Friday, September 07, 2007

International Survey of Think Tanks | Zilch in the Caucasus

The Foreign Policy Research Institute does an international survey of think tanks. Apparently they mailed 3,025 surveys to 126 countries. Of these, 817 responded in 96 countries.

So what is the think-tank landscape in the Caucasus according to this survey? Well, zero in Georgia, zero in Armenia, and Azerbaijan isn't even mentioned.

Sure, partially it is a matter of the periphery not making itself visible, but at the same time it does reflect that these institutions are still in their infancy, even if GFSIS and AIPRG already are around. At any rate, CRRC is planning to contribute to a broader project on reviewing the capacity to undertake public policy analysis in the region. As a first step, we want to do a baseline study, partially summarizing existing work. Second, we'd like to bring the few practitioners together, to see what worked, and what didn't. And this then is meant to yield a meaningful report. Stay tuned.


Writer'n said...

If I take a look at the "tanks" in my part of the world, most of them have some rather unhealthy neo-liberal financing, and function more or less as lobbyist groups. Maybe I haven't done a thorough research here, but the neutral ones (is it possible to be neutral with private funding?), and I would gladly admit I am wrong. But money talks, and we all know who has them, and what they expect of an investment. I also assume that "thinkers" expect to be paid well for their "thinking". So there's a win-win situation for everybody except the democracy.

Forgive me for.."thinking" loud :-)

Jonathan Kulick said...

Most of FPRI's putative think tanks in the US are no such thing--FPRI has a very expansive notion of the term.

There's also some some regional wackiness in their methodology. F'rinstance, they show two think tanks in Iran and three in the Palestinian territories...four in Belarus--and zero in Russia. I don't feel so bad about being left out.

Unknown said...

I think tink tanks is not only new to Caucasus but it is not known elsewhere too. The second point is that people use different terms, maybe there is an agency, which functions as think-tank, but is not known so. Finally, think-tanks are common in those societies where outsourcing public policy is exercised, whereas in FSU no one even talks about it. So, give it some time...