UPenn Hosts Global Think Tank Panel

Peak Johnson, for GPA -- The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania conducts research on the role policy institutes play in governments and civil societies around the world.

Jim McGann, director of TTCSP, announced the new annual Global Think Tank Index Rankings on January 22 with events taking place in Washington, D.C. and New York City. McGann held a pre-launch event on January 21 at the University of Pennsylvania in conjunction with the Perry World House and the Foreign Policy Research Institute, featuring a panel discussion on Philadelphia and the world of think tanks and public policy.

Though it was a snowy and cold day, students and faculty still made their way to the Colonial Penn Center auditorium (3641 Locust walk) to learn more about think tanks and to hear from noteable Penn alumni.

The panelists for the day included professor of political science Mike Horowitz; Senior Advisor and U.S. Cyber Command Emily Golden; Senior VP of Third Way Matt Bennett; and President of FPRI Alan Luxenberg.

“How important it was to all of us to bring this home to Penn,” said William Burke-White, the inaugural director of Perry World House. “It started at Penn and it was important for us to say that this was a Penn project.”

The TTCSP works with leading scholars and practitioners from think tanks and universities in a variety of collaborative efforts and programs to produce the annual Global Go To Think Tank Index which ranks the world’s leading think tanks in a variety of categories.

This is achieved with the help of a panel of over 1,900 peer institutions and experts from the print and electronic media, academia, public and private donor institutions and governments around the world.

Wednesday’s panel was an intimate setting where students and faculty were able to learn more about the index while also hearing about the panelists’ views concerning the future of think tanks.

“I was still a student at Penn when I started at the institute in 1976,” Luxenberg said. “My one experience at Penn that I think had a huge impact on me was a course on writing. I’m convinced that the ability to write enabled me to make a contribution to the organization. Ultimately it was what I knew about writing that helped me succeed in this area.”

This year’s publication of the Global Go To Index marks the eighth year since it has been introduced. As the premier database and measure of world think tanks, the Go To Index aims to increase the profile, performance and impact of think tanks and to create a transnational and interdisciplinary network of centers of public policy excellence.
The annual report, compiled with assistance from more than 1,500 peer institutions and experts from print and electronic media, academia, public and private donor institutions and governments around the world, ranks in the top 150 global think tanks across four categories.

This year’s report also includes new Global Health and Domestic Health categories as well as a Global Trends feature, a detailed analysis of the biggest developments and challenges that think tanks have faced and will continue to face in the near future.

“In a world filled with tweets and sound bites that are often superficial and politically charged,” McGann was quoted as saying later in an article appearing on UPenn’s website. “It is critical to know where to turn for sound policy proposals that address our complex policy issues. This independent index is designed to help identify and recognize the leading centers of excellence in public policy research around the world.” 

Image courtesy of panampost.