Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Think Tank Quickies (#91)

  • Heritage deeply represented at 2013 Values Voter Summit; ACSP's Frank Gaffney a speaker.
  • Fairness & Accurancy in Reporting (FAIR): Who Pays for Think Tanks? 
  • Matt Ygelsias: "Cato Institute Staging Gold Standard Love-In."
  • Matt Fellowes, founder of DC-based HelloWallet, is a former Brookings Institution scholar. 
  • Chinese government think tank details reform goals.
  • Demos on CAP at 10 years old.
  • Left-leaning think tank Citizens for Tax Justice's tax plan: Heartburn for the Wealthy?
  • Geoff Mulgan of NESTA: How do think tanks think? 
  • China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE) supports bilateral FTA with US. 
  • North Carolina think tank Civitas Institute collects Obamacare failure stories.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

CGD Moving to New Headquarters

The Center for Global Development (CGD) had just announced that it is moving to a new headquarters, which will be located at 2055 L Street, NW in Washington, DC.

It will take up the entire fifth floor of the building, and if all goes as planned, they will be all moved in by November 25.  CGD is currently located at 1800 Massachusetts Ave., NW.  It also has a London office.

Here is more about the move and new HQ:
CGD’s new headquarters will include a 170-seat state-of-the art conference facility and a 60-seat boardroom / ideas lab that we will use for roundtable discussions, Board of Directors and Partners Council meetings, and our fortnightly all-staff Research-in-Progress (RIP) lunch seminars.  Also in the works:  a multimedia studio for our burgeoning production of short videos and my weekly Global Prosperity Wonkcast.
While we will increase our floor space by half, to 33,000 sq. ft., we won’t be much bigger in terms of the number of offices (about 30) or open-space workstations (40). That’s deliberate, because our president,  Nancy Birdsall,  has long believed that having about 50 to 60 full-time staff on site is a good size for an organization devoted to the creation and rapid exchange and dissemination of knowledge and ideas.
The total project cost is $18.3 million, which includes a purchase price of $13.5 million (about $400 per square foot) and $4.8 million for construction, furniture, and fixtures and various taxes, legal fees, and financing charges.
As a relatively young organization that began 12 years ago with a $20 million start-up gift from our founding board chair, Ed Scott, CGD has no endowment. But we have over the years accumulated a modest reserve fund. Drawing on these reserves and with additional generous gifts from our board and other supporters, we have covered the upfront costs, including a 20 percent down payment. We financed the balance through a District of Columbia program that enables tax-exempt financing for non-profits  and helped to keep the interest rate on our mortgage under 3 percent.
Certainly, $18.3 million may sound like a lot, but not compared to the $100 million move that the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) just made to its new headquarters.

CGD says it plans to hold a series of open-house receptions in early 2014.

CGD is a think tank that "conducts research and analysis on a wide range of topics related to how policies and actions of the rich and powerful affect poor people in the developing world."

CGD was recently ranked as the 26th best think tank in the United States by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was also ranked as the 3rd best international development think tank in the world, after the Brookings Institution (#1) and the UK's Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

A variety of other think tanks in Washington, DC have recently moved or are planning to move.  You can find a previous Think Tank Watch post on that here.

Bob Schieffer's Think Tank Song

Think Tank Watch has reported widely about the opening of the new headquarters of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

But one of the most interesting developments is clearly television journalist Bob Schieffer and his band the Honky Tonk Confidential which performed a song called "CSIS is the Best" at a recent event to celebrate the think tank's new headquarters at 1616 Rhode Island Ave., NW.

A video of the performance can be watched here.  Think Tank Watch has transcribed the lyrics for the first part of the song, which in part takes swipes at other think tanks for being too politically polarized:
AEI will tell you what's right, Brookings will tell you what's left, but if you want the very best go to CSIS.  The Cato Institute's libertarian square root, Heritage Foundation's for a neocon nation, what does that mean for Newt.  The Council on Foreign Relations, makes lofty observations, ditto Wilson Center and Carnegie, they don't (inaudible)...But that is them and this is us, what rhythms with best - CSIS.
The full video runs three minutes and 48 seconds.

Bob Schieffer hosts a monthly series of discussions on public policy and the media at CSIS called the CSIS-Schieffer School Dialogues.  It is a partnership between CSIS and The Schieffer School of Journalism at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Honky Tonk Confidential.

Some think tanks actually have a long tradition of songs, as was reported several years ago.  (Well, more specifically, "fight songs."

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pentagon to Eliminate Internal Think Tank?

Here is what Josh Rogin and Eli Lake are reporting:
As Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel tries to make do with less, he is weighing the possibility of taking away the independence of a small internal Pentagon think tank beloved by many in Washington’s national security elite.
U.S. defense officials confirmed this week to the Daily Beast that Hagel is considering moving the Office of Net Assessment (ONA), which now reports directly to him, to the purview of the policy shop at the Office of the Secretary of Defense. While the budget for the internal think tank is a tiny fraction of the budget for most major weapons systems, the plan to close it has met stiff opposition from Capital Hill and others in the defense policy community.
Already, leading members of Congress—including the chairman and ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee—have implored Hagel to save the small think tank. In a letter earlier this month to Hagel, Rep. Howard McKeon, the Republican chairman of the committee, and Rep. Adam Smith, the committee’s ranking member wrote, “We believe that any marginal savings the Department hopes to achieve by shuttering the office do not outweigh the benefits it provides."
The Obama administration says that its plan is not to eliminate the ONA, but rather it may decide to absorb its functions under a different department. “There’s no plan to eliminate the Office of Net Assessment,” one defense official said. “The function of ONA will likely continue. We are looking at how to organize all of the leaders within OSD.”
Here is more about ONA from Wikipedia.  Here is more on Andrew Marshall, the 92-year-old who runs the secretive think tank, which often released studies and reports that are classified.

The Washington Post says that the think tanks costs about $10 million a year to run.  The WPost article also notes that ONA contracts out much of its research to private think tanks, and the primary recipient of Marshall's grant money is the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) in Washington, DC.

ONA reportedly has less than a dozen employees.

The article also notes that Marshall has "nurtured generations of national security thinkers" and has helped them sure jobs at think tanks, among other places.

CSBA recently released a report urging the Pentagon to rethink its business strategy.

CSIS Fêtes In Celebration of New Building

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has been getting some good use out of its new, $100 million building located at 1616 Rhode Island Avenue in Northwest Washington, DC.

It has had a series of parties and events, including one held October 21, 2013 that was documented by the Washingtonian.

Here is a description of that party:
The members celebrated on Monday night with a reception, a seated dinner, and a few speeches, followed by the pièce de résistance: a rollicking country music performance by Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer and his band, Honky Tonk Confidential. Would it shock if I reported that during the performance, rather than looping arms and dancing do-si-do, the guests—among them Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, and former Texas senator Kay Bailey Hutchison—sat in rows of chairs as if at a seminar? (We did see some tapping toes.)
Besides those named above, the crowd included George H.W. Bush’s national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, former defense secretary Bill Cohen, CSIS board chairman Sam Nunn, Lynda Bird Robb and Chuck Robb, former housing and urban development secretary Carla Hills, EADS North America chairman and CEO Sean O’Keefe, and dozens of others, who gathered first in the glass-and-marble foyer for cocktails. Dinner followed on three floors of the building, with tables named after monuments and popular tourist attractions, such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool.
 The Washingtonian also listed some facts about the new CSIS building:
  • Architect: Hickock Cole Architects
  • Builder: HITT Contracting
  • Construction hours: 500,000
  • Number of employees: 300
  • Square footage: 128,000
  • Floors: 9, including 3 for conferences and 6 for offices, plus 3 parking levels
  • Amount of Carrera marble used: 10,000 square feet
  • LEED Status: Platinum

Here is a picture from one of the recent parties.  Here is a view from the 9th floor of CSIS (video).

Think Tank Watch has visited the building numerous times and cannot think of any swankier think tank digs.  Here is a press release about the new building.

Defense News has also written about CSIS's new home, saying that the lobby is "impressive" and has that "new-think tank smell."  It called the new headquarters "Hamre Hall," referring to CSIS President, CEO, and Pritzker Chair John Hamre.

CSIS was recently ranked as the best think tank in the world for security and international affairs by the University of Pennsylvania annual think tank rankings.  It was also ranked as the 5th best think tank in the world.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Think Tank Quickies (#90)

  • New America Foundation's interactive map of all US drone strikes in Yemen.
  • Cato Institute Policy Forum on Oct. 29: Is Slow Growth the New Normal?
  • On Think Tanks is looking for guest editors.
  • The 31-year-old Heritage Action strategist behind the US government shutdown.
  • RAND Corp. study documents massive size of China's foreign-aid programs.
  • Center for American Progress's plan to replace the sequester.
  • Japanese Parliamentarian Hideki Makihara named Wilson Center Global Fellow.
  • Jennifer Rubin: "DeMint's Destruction of the Heritage Foundation." 
  • How the NSA scandal is roiling the Heritage Foundation. 
  • New NPR head Gary Knell connected to AEI and Hoover Institution.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Think Tank Quickies (#89)

  • Will think tanks prevent a Chilean retreat from free market principles?
  • Pakistan's Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif speaks at USIP on Oct. 22; Italian Prime Minister spoke at Brookings on Oct. 17.
  • D. Suba Chandran of IPCS: "South Asia needs more Brookings and Carnegies," and "UPenn think tank index has been questioned by many in terms of parameters used." 
  • How D.C. Appleseed became the official think tank of the shutdown.
  • Heritage President Jim DeMint's WSJ op-ed: We Won't Back Down on ObamaCare.
  • Brookings report: Mexico drives North American auto investment.
  • Antony Loewenstein in The Guardian: "It's Time We Stopped Drinking the Think Tank Kool-Aid."
  • Glenn Greenwald: "The Brookings Institution demands servile journalism." (flashback)
  • Jason Stahl in Salon: "The Heritage Foundation has always been intellectually bankrupt."
  • "Think tanks couldn't come up with situational baserunning that bad."

Friday, October 18, 2013

Think Tank Quickies (#88)

  • Think tankers and conflicts of interest in the Syria debate, from Public Accountability Initiative.
  • Why conservative think tanks, especially Cato, are misnamed.
  • Zillow and BPC to host housing forum on Oct. 24 in Washington, DC. 
  • Financial Times' chief economic commentator Martin Wolf becomes Distinguished Visiting Fellow at CFR. 
  • Ezra Klein: "Heritage Action runs the Republican Party."  (said 10/10/13 on MSNBC)
  • CEI sues to stop EPA from destroying emails, text messages.
  • 2013 Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) Forum on Oct. 22 with David Petraeus & Sen. John McCain.
  • Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham: "GOP must chart libertarian path."
  • First Cross-Straits Peace Forum involving think tanks from mainland China and Taiwan.
  • Founder of independent think tank in Delhi in close contact with senior Indian military commanders and United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

"Heritage in Danger of Losing Its Clout"

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said in a discussion with MSNBC's Chuck Todd today that the Heritage Foundation is in real danger of losing its clout and power.  Here is more of the discussion from Talking Points Memo (TPM):
During a discussion on MSNBC about the just-resolved budget and debt crises, Hatch lamented how "good think tanks in the past" are "losing their reputation because of this radicalness." Host Chuck Todd asked the senator if it was a reference to the Heritage Foundation and its political arm, Heritage Action, which announced its opposition to the Senate deal to re-open the government until Jan. 15 and raise the debt limit until Feb. 7.
"Well, yeah. Of course I am. Heritage used to be the conservative organization helping Republicans and helping conservatives and helping us to be able to have the best intellectual conservative ideas," Hatch said. "There's a real question in the minds of many Republicans now — I'm not just speaking for myself — for a lot of people, is Heritage gonna go so political that it really doesn't amount to anything anymore?"
"I hope not," he added. "I'm gonna try and help it to survive and do well, but right now I think it's in danger of losing its clout and its power around Washington, D.C."
Other news organizations such as Politico have also written about Sen. Hatch's Heritage comments.  The Washington Post has a video clip of the discussion.

Here is what The New York Times had to say about the Hatch/Heritage comments:
The Heritage Foundation, and its political action wing, helped orchestrate the move by House Republicans to force a government shutdown, believing that this confrontational strategy might block the startup of the Obama administration’s health care law. As Speaker John A. Boehner pointed out Wednesday, they lost that fight.
Now the backlash is coming — from prominent Republicans, as well as from liberals in Washington, who are arguing that the 40-year-old institution, which has long had a reputation as a Republican-dominated voice in Washington, has become too extreme.
These more mainstream Republicans are now pointing to the arrival of Jim DeMint, the former Republican senator of South Carolina, at the Heritage Foundation in April as its new president, as a moment when it began to lose its way.
Sen. Hatch is no stranger to the Heritage Foundation.  Here is a video of Sen. Hatch outlining a plan to reform Medicaid at the Heritage Foundation.  Here is another video of Sen. Hatch speaking about Obamacare at the Heritage Foundation.  Here are remarks that Sen. Hatch made at the Heritage Foundation about immigration.

The Heritage Foundation was recently ranked as the 18th best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was rated the 9th best think tank in the US.  It was also rated as the #1 think tank in the world in terms of best use of social media and the Internet.  Heritage was also rated as the 10th best think tank in the world in terms of most significant impact on public policy.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

BPC: The King of the "X Date" Prediction

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) is often quoted for its projections of the so-called "X Date" - the date beyond which the US Treasury cannot honor all US financial obligations.

The Wall Street Journal has a nice chart on how BPC's estimate of the X Date has evolved since April 2013.

Here is what the Washington Post had to say about BPC's recent X Date predictions.

Here is a BPC blog post on the possibility of the X Date being delayed by extending the debt issuance suspension period.

Here is the latest X Date prediction from October 8, 2013, which predicts the X Date range to be between October 22 and November 1.  That post was written by Shai Akabas, Brian Collins, and Steve Bell.

Here is all of BPC's debt limit analysis.  Here is BPC's methodology for calculating the X Date.

BPC, which formally launched in 2007, was founded by four former Senate Majority Leaders: Howard Baker (R-TN), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Bob Dole (R-KS), and George Mitchell (D-ME).

BPC's current president is Jason Grumet, an advisor on energy and the environment for the 2008 presidential campaign on then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Friday, October 11, 2013

CAP's 10th Anniv. Event - A Launch-Pad for President?

The Center for American Progress (CAP) is turning 10 and will celebrate the occasion by holding a 10th Anniversary Policy Conference in Washington, DC on October 24.

Hillary Clinton, a possible contender for the presidential race in 2016, will be the featured speaker at the event.  The President of CAP, Neera Tanden, is a longtime adviser to Clinton, and worked on her 2000 Senate race in New York and later on her 2008 presidential campaign.

Other speakers at the event include:
  • Secretary of State John Kerry
  • Former Vice President Al Gore
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  • Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel
  • Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA)
  • Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-MD)
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
  • Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard
A variety of other speakers will also be announced soon.

Julia Gillard, the former Australian Prime Minister, recently joined the Brookings Institution as a Nonresident Senior Fellow.  She will be affiliated with the think tank's Center for Universal Education.

Center for American Progress (CAP), which has close ties to the Obama Administration, was recently ranked as the 30th best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was ranked as the 11th best think tank in the US.  It was also ranked as the 2nd best think tank in the world in terms of best use of the Internet or social media.

Think Tank Quickies (#87)

  • Heritage President Jim DeMint, the "Shadow Speaker."
  • AEI's Norm Ornstein, one of the creators of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, on how to avoid a debt ceiling disaster. 
  • Flashback: Speed dating for think tanks. 
  • Former State Department Chief Economist Heidi Crebo-Rediker joins CFR.
  • CEIP appoints Lina Khatib as new Director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut.
  • Aneesh Chopra, former US Chief Technology Officer, and Nish Acharya, former Commerce Dept. official, have joined CAP as Senior Fellows.
  • Atlantic Council's new Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center hires Ambassador-in-Residence and Deputy Director.
  • Wilson Center's Mexico Institute welcomes its first Global Fellow, David Shirk.
  • Wilson Center's Global Women's Leadership Initiative (GWLI) announces members of its Global Advisory Board; includes former Presidents of Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan.
  • Wilson Center launches Global Europe program.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Canadian Think Tanks in Decline?

Are Canadian think tanks in decline?  At least two scholars think so.  Here are some excerpts: 

The Pearson Peacekeeping Centre just announced that it was closing its doors for good. And they are not alone. While Canada has never fielded an abundance of think tanks, our most venerable foreign policy organizations are falling like dominoes. A few years ago the Montreal-based Rights and Democracy folded amid internal wrangling, quickly followed by FOCAL, Canada’s largest Americas-focused foundation. Today Ottawa´s esteemed North-South Institute is on the rocks. Non-government institutions on the left and, to a lesser extent, right and centre, are being defunded and fading away.
The decline in Canada's think tanks could not come at a worse time given global transformations underway. Until recently, national and multilateral entities and processes were what got things done. But as power and influence shifts away from governments and toward private and non-profit sectors, large firms such as Google, private philanthropic groups like the Gates Foundation, and established think tanks including the Brookings Institution wield more clout than ever. The silence from Canada’s non-governmental sector carries serious implications for our international standing.
Some liberal critics blame the demise of Canadian international affairs think tanks on the government's intolerance of dissent. They argue that left-leaning organizations are being squeezed out of existence. The recent proliferation of right-wing advocacy groups across Canada feeds their fears. And while there is some truth to this, the real origins of Canada’s think tank malaise extend well before the present government. They can be summed up as a lack of fiscal and policy innovation.
Fiscally, the quiet extinction of Canada’s think tanks is due to a culture of dependence. For decades Canada’s non-governmental sector was weaned on public funds. Despite repeated warning signs, not least the 2008 financial crisis, many were unable to diversify their sources of income or build lasting public-private partnerships. In the absence of a robust philanthropic sector for public policy — as in the United States — thinks tanks were unable to adapt.
On the policy front, many think tank survivors appear tired and worn-out. Their programs are often anchored in 20th-century debates, find little purchase in government circles and have yet to take full advantage of 21st-century social and technological innovation. While no one doubts the passion and commitment they bring to their work, their outputs feel oddly out of step with today´s global conversations.
This lack of innovation has resulted in a loss of talent. Generations of Canada’s best and brightest have opted for well-resourced think tanks abroad, moving in droves to Geneva, London, New York and Washington to tap fresh ideas and resources, leaving the insulated world of Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver behind. With the exception of a handful of public policy research institutes, there is simply too little action to keep Canadian talent in the country.
Think tanks amplify Canada's voice in the world. With so few Canadian groups contributing to decision-making in the United Nations or involved in public and private discussions underway in the Americas, Africa and Asia, we´re out of the loop. A recent global assessment of the top 150 think tanks from around the world includes just two Canadian entities, the Fraser Institute (25) and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (41).

The opinion piece was written by Robert Muggah, Research Director of the SecDev Foundation, and Research Director of the Igarapé Institute in Brazil, and Taylor Owen, Research Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University and the Founding Editor-in-Chief of

Here is a list of Canadian think tanks from McGill University in Canada.  Here is another list of Canadian think tanks from the University of Alberta.  Here is yet another list from the University of Calgary.  Here is a paper on conservative think tanks in the US and Canada, by Martin Thunert.  Here is what Alejandro Chafuen recently had to say about Canadian think tanks.

Here is more on the closing of the Pearson Centre.  The former head of the think tank, Alex Morrison, laments its closing.

According to the latest survey by the University of Pennsylvania, Canada has 96 think tanks, ranking it the country with the 11th largest presence of think tanks.  The United States has 1,823 think tanks.  Only two Canadian think tanks made the "Top 150" global think tanks list: Fraser Institute, which is ranked as the 25th best think tank in the world,  and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), which is ranked #41.

The same study ranks the top 10 think tanks in Canada:
  1. Fraser Institute
  2. CIGI
  3. North-South Institute
  4. Canadian Defense and Foreign Affairs Institute
  5. C.D. Howe Institute
  6. Canadian International Council
  7. Institute for Research on Public Policy
  8. Macdonald-Laurier Institute
  9. Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS)
  10. Conference Board of Canada
For those readers really interested in Canadian think tanks, you can check out this dissertation by John McLevey titled "Producing and Promoting Policy Ideas: A Study of Think Tanks in Canada."  Mr. McLevey is currently an Assistant Professor in the Centre for Knowledge Integration at the University of Waterloo.

Heritage President's Letter to Obama

Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint has penned a letter to US President Barack Obama, arguing that Obamacare should be fully defunded, or at least defunded for one year.

Here are some exceperts:
As the temporary slowdown in government operations enters its second week, I write to explain why conservatives have insisted on making the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act the prime source of contention. Speaking for our organization, I can tell you we’re in this fight because of the harm the law is inflicting on Americans across the country.
You have claimed that Obamacare has nothing to do with the budget. But over the next decade, this widely unpopular program will add nearly $1.8 trillion in new federal spending—and will cost taxpayers trillions more beyond that, making it nearly impossible to balance the federal budget. What’s more, for millions of struggling Americans, the law will crush their family budgets due to fewer work hours, lost jobs, and higher premiums. With the economy still mired in a scattered and sluggish recovery, these people deserve relief from Obamacare—and they deserve it now.
At a time when so many Americans are suffering because of the rollout of this new law, I remain puzzled by your failure to acknowledge the faults caused by this unfair, unworkable, and unpopular measure. We believe the law should be fully repealed, but at minimum, both sides should agree not to fund the law for one year—a “time-out” that would halt the law’s most harmful effects before they start.
The Washington Times says that the Heritage Foundation is keeping its focus on Obamacare.  Here is what The Hill has to say about the letter.

The Heritage President seems to have a affinity for writing letters to world leaders.  Here is one he sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Former L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa Joins BPC

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is joining the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) as a Senior Fellow.  His role at the think tank will be to help develop proposals on infrastructure investment, education, and immigration reform.

BPC notes that Mr. Villaraigosa will be joining a group of former high-level officials at the think tank:
Mayor Villaraigosa joins an impressive roster of senior fellows at BPC. This bipartisan group includes: former Governor Tommy Thompson; former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle, Bill Frist, George Mitchell and Trent Lott; Senators Bob Bennett, John Danforth, Pete Domenici, Byron Dorgan, Slade Gorton, and Olympia Snowe; General (ret.) Jim L. Jones; and former President of Colombia Álvaro Uribe.
Here is Mr. Villaraigosa's new homepage on the BPC website.  All list of the other BPC Senior Fellows can be found here.

BPC, which formally launched in 2007, was founded by four former Senate Majority Leaders: Howard Baker (R-TN), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Bob Dole (R-KS), and George Mitchell (D-ME).

BPC's current president is Jason Grumet, an advisor on energy and the environment for the 2008 presidential campaign on then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Brookings Seeks to Raise $600 Million

The Brookings Institution today announced the launch of a fundraising initiative called the Second Century Campaign, which seeks to raise a record-breaking $600 million ahead of Brooking's centenary in 2016.

As part of the fundraising campaign, the think tank also launched the so-called Jefferson Imperative - a commitment to help engage citizens in the governance of their nations and their world.

Brookings says that it is already collected close to $400 million for the campaign.  The think tank has noted that 100% of its Board of Trustees have already donated for the campaign.

Brookings has said that it is seeking gifts for the following investments: 

  • Ensuring Quality: Endowment and durable funds to enable Brookings to continue attracting the best scholars across academic disciplines and areas of policy expertise  
  • Sustaining Independence: Expanded strategic initiative funds for Brookings’s President and research Vice Presidents that provide secure, unrestricted funding to advance high-quality research  
  • Maximizing Impact: Investments in outreach, social media, digital technology, and other impact tools and strategies to ensure that Brookings research reaches influential audiences in government, the private sector, and the media
  • Provide Program Support: Resources for specific research projects and initiatives across the Institution’s five programs
  • Strengthen the Annual Fund: Unrestricted general operating funds for Brookings’s greatest needs

Here is a video about the Second Century Campaign.  Here is how you can give to the Campaign.

The Chair of the Second Century Campaign is Glenn Hutchins.  He is also the Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at Brookings.  Here is a statement he made about the Campaign.

Other institutions have held "Second Century Campaigns," such as Southern Methodist University (SMU), which just announced it has reached its $750 million fundraising goal.

The Brookings Institution was recently ranked as the best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.

Think Tank Quickies (#86)

  • Rise of think tanks: Foreign policy and national security culture in Turkey.
  • How Heritage Action drove DC to shut down.
  • AEI scholar Katherine Zimmerman says al Qaeda stronger than ever. 
  • Empire Center relaunches as independent think tank.
  • Shutdown batters Obama's efforts to promote White House climate plan at think tank forums.
  • On Florida's think tanks. 
  • Ratan Tata part of "hallowed" think tank.
  • Think tankers to attend annual World Bank/IMF meetings in Washington, DC.
  • What conservative think tankers are saying about breaking through the debt ceiling.
  • Quality control: A few options for think tanks.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Institute for Policy Studies Turns 50

The left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) is turning 50 and will be holding an anniversary celebration and reunion this week to celebrate its five decades in existence.

Here are some details about the events it will hold this week:
We will begin with an alumni opening reception on Friday, October 11th, 2013 at the Liaison Hotel. This will be a great opportunity for old friends to reconnect and for the extended group of the IPS family to come together. This will be followed by the Opening Plenary session featuring Barbara Ehrenreich and is free and open to the public.
The Ideas Into Action Festival on Saturday, October 12th and Sunday, October 13th, 2013 will feature fast-paced, inclusive conversation with notable activists, interactive workshops, forums, artistic expressions, and more. Activities will be ongoing both inside and outside forum rooms. The Ideas Into Action Festival will be a “pay-what-you-can” event so that no one will be turned away. We suggest a donation of $75 for the Festival to begin to off-set the cost of these two-days of dynamic conversation on the past, present, and future of social movements.
The Festival will conclude with an innovative "Idea Slam" at 12:00 noon on Sunday, October 13, 2013 which will provide a chance for new and experienced activists to present their ideas to change the world in brief, entertaining bursts — and win cash prizes!
That evening, we will gather for a Ticketed Dinner at Busboys and Poets. IPS will honor long-time progressive champions Harriet Barlow, and Cora and Peter Weiss as we celebrate, reminisce, party, and further develop our progressive community.
The celebration will culminate with an interactive Gala at the historic Union Station on Sunday evening, to include notable progressives from major social movements of the past 50 years and rising young activists and public scholars of today.

IPS bills itself as Washington, DC's first progressive, multi-issue think tank.  It was founded in the Kennedy-era (1963) by White House staffer Marcus Raskin and State Department lawyer Richard Barnet.

The think tank's motto is "Ideas in Action for Peace, Justice, and the Environment."

According to its 2012 annual report, IPS had total assets of around $2.2 million at the end of 2012.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ron Paul's Think Tank Auction

Former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-TX) is auctioning off his 1979 Chevrolet Chevette to help raise funds for his think tank, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

If you want a piece of the action, you can check out the auction here.  As of today, there are already two offers of $10,000.  The highest pledge by October 15, 2013 will win the car.

The think tank, based in Springfield, Virginia, is a project of Dr. Paul's Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (FREE), which was founded in the 1970s.  The think tank was launched earlier in 2013.

Ron Paul is Chairman of the think tank, and several congressmen and former congressmen are on the Board of Advisors, including Rep. John Duncan (R-TN), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), and former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH).

Llewellyn Rockwell, Founder, CEO, and Chairman of the libertarian think tank Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, is also on the Advisory Board.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Thomas Nides Becomes Chairman of Wilson Center

The White House announced that it intends to appoint Thomas Nides as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Previously, Nides served as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources from 2010 to 2013.  He has also served on the Board of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Here is what Wilson Center Director, President and CEO Jane Harman has to say about the new appointment.

Mr. Nides will replace Joseph Gildenhorn, Founding Partner of JBG Companies, as Chairman of the think tank.  The Board of Trustees are appointed to six-year terms by the President of the United States.  Here is the current leadership at the Wilson Center.

Nides will follow numerous former Obama Administration officials to think tank land.  Here is a list that Think Tank Watch has compiled on some of those newly minted think tankers from Obamaland.

The think tank, which is funded in part by annual appropriations through the Interior, Environment, and other Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, recently issued a document on its plan for a federal funding hiatus.

In that document, the Wilson Center says that if there is a lapse in federal funding as a result of failure to pass an appropriations bill, the think tank will not close.  "The Wilson Center has facilities and personnel not funded through annual appropriation...about two-thirds of Wilson Center staff is not funding through federal appropriation."

The Wilson Center was recently ranked as the 11th best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was also ranked as the 6th best think tank in the United States.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Chinese Dissident Chen to Join Think Tank

Here is what Reuters is reporting:

Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese dissident and legal rights activist who accused New York University of forcing him to leave this summer because of alleged pressure from the Chinese government, will be joining The Witherspoon Institute, a conservative think tank.

Chen will become a distinguished fellow in human rights at Witherspoon, which is based in Princeton, New Jersey, for the next three years. He will also be affiliated with The Catholic University of America and the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice, Luis Tellez, Witherspoon's president, said in a telephone interview.
The Witherspoon Institute is considered a conservative think tank that "works to enhance public understanding of the moral foundations of free and democratic societies."

The Institute is named after John Witherspoon, a member of the Continental Congress, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and the sixth president of Princeton University.

The Think Tank that Shut Down the US Gov't?

Zeke Miller of Time Magazine has a new piece titled "Hidden Hand: How Heritage Action Drove DC to Shut Down," in which he blames the Heritage Foundation's lobbying arm, Heritage Action, for the US government shutdown.

Here are some excerpts:
There, a team of organizers, lobbyists and 20-something social media specialists are harnessing the power of the Tea Party to drive a wrench into Congress’ gears. Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the once esteemed Heritage Foundation, has been working day and night for years to bring about just the crisis now gripping DC.
As Washington stumbled toward a shutdown this weekend, Heritage Action has pledged to include votes on a “clean” continuing resolution in its running scorecard, even if the government shuts down. The group wouldn’t fully support the House Republican measure to delay Obamacare by a year as part of a measure to keep the government open, but in a small concession to Republican leadership, it also didn’t oppose Saturday’s House vote.
As Heritage Action flourishes, Heritage Foundation has become less of a force on Capitol Hill, its role for three decades as an omnipresent voice in hearing rooms and Senate hideaways crafting legislation for Republicans now firmly in the rearview mirror.

The Heritage Foundation was recently ranked as the 18th best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was rated the 9th best think tank in the US.  It was also rated as the #1 think tank in the world in terms of best use of social media and the Internet.  Heritage was also rated as the 10th best think tank in the world in terms of most significant impact on public policy.

Think Tank Quickies (#85)

  • Heritage Action slowly becoming "irrelevant Neanderthal," says GOP aide.
  • New FixGov blog from Brookings focused on mending "broken" government.
  • Michael O'Hanlon on "The Greatest Generation" at Brookings.
  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe becomes 1st non-American to win Hudson Institute's Herman Kahn award.
  • Daily Caller: "CFR employs pro-terrorist Castro follower."
  • Chatham House establishes the Academy for Leadership in International Affairs.
  • Atlantic Council presents 4th annual Global Citizens Award to President of Poland Bronislaw Komorowski, Queen Rania Al Abdullah, and conductor Seiji Ozawa.
  • Atlantic Council to open 2nd office overseas in Warsaw, Poland.
  • Rethinking the think tank with a "snowfall" experiment, via Sam Petulla.
  • Why think tanks will become ever more important.