TTCSP Global and Regional Think Tank Summit Reports

Document Type



Dead Sea, Jordan




September 19-21, 2017

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:

2017 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.


Forty-eight participants from thirty-seven think tanks and twenty-one countries came together for the second MENA Think Tank Summit at the Dead Sea, Jordan. Though it had been four years since the inaugural summit, the instability in the region that delayed a second meeting did not extinguish the desire the of the participants to reach their target audience and learn from one another. The diversity of the participants and the numerous recommendations and collaborative ideas proposed are a huge indication of the importance of such a meeting, as well as the simple fact that the issues MENA think tanks face are the same across the region. This is an extension of another truth touched upon at the summit: that national problems in MENA are regional problems and that no conflict is isolated. Participants in the summit convened for two and half days, with four roundtable discussions and three breakout sessions. The problems discussed included: the necessity for think tanks to collaborate closely and share data, concerns over think tank staffing due to the lack of focus in the MENA region on the social sciences in universities, how to influence government properly without immediately self-censoring, the constraints of the current political climate, and primarily; how to utilize and involve the youth of the MENA region to improve think tank success and ensure a future for them in the region. Similar to the 2013 MENA Think Tank Summit Report, this report will divide challenges and recommendations suggested by summit participants into two categories: institutional challenges and capitalizing on transitions.



Date Posted: 12 March 2018