Global Summit

2021 Global Think Tank Summit Report

Zuha Noor, University of Pennsylvania
Laura Messner, University of Pennsylvania
Benjamin Kosko, University of Pennsylvania

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2021 Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this report may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the University of Pennsylvania, Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program.


The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, along with Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) hosted the 2021 Global Think Tank Summit in Manama, Bahrain. After the sudden and tragic passing of the TTCSP Director Dr. James G. McGann just days before the Summit, executing the program became all the more significant. This was an expression of the unity and discipline he had inculcated in the think tank community through decades of hard work and his final endeavor could not be left unfinished. The theme of the Summit this year was Global Trends and Transitions in Think Tanks, Politics and Policy Advice in the Age of Policy Dilemmas and Disruptions. The objective was to discuss how, among other things, COVID has impacted think tank research programs, public engagement, fundraising, operations and how it has disrupted and transformed the traditional business model for think tanks and policy advice. This was followed by exploring the potential of partnerships in the post-Covid world and whether there is a need to reorient the way we create these partnerships. There was an emphasis on the rising global inequality, particularly in a world reeling from the pandemic. The Summit also saw the launch of the Women in Think Tanks Global Network (WITTGN) which was Dr. McGann’s flagship project. The network currently contains 4 working groups with over 600 registrants from around the world. We hope such conversations continue and the community of think tanks can keep supporting policy makers and the civil society by making themselves agile and responsive to their needs.


Date Posted: 21 January 2022