The Omega Resilience Awards (ORA) provide fellowships, research grants, and communications to support new models of thinking, leadership, communication, and engagement in response to the challenges of the global polycrisis.
Our core work
The ORA Fellowship program is designed to identify visionaries who can help their communities imagine what will be required to chart a path toward a more resilient future.
The Fellowship aims to convene three global cohorts (with approximately seven fellows each) every year. We have a foundational commitment to regional, generational, historical and cultural diversity and our goal is that the majority of ORA Fellows are under 40 and have diverse culture, race, ethnic, and gender orientations. In our inaugural year we have focused on South America, East Africa, and India as cohort sites. In each of those regions we are partnering with a local NGO to help co-design cohort recruitment, training and facilitation.
In addition to the ORA Fellowship, we organize the ORA Action Research Grants. These support organizations working to map the emerging field of polycrisis study, identify points of intervention, and curate the knowledge necessary to equip future leaders to meet the challenges of the global polycrisis.
We view ourselves as part of a global learning community trying collectively to make sense, build out maps, explore narratives and highlight wise interventions in the complex system challenges we describe as the polycrisis. We complement the Fellowships and Action Research Grants with communications and outreach, and we work synergistically with other facets of the larger ecosystem of Omega programming, including the Resilience Funders Network and The Long View.
Understanding this present moment
It is our belief that we are headed to a profound reckoning where society will be forced to reorganize itself in response to the social and environmental pressures of the polycrisis. And everything will be up for reconsideration, including our economic and political systems.
Some analysts predict that technology—particularly the rise of benevolent applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and renewable energy technology—will prove our salvation. Others predict a future of eco-nationalism where countries fortify their borders in order to keep out those fleeing the droughts, floods, and extreme heat events that have made their homelands no longer livable and where productive farmland and freshwater supplies are zealously guarded.
Some of us imagine a reorganization that puts human society and economy in a position of parity with the needs of the biosphere, where our fellow inhabitants on the planet are treated with respect and not as commodities to be transformed into materials for human consumption. However, a necessary prerequisite to envisioning a better future is to create a shared understanding of the nature of our current predicament.
Creating & sharing new narratives
For the ORA Fellows program, we are looking for people drawn from diverse walks of life who understand that the old approach to solving problems in silos is no longer viable and that, instead, we need to apply a systems-thinking lens. But not in a way that paralyzes people with complexity. We need people who can translate complexity into actionable steps that help communities slow, if not reverse, the damage being done by the cascading crises enumerated above. And we will invite these same people to outline for their communities and constituents what a more resilient future might look like.
While we realize that communicating the full weight of the polycrisis can be intimidating and result in a sense of overwhelm, we’re looking for people who can render complexity comprehensible and serve as sense-makers for readers, viewers, and/or listeners. What does the polycrisis look like in a given region, country, or community? And what shape does a resilient response take? We believe that candidates can be drawn from any walk of life—artist, activist, businessperson, journalist, academic, or from the public sector. The critical criteria are an ability to understand the complexity of the polycrisis in how it manifests in their communities and a capacity to communicate complexity that empowers people to act.
We believe that building a shared narrative around our current set of challenges is an essential prerequisite for organizing people to act. In particular, how can we build the trust and cooperation needed to move through these complex times? It is our hope that if we creatively identify and communicate the complexity of these times, we can inspire people to embrace the actuality of the global polycrisis and co-create a more resilient future.
While our Fellowship program identifies new narrative voices, ORA Research Grants aim to build out the emerging field of polycrisis study and intervention. Through our communications outreach and narrative repair work, we highlight the work of the Fellows and the Research grant recipients. By working at these different intersections, we seek to contribute to broader understanding of the polycrisis and unearth a path to a more resilient future.
Connect with us
Do you want to connect with people who are skilled in telling narratives around the polycrisis and want to create a more resilient future? Maybe you’re a funder, a young activist, an artist, a new leader, or someone who wants to move past fear of the future?
We believe this moment is inviting us to come together and re-imagine what is possible. Our hope is that ORA’s work is a response to this invitation. Consider connecting with us to learn how you can get involved.