The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania’s Lauder Institute ranked the Middle East Research Institute (MERI) as the top think tank in Iraq in 2017 for the third consecutive year in its 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index report. The TTCSP also ranked MERI number 57 of 479 in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) Region. These are no small achievements considering the extreme political, security and financial circumstances in Iraq and the increasing competition among think tanks across MENA countries.
In the Index, the TTCSP examines the role policy institutes play in governments and civil societies around the world; maintains the largest and most comprehensive database of think tanks, policymakers, and policy-oriented civil society groups; and annually rank orders regional and international think tanks by a number of policy cross-sectoral criteria.
TTCSP’s global index of think tanks is designed to identify and recognise centres of excellence in all the major areas of public policy research and in every region of the world, and this year marks the eleventh year of the Institute’s continued efforts to acknowledge the important contributions of think tanks worldwide.
As part of this process, 7,815 think tanks were surveyed by over 4,000 journalists, policymakers, public and private donors, and functional and regional area specialists. These were invited to both nominate and rank public policy research centres of distinction for 2017. The Index ranking was decided by expert panels that were comprised of hundreds of members from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines. The ranking criteria included, among others: 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.
To mark the day of the release of the Global Go To Think Tank Index on 30th January, 175 think tanks and policy-oriented organisations across the 75 countries host events and activities. On this day, MERI launched its policy report ‘Displacement-Emigration-Return: Understanding Uncertainty in Iraq’ addressing migration trends among Iraq’s internally displaced persons and refugees.
MERI is pleased with this outcome and wishes to thank all its current and former staff, and its associated network of supporters both locally and globally. The full 2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index can be accessed 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)