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The University of Pennsylvania’s 2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) launched in 2006, marks its fourteenth year of continued efforts by reviewing all world countries’ in its Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP). Doing so was through focusing on “Researching the trends and challenges facing think tanks, policymakers, and policy-oriented civil society groups” per one of the leaders of the study.

This study showed that within the MENA region, the top three places in this year’s rankings were in this order, the Israeli think-tank: Institute for National Security (INSS), followed by the Lebanese Think-tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Middle East Center. Third place in this ranking in the MENA region went to the Egyptian think-tank Al Ahram Center for Political Strategic Studies (ACPSS). 

Researching the trends and challenges facing think tanks

Here are some excerpts.

Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa continue to see an expansion in the number and type of think tanks established

  • Asia has experienced a dramatic growth in think tanks since the mid-2000’s
  • Many think tanks in these regions continue to be dependent on government funding along with gifts, grants, and contracts from international public and private donors
  • University, government affiliated, or funded think tanks remain the dominant model for think tanks in these regions
  • There is increasing diversity among think tanks in these regions with independent, political party affiliated, and corporate/business sector think tanks that are being created with greater frequency
  • In an effort to diversify their funding base, think tanks have targeted businesses and wealthy individuals to support their core operations and programs.

Reasons for the Growth of Think Tanks in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

  • Information and technological revolution
  • End of national governments’ monopoly on information
  • Increasing complexity and technical nature of policy problems
  • Increasing size of government
  • Crisis of confidence in governments and elected officials
  • Globalization and the growth of state and non-state actors
  • Need for timely and concise information and analysis that is “in the right form, in the right hands, at the right time”

2019 Top Think Tanks in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Table 13

  1. Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) (Israel)
  2. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Middle East Center (Lebanon)
  3. Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS) (Egypt)
  4. Al Jazeera Centre for Studies (AJCS) (Qatar)
  5. Brookings Institution (Qatar)
  6. Emirates Policy Center (United Arab Emirates)
  7. Policy Center for the New South-FNA OCP Policy Center (Morocco)
  8. International Institute for Iranian Studies, Rasanah
  9. Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) (Israel)
  10. Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) (Turkey)
  11. Egyptian Center for Economic Studies (ECES) (Egypt)
  12. Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches en Sciences Sociales (CERSS) (Morocco)
  13. Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (Israel)
  14. Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR)
  15. King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre (Saudi Arabia
  16. Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM) (Turkey)
  17. Association for Liberal Thinking (ALT) (Turkey)
  18. Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace (Israel)
  19. Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) (Egypt)
  20. Dubai Public Policy Research Center (United Arab Emirates)
  21. European Stability Initiative (ESI) (Turkey)
  22. Royal Institute for Strategic Studies (IRES) (Morocco)
  23. Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies (Israel)
  24. Libyan Organization of Policies and Strategies (Loops) (Libya)
  25. Economic Research Forum (ERF) (Egypt)
  26. Reut Institute (Israel)
  27. Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA) (Egypt)
  28. Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR) (Egypt)
  29. Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies (ITES) (Tunisia)
  30. Emirates Diplomatic Academy (United Arab Emirates)
  31. Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Bahrain)
  32. Cercle d’Action et de Réflexion Autour de l’Entreprise (CARE) (Algeria)
  33. Moroccan Institute for International Relations (Morocco)
  34. Middle East Research Institute (Iraq)
  35. Center for Arab Unity Studies (CAUS) (Lebanon)
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