Penn-Based Index Shows Rise of Asian, Latin-American, African Think Tanks; Brookings Is Top Think Tank

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania’s annual rankings of the world’s top think tanks puts the Brookings Institution at the top of the list as 2010 Think Tank of the Year.  It was selected from 74 institutions that were nominated. 

The report also shows the rise of think tanks in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

Launched in 2006, Penn’s “Global Go To Think Tank Rankings” annual report has become an authoritative source for the top public policy research institutes in the world.

 The newest rankings are based on a 2010 worldwide survey of 1,500 scholars, journalists, policymakers and peers from approximately 120 countries.  The panel nominated and ranked nearly 7,000 think tanks from every region of the world.

“The purpose of the rankings,” said James G. McGann, assistant director of Penn’s International Relations Program, director of the Think Tanks and Civil Society Program at Penn and the one who compiled the survey, “is to highlight the important work that think tanks perform for governments and civil societies around the world, often in dangerous and difficult conditions.”

The 2010 ranking results were released today at the United Nations University in New York.

The top non-U.S. think tanks for 2010 are Chatham House and Amnesty International, both in the United Kingdom, and Transparency International in Germany.  The top think tanks worldwide reflect the global reach of think tanks in the U.S. and Europe and include, in the U.S., the Brookings Institution, Council on Foreign Relations and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Chatham House.

Some of the top think tanks in Latin America and the Caribbean featured in the report are Fundacion Getulio Vargas and Centro Brasilerio de Relaciones Internacionales, both in Brazil, and Centro de Estudios Publicos in Chile).

The top think tanks in the Middle East and North Africa are Carnegie Middle East Center in Lebanon and Gulf Research Center in the United Arab Emirates. 

The top think tanks in sub-Saharan Africa are the South African Institute of International Affairs and Institute for Security Studies, both in South Africa, and the African Economic Research Consortium in Kenya.

This year’s rankings reflect the increased recognition of think tanks in Asia and the Pacific, including the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Japan Institute of International Affairs, Lowy Institute for International Policy in Australia, Korea Development Institute in South Korea and Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses in India.

Copies of the full report are available for download online at