2017 Asia Think Tank Summit on “Think Tanks, Public Policy and Governance”

2017 Asia Think Tank Summit on “Think Tanks, Public Policy and Governance”
22-23 November 2017, Singapore

The Asia Competitiveness Institute (ACI) of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, the Think Tank and Civil Society Program, Lauder Institute, University of Pennsylvania, and the Asian Development Bank Institute jointly hosted The Asian Think Tank Summit in Singapore.


Participants at the Asia Think Tank Summit, Singapore.

In a rapidly changing environment with much focus on technological development, the world has become a contentious place. Apart from issues relating to peace, prosperity, and avoiding conflict and chaos, think tanks are faced with various challenges in the new environment. As such there is a need to brainstorm on how they can add value and why that is more important than before. A major transformation is the movement from a unipolar era to one of bipolaraism in which the world is at a crossroad as to where the changes will occur in the near future. Countries in Asia are emerging as economic powers with huge populations and perhaps will overtake the dominance of Europe and America.

Economic and security think tanks are the most prevalent constituting two third of all thinks tanks globally. The issues they address are dominant because they are key to the success and durability of nations and good governance. Environmental issues, the social sciences, and technology are becoming more relevant; however new developments in the economic order especially with the emergence of middle- and big-power security and economic research are of greater relevance.


Dr. James G. Mc Gann, Director Think Tank and Civil Society Program, University of Pennsylvania

With this scenario, think tanks in Asia have a pressing responsibility to adapt to the changing environment and to provide alternative decisions to policy planners. The policy suggestions have to come with innovative ways to send the message, provide research based output, and be based on wisdom and no longer on old models. In this aspect, networking through international collaborations and partnership among institutions may be useful in generating highly innovative ideas.

MIMA was represented at the Summit by Sumathy Permal, Fellow and Head of Centre for Straits of Malacca. Her participation reflects MIMA’s approach on being visible as well it commitment towards being an influential think tank in Asia in particular on maritime matters.

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