Fleur Johns is a Professor of Law at UNSW Sydney and a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton for 2019-2020. 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.

    (Photo: Andrea Kane_Institute for Advanced Study)



    Member Spotlights


    Deborah Lupton

    Professor Deborah Lupton is a SHARP Professor in the Centre for Social Research in Health and the Social Policy Research Centre, and Leader of the Vitalities Lab at the University of New South Wales. 



    Shawn Galey

    Shawn Galey is the Vice President, Regional General Counsel & Government Affairs, Americas & Asia for Brambles, a publicly-listed Australian provider of logistics support services; he is also senior merger and acquisition counsel for Brambles.



    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

    Managing partner of Grundrisse Group, identifying, advising and financing innovative enterprises worldwide.  Formerly a partner at the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Member of Meridian 180’s Oceania Advisory Committee.



    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.