GFDD and FUNGLODE Participate in UNU Forum on Ranking World Think Tanks

February 1, 2012

On January 18, 2012, Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) partook in the discussion forum organized by the United Nations University, “World Ranking of Think Tanks,” at the UN Headquarters in New York. The presentation was given by Dr. James McGann, Director of Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program and Assistant Director of the International Relations Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and Senior Fellow at the
Foreign Policy Research Institute.

McGann discussed his recent work ranking the world’s top think tanks. His study assesses more than 6,545 policy research institutions in 182 countries.

The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, a program of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, defines a think tank as an institution that develops research and analysis that
shape public policy and public opinion at large, and that may or may not be affiliated with political parties, governments, interests groups, private sector institutions or non-governmental organizations. The Program Director underscored the critical role think tanks play in bridging the gap between academia and policy making.

According to the study, North America and Western Europe boast the highest concentration of think tanks, 56% of all institutions.
11% of think tanks are headquartered in Latin America and the Caribbean. Mc Gann asserts that the number of think tanks is growing worldwide, and that established institutions are expanding their scope of analysis by opening offices in various domestic and international locations. As the work of think tanks becomes more transnational, public policy research becomes more internationally relevant.

The first report of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies
Program was circulated in 2007. Subsequently, the global list was published in Foreign Policy (2007) and The Economist (2009, 2010).

The University of Pennsylvania Professor articulated that the reliance of policy makers and the media on the work of think tanks merited the need for the creation of an international ranking system. The expert peer-based ranking system attempts to identify centers of excellence. Over 25,000 institutions were nominated. The
final results were based on the inputs of 793 nominated expert panelists, 150 journalists and scholars, 55 current and former directors of think tanks, 40 public and private donors, hundreds of think tanks, 20-30 intergovernmental organizations and 120 academic institutions.

Think tanks were evaluated based on the following criteria:

* Relationship between institution’s work and societal change
* Publication of work in peer
reviewed journals or other publications
* Ability to retain elite scholars and analysts
* Reputation with policy makers
* Reputation with the media
* Level of financial resources
* Ability to meet the demands of funders or to meet the goals of its respective donor institution
* Success at challenging conventional wisdom
* Overall output

McGann underscored the importance
of establishing networks of think tanks in the developing world.

Below are the top ranked think tanks of 2011 by category:

#1 Worldwide (US and Non-US):  Brookings Institution (US)
#1 Worldwide (Non-US): Chatham House (UK)
# 1 in Central and South America: Fundação Getulio Vargas
#1 in Mexico, Cananda and the Caribbean: Fraser Institute (Canada)
#1 in the Middle East and North Africa: Carnegie Middle East Center (Lebanon)
#1 in Southern Africa: South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) (South Africa)
# 1 in Western Europe: Chatham House (UK)
# 1 in Central
and Eastern Europe:
Carnegie Moscow Center (Russia)
# 1 in Asia: Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (China)
#1 in International Development: Brookings Institution (US)
# 1 in Health Policy: Harvard School of Public Health Dept. of Health Policy (US)
# 1 in Environment: Pew Center on Global Climate Change (US)
# 1 in Security and International Affairs: Center for Strategic and International Studies (US)
# 1 in Domestic Economic Policy: Brookings Institution (US)
# 1 in International Economic Policy: Peterson Institute for International Economics (US)
# 1 in Social Policy: Brookings Institution (US)
# 1 in Science
and Technology:
Max Planck Institute (Germany)
#1 in Transparency and Good Governance: Transparency International (UK)
# 1 in the Most Innovative Policy: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (US)
# 1 Best New Think Tank (established in last 18 months): Google Ideas (US/UK)
# 1 Public Policy Research Program:
Brookings Institute (US)

The United Nations University, the think tank of the United Nations, organizes frequent lectures with top-ranking authorities on issues of critical concern to the United Nations.

GFDD and FUNGLODE attend seminars and conferences about matters impacting the global community in order to remain at the forefront of academic debate and network with renowned experts, as part of their mission to bring world-class programs concerning
social and economic development and democratization to the Dominican Republic.

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