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The Aljazeera Centre for Studies (AJCS) and Brookings Doha Centre (BDC) ranked fifth and sixth among the top 10 think tanks in the region, according to the ‘2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index.

’ The latest Index report was launched in Doha yesterday by AJCS, in partnership with the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Programme (TTCSP), which is based at the University of Pennsylvania. According to AJCS, it has maintained its fifth position among the most influential research centres in the Mena region. “Out of 479 think tanks that were indexed, we’ve got two of them coming from Qatar, notwithstanding its size, while other GCC countries are not featured anywhere in the top 10,” AJCS researcher Thembisa Fakude told Gulf Times. Meanwhile, BDC, an overseas branch of Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, ranked sixth in the Index. The Jordan-based Centre for Strategic Studies remained in the number one spot in the Mena region. The Index is the result of an international survey of more than 1,950 scholars, public and private donors, policy makers, and journalists who helped rank more than 6,500 think tanks using a set of 18 criteria developed by the TTCSP. TTCSP selected about 100 think thanks from 100 different cities around the world, including AJCS in Doha, to help them launch the latest Index. Fakude noted that the GCC region has a total of 61 think tanks while Qatar alone has 14, including AJCS and BDC. The launch was followed by a panel discussion entitled, “Why Think Tanks Matter in the era of Digital and Political Disruptions,” which was moderated by Fakude. The panellists are Dr Nadir Kabbani from BDC, Dr Zahra Babar from Georgetown University Qatar and Dr Ezzedine Abdelmoula from AJCS. In a video message, TTCSP director James G McGann said more than 160 organisations in 100 cities around the world also hosted locally produced programmes discussing the same topic. “Think thanks are critically important but to remain relevant and competitive, they will need to adapt and transform their strategy, structure and operations,” he pointed out. McGann said producing innovative and excellent ideas will remain the central mission of think tanks. “But they need to embrace new business models and technologies to enable them to deliver a range of content and products to a broader set of institutions and audiences,” he explained. “Our research rankings in national, regional and global think tank summits and forums are designed to create a global community or alliance that can share ideas, best practices and effective strategies for meeting the global challenges we face in today’s world,” McGann stressed. Meanwhile, the panel discussion tackled an array of issues on the important role of think tanks in facing various challenges in the region, especially the ongoing blockade on Qatar. Dr Kabbani cited the need for think tanks to shed light on the economic cost of the siege on both sides, including its effect on the blockading countries.