University of Pennsylvania and U.S. State Department Convene European Think Tank Summit in Rome

PHILADELPHIA –- The University of Pennsylvania and the U.S. State Department are hosting a summit for leaders of Europe’s top domestic and foreign policy think tanks.

            The meeting, “Think Tanks in a Time of Crisis and Paralysis: On the Sidelines or Catalysts for Ideas and Action,” will be held in the U.S. Embassy in Rome on Nov. 20.

            The meeting is an outgrowth of the on-going research of Penn’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. It will include a briefing for the Italian Foreign Ministry and the president of the Italian Senate.

            One of a series of professional exchanges with researchers and policymakers in G20 countries, the summit seeks to increase understanding of the changing role of think tanks with growing relevance at the national, regional, and global levels of government.

This peer-to-peer exchange will provide participating think tank representatives with the opportunity to discuss a variety of special, substantive policy challenges and organizational issues through a series of panels, presentations and roundtable discussions.

James McGann, assistant director of Penn’s International Relations Program and director of the TTCS Program at Penn, said that the forum will foster thoughtful analysis and discussions on the relevant issues faced by all of the think tank institutions: international issues, best practices for domestic and foreign policy think tanks and the establishment of enduring linkages among think tanks at the national, regional and global levels.

            McGann will offer welcoming remarks on the topic “Policy Gridlock and Political Paralysis In a Time of Crisis: Think Tanks Part of the Problem, or the Solution?”  William Burke-White, deputy dean and professor of law at Penn, will chair a plenary session at the summit.

            Participating institutions will include the Brookings Institution; Bruegel of Belgium; CASE, a leading think tank in Poland; the Untied Kingdom’s Chatham House; the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research in the United Arab Emirates; the French Institute for International Relations; the German Marshall Fund of the United States; SETA Foundation of Turkey; the World Economic Forum of Switzerland; and more than three dozen others.

            The Summit is a precursor to the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program release of the Global Go-To Think Tank Rankings in January. Launched in 2006, the University of Pennsylvania’s Global Go-To Think Tank Rankings” annual report has become an authoritative source for the top public policy research institutes in the world.