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

January 22, 2010

On January 21, 2010, Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE) 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 6,300 policy research institutions in 169 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. 10% 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 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. This ground-breaking initiative began with a call to
institutions asking people to serve on a panel of experts to rank think tanks. Panelists submitted their top pick of high ranking think tanks from around the world. Subsequently, 6,300 institutions were asked to participate in a survey. Over 1,200 experts, peers and public and private donors participated in the nomination process.

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

Below are the top ranked think tanks of 2009 by category:

    #1 in the World:Brookings Institution (US)
Chatham House (UK)
    # 1 in North America (Only Mexico and Canada): Fraser Institute (Canada)
    #1 in Latin America and the Caribbean: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Chile)
    #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: Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) (Japan)
    #1 in International Development: Brookings Institution (US)
    # 1 in Health Policy: Harvard School of Public Health Dept. of Health Policy (US)
    # 1 in
Pew Center on Global Climate Change (US)
    # 1 in Security and International Affairs: Council on Foreign Relations (US)
    # 1 in Domestic Economic Policy: Brookings Institution (US)
    # 1 in International Economic Policy: Peterson Institute for
International Economics (US)
    # 1 in Social Policy: Urban Institute (US)
    # 1 in Science and Technology: RAND Corporation (US)
    # 1 in the Most Innovative Policy: Brookings Institute (US)
    # 1 Best New Think
  European Council on Foreign Relations (Belgium)
    # 1 Public Policy Research Program: Brookings Institute (US)

Mc Gann will soon be publishing his book Global Think Tanks, Policy Networks and Governance.

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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