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What Is A Black Swan?

When the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) recently launched a new advertising campaign around the concept of “Black Swan” events, many people wanted to know more.

So what is a “Black Swan”?  Well, Black swans are unpredictable events with low probability of occurrence, however when do occur, they engender extraordinary, unpredictable consequences.

The term, “Black Swan” itself is not a new one.  In fact, the expression was already in use during the time of Latin writer Juvénal. He used the expression, rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno or "a rare bird in the country, as a black swan". At the time, most people did not believe black swans existed because only white ones had ever been spotted. However, we now know that Black Swans do exist and are found in Australia, specifically near the city of Perth

Thus, the term, “Black Swan” serves as metaphor, outlining the fragility of our systems of thoughts. Observing one black swan could demolish the previous system of thought which relies on the simple belief that all swans were white because people only saw white swans.


Black Swans and the GCSP

We’re in an era of black swans – unpredictable events with unpredictable consequences. At the GCSP, leaders are equipped to navigate this new age. Our practical courses connect you with experts from political thinkers to military veterans, diplomats and neuroscientists. So you can build a broad picture of what’s really happening and get ready to create change, even in a tumultuous world.


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