Michael O'Callaghan picture

contact details

O'Callaghan arms

Fidus et Audax

Global Vision homepage

Satellite image of Dublin

Astronomical alignments at Boyne Valley UNESCO World Heritage site

Michael O'Callaghan is the founder and President of Global Vision Corporation, a Non Governmental Organisation accredited to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD); the founder and Director of Global Vision Trust; a Fellow of the Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI) at Columbia University Graduate School of Business; a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Commission on Environment and Communication (CEC); a former Boardmember of Friends of the United Nations, and a representative of the United Traditions Organisation.

Athough both sides of his family come from Inishowen in County Donegal, Ireland, he was born in Geneva, Switzerland in 1952. He was first educated there before going back to Ireland where he attended Glenstal Abbey School and Trinity College, Dublin. He has an transdisciplinary background in systems theory, cybernetics, ecology, psychology, art, music, new media, and film production. He studied art at the Istituto Statale d'Arte in Urbino, and vernacular architecture whilst restoring a 12th-century castle and village on a hilltop in Chianti, Tuscany.

He first became actively involved in ecology in 1972 in Ireland, carrying out a cybernetic study of how information about the metabolism and footprint of Dublin on the surrounding bioregion was processed through the body politic of that city. This led to further research in anthropology, epistemology, renewable energy, environmentally sound technology, holistic medicine, sustainable agriculture, transpersonal psychology, and communications technology. After living briefly with indigenous peoples in the Himalayas, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka, he moved to New York in 1975 where he founded Global Vision Corporation in 1982. During his 20 years in the USA, he also lived in Colorado, upstate New York, Western Massachussets, on an island in the Gulf of Mexico, and in San Francisco. He moved back to Europe in 1996, spending four years in London where he founded Global Vision Trust in 1998. He now lives in the Wicklow mountains in Ireland.

Michael O'Callaghan considers himself an information artist - working with information itself as his primary medium. His principal interest is in creating contexts of information or situations which evoke what the late anthropologist Gregory Bateson called The Pattern That Connects – the pattern that connects global issues to each other and to our own way of seeing them. His work is supported by an international network of partners and sponsors.

His current projects include Sustainability: The Best Investment a 1-hour film about the need for a major shift in investment to implement global solutions; the Sustainability Student Action Kit, an educational multimedia package including ten 12-minute films, a DVD, a book and online resources designed as a prototype global curriculum on solutions to world problems, produced in collaboration with Peace Child International; Sustainable City, a GIS computer simulation software application for any town or city to see itself - and its surrounding environment - as a whole system; Population Explosion, an electronic time-sculpture compressing 500 years of population growth into one minute of clock time; Global Vision, an impressionistic feature film conceived as a Collective Self-Portrait of Humankind and the Biosphere; cutting-edge music-driven film- and video-editing software called Image Resonance; and the Global Vision Expo, a completely new kind of decentralised world's fair designed as a learning-oriented information environment for the bioregional implementation of Agenda 21. These media projects are now in development.

He is currently setting up the International Institute of Astroarchaeology to foster a more trans-disciplinary approach to the investigation and conservation of Ireland's legacy of ancient megalithic monuments from the fourth and fifth millennia BCE. These include the world's largest collection of Neolithic petroglyphic artworks, the oldest buildings in Europe, and the oldest known astronomical observatories on Earth. See for details.

He is also launching the Sustainable Dublin Local Agenda 21 project, a collaborative, learning-oriented strategic initiative to enable the community stakeholders of Dublin, Ireland, to define and implement an ecologically and socially responsible shared vision of their city's future.

He is currently planning to set up Global Vision's future base at a 12th-century village and castle on a hilltop in Tuscany, Italy, where he hopes to carry on the above-mentioned projects and launch the following new programmes in the year 2002: (1) Education for Sustainability (international sustainable development leadership training workshops for teenagers to implement local Agenda 21 solutions to global problems in their schools and communities); (2) Ecovillages & Ecologically Intelligent Architecture (a state-of-the-art resource centre to promote the development of solar energy, environmental building design, and sustainable ecovillages in the European Community); (3) Science and the Sacred (workshops, seminars & conferences with leading thinkers from the sciences, the humanities and the world's spiritual traditions to foster intellectual pluralism and address the underlying causes of fundamentalism in the context of history, colonialism and globalisation); and (4) Sustainable Agriculture (research & development for the production and marketing of organic produce in Tuscany and the Mediterranean bioregion).

He is the author of this Global Vision Website, and of various texts including Global Strategy: Promoting the Concept of a Sustainable Civilisation as a Global Goal, (an NGO Position Paper for the 1994 session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development); Sustainability: Positioning the Concept as a Global Goal, (an NGO Position Paper for the 1977 UNESCO conference on Environment & Society: Education and Public Awareness for Sustainability); Global Vision: Cognitive Process in Self-Organising Systems (described by Development Policy Analyst Hazel Henderson as "one of the most succinct descriptions of the theoretical underpinnings of the societal transformation of human cultures now underway"); When the Dream Becomes Real: The Inner Apocalypse in Mythology, Madness, and the Future (a transpersonal study of the symbolic and transformative function of apocalyptic imagery in the individual psyche and the collective unconscious); and Fundamentalism: A Whole Systems View, which sees fundamentalist terrorists as the "identified patient" in a global network of political and economic relationships that are themselves insane.

O'Callaghan has produced and directed over 85 TV interviews of leading thinkers, including H.H. the Dalai Lama, Buckminster Fuller, Richard E. Leakey, R.D. Laing, Kenneth Boulding, Robert Müller, Hazel Henderson, Thomas Berry, Helena Norberg-Hodge, David Woollcombe, Medard Gabel and Nobel Peace Laureate Rigoberta Menchú Tum.

He also produced and directed the Rio+10 Interviews of civil society leaders at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa, including John Bradin (Progressive Asset Management), Barry Coates (World Development Movement), Felix Dodds (Stakeholder Forum For Our Common Future), Bernward Geier (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements), Jane Goodall (Jane Goodall Institute), Mark Halle (International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development), Randall Hayes (Rainforest Action Network), Jonathan Lash (World Resources Institute), Claude Martin (WWF International), Dr. Wally n'Dow (Habitat II), Helena Norberg-Hodge (International Forum on Globalisation), Rémi Parmentier (Greenpeace International), Danny Schechter (, Achim Steiner (IUCN), Kaarin Taipale (ICLEI), Mathis Wackernagel (Redefining Progress), Dr. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker (Wuppertal Institute), and David Woollcombe (Peace Child International).

He was Co-Executive Producer of Fire on the Mountain, a documentary about the connection between consciousness and nature, filmed during a private gathering between the Dalai Lama, shamans from five continents, and high-level representatives of the world's religions in the French Alps. This was directed by the award-winning cinematographer David Cherniack, and is available by online mailorder from Mystic Fire Video. From 1987 to 1992 O'Callaghan was an archival film specialist at Petrified Films Inc., a New York stock footage house whose library (now part of The Image Bank) includes the outtakes and background plates of all motion pictures released by Warner Brothers and Columbia Pictures from the 1910s to the 1970s.

He produced the first Internet Café at the United Nations in New York in 1995, and has given lectures, talks, screenings and/or installations of his work at the United Nations headquarters in New York; the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) conferences; the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) in Istanbul; the International Conference on Environment & Society: Education and Public Awareness for Sustainability (organised by UNESCO and the Government of Greece at Thessaloniki in 1977); UNICEF; the World Health Organisation (WHO); the World Business Forum on Enterprise, the City, and Sustainable Development; Harvard University Cronkite Graduate Centre; Columbia University Graduate School of Business; Georgetown University; the University of Massachusetts; the University of South Florida; Friends' World College; the New School for Social Research; the UN International School; World Game Institute; the Convergence 2001 festival in Dublin; and on various TV networks in the USA and Canada.

O'Callaghan served in 1995 - 96 on the United Nations DPI / NGO Conference Planning Committee, whose annual conference brings 1,500 NGO delegates from around the world to the UN for strategic discussions on global issues. He has also done consulting work for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Court of the Environment Foundation (ICEF), the Sustainable Development Initiative at Columbia University Graduate School of Business, Peace Child International, the United Religions Initiative, and Sustainable Ireland.

He used to be a painter, wrote some poetry early on, and plays traditional Irish music on the tin whistle. A citizen of Ireland, he speaks English, French, German, Italian and some Spanish. He sees the world as a self-organising system.



The URL of this page is:
Updated 10 October 2002

For more information contact Michael O'Callaghan at


The right of Global Vision to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Design and Patents acts, 1988, United Kingdom. Unless otherwise restricted, the text materials contained in this Web site may be used, downloaded, reproduced or reprinted, subject to the following conditions: (1) this copyright notice must appear in all copies, (2) such use is for non-commercial or personal purposes only, and (3) in the case of reproduction or reprinting, prior written permission must be obtained from Global Vision. None of the materials contained in this Web site may be modified in any way. All rights in video clips, audio files, photographs, illustrations, artworks and other audiovisual materials are reserved to Global Vision Corporation and / or the copyright owners (licensors). Prior permission to use, download, reproduce, reprint, broadcast or distribute any video clip, audio file, photograph, illustration, artwork and other audiovisual material must be obtained from the copyright owner, regardless of the intended use. Any use of "Global Vision", "Global Vision Corporation", "Global Vision Trust" or the text, graphic, or audiovisual materials contained in this Web site in any manner to express or imply endorsement, sponsorship, affiliation or association of the user with or by Global Vision Corporation or Global Vision Trust is strictly prohibited.