MERI Ranked as Iraq’s Leading Think Tank

The Middle East Research Institute (MERI) has been named among the top think tanks in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) Region, and the highest ranking in Iraq, according to the 2015 Global Go To Think Tank Index report issued by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Lauder Institute.

The Lauder Institute maintains the largest and most comprehensive database of over 6,500 think tanks, policymakers, and policy-oriented civil society groups; and ranks organisations annually both globally and regionally.  This year marks the ninth year of the Institute’s continued efforts to acknowledge the important contributions and emerging global trends of think tanks worldwide.

In mid-2015, after being active for only 12 months, MERI was independently nominated to be included in the 2015 Index for the first time. MERI ranked 58 out of 398 organisations in the MENA Region. MERI also became the highest ranked think tank in Iraq, where 31 think tanks are known to operate.


As part of this process, 6,846 think tanks and over 4,750 journalists, policymakers, public and private donors, and functional and regional area specialists were surveyed to both nominate and rank public policy research centers of distinction for 2015. The Index ranking was decided by expert panels that were comprised of hundreds of members from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines.

Some of the ranking criteria included: the quality and commitment of the think tank’s staff; the quality, number, and reach of its publications; the academic performance and reputation of the organisation and the impact of publications on policymakers.

As part of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, MERI also took part in the 2015 Global Go To Think Tank Index Launch on 27th January. This year’s event saw 107 think tanks and policy oriented organisations, including the World Bank and the United Nations, in 70 cities and 60 countries host events. MERI brought together a number of academics, local and international NGOs, local media representatives, as well as policymakers from within the Kurdistan Regional Government, at a round-table to discuss this year’s Index Launch topic, “Do think tanks matter?” More details of MERI’s participation in the Index Launch can be found here.

The full 2015 Global Go To Think Tank Index can be accessed here and PDF file downloaded here.

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About MERI:  The Middle East Research Institute is Iraq’s leading policy-research institute and think tank. It is an independent, entirely grant-funded not-for-profit organisation, based in Erbil, Kurdistan Region.  Its mission is to contribute to the process of nation-building, state-building and democratisation via engagement, research, analysis and policy debates.

MERI’s main objectives include promoting and developing human rights, good governance, the rule of law and social and economic prosperity. MERI conduct high impact, high quality research (including purpose-based field work) and has published extensively in areas of: human rights, government reform, international politics, national security, ISIS, refugees, IDPs, minority rights (Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen, Shabaks, Sabi mandeans), Baghdad-Erbil relations, Hashd Al-Shabi, Peshmarga, violence against women, civil society. MERI engages policy- and decision-makers, the civil society and general public via publication, focused group discussions and conferences (MERI Forum).

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