TTCSP Global and Regional Think Tank Summit Reports

Document Type



Washington, DC, USA


North America


May 13-14, 2015

Date of this Version



All requests, questions, and comments should be directed to:

James G. McGann, Ph.D. Senior Lecturer, International Studies Director Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program The Lauder Institute University of Pennsylvania Telephone: (215) 746-2928 Email:

2014 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 2nd Annual North American Think Tank summit brought together over forty-five think tanks from the United States of America, Canada, and Mexico to discuss how to best navigate an evolving environment that is information rich and resource scarce. Over the course of the summit, top level management from North American think tanks addressed the potential effectiveness of an industry wide set of standards in protecting a think tanks’ core assets of quality research and credibility. In light of concerns raised about transparency of think tank operations, summit participants deliberated:

1.The overall lack of operational funding and an overreliance on project-specific funding; the relationship between transparency, donors, and researchers

2. The lack of effective communication and marketing strategies to reach target audiences and achieve greater impact

3. In a dynamic economy, how can think tanks attract the best and brightest to make working in a think tank a career choice

An opening dinner was held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, with a keynote speech by the chief white house correspondent from CBS news, Major Garrett. Panels and breakout sessions were held the following day at the Woodrow Wilson Center.



Date Posted: 31 March 2016