Bethlehem, 1 Jumadil Awal 1434/12 March 2013 (MINA) – The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs (PASSIA) has been ranked the number one Palestinian think tank and is among the top 40 in the MENA region, according to a recent study.
     Jerusalem based PASSIA, with a permanent staff of just 7, ranked 34th among top think tanks in the Middle East and North Africa region, a study carried out by the University of Pennsylvania says.
     “This ranking is recognition of our longstanding commitment to providing not only research and policy analysis but more crucially a forum for dialogue and free expression in Jerusalem,” the NGO’s founding director, Dr Mahdi Abdul Hadi, said, according to Ma’an news agency report monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), Tuesday.
     “As such, it is also a tribute to the unwavering devotion of the PASSIA team and all those who participate in our activities and support our endeavor.”
      Nearly 2,000 experts, academics, journalists and activists have take part in the University of Pennsylvania’s annual program to rank global think tanks, now in its sixth year.
     Over 6,000 think tanks were contacted and encouraged to participate in the nomination process.
     A number of areas were assessed by the study, including most innovative policy ideas and best use of social media.
     “This is an acknowledgement of PASSIA’s efforts over the past twenty six years. Taking into consideration our size, this recognition is a source of great pride and honor for us,” PASSIA’s Program Director Deniz Altayli said.
      Israel has 54 research institutes, the largest number in the MENA region, the study says. Both Egypt and Iran have 34 while Palestine comes in 4th with 29 think tanks, despite a much smaller population.
      The United States has the largest number of think tanks in the world at 1,823.

Think Tank Ranking (2012)

      In an effort to provide international donors and journalists with a database of the world’s most preeminent think thanks, the University of Pennsylvania has, since 2006, compiled annual listings of the world’s top public policy and research think tanks.

     Over 1,900 experts, including academics, journalists, and activists from around the globe, participated in the University’s renowned Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program to provide analysis and feedback on ranking the world’s most acclaimed and cited think tank organizations, according to PASSIA website report.

        This year, 6,603 organizations from 182 countries were considered by the Ivy League institution and were ranked in 38 different categories that span region, particular areas of research (security and international affairs, international development, environment, etc.), and by special achievement (most innovative policy ideas/proposals, best use of the internet or social media, etc.).

        The Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs attained the rank of 34 in the category of the top think tanks throughout the Middle East, the highest rank among all Palestinian civil society organizations and third highest ranked organization based in Jerusalem, after the Harry S. Truman Institute for Advancement of Peace and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (see page 64 in the attached report).

       Israeli organizations featured in the regional rankings tended to be focused on international relations and security matters such as the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (#3) and the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) FNA Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies (#7). Prominent among regional organizations were the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (#5) and the Jordan-based Arab Thought Forum (#15).

       According to survey data, the Middle East and North contain the worlds fewest number of think tanks (with the exception of Oceania), with a mere 5.1 percent (339) of the total. Not surprisingly, North America and Europe accounted for over half of the worlds organizations (29.1 an 27.8 percent, respectively), with Asia (18 percent) and Africa (8.4 percent) next in line.

     The United States easily surpasses other nations in terms of quantity of think tanks, with 1,823 such organizations, more than four times as many as second place China, which has 424. The United Kingdom comes in third place with 288 think tanks.

       In the Middle East and North Africa, Israel commands the largest figure of 54, followed by Egypt and Iran with 34 and 33, respectively. Palestine comes in 4th place with 29 think tanks (the survey does not address which category Jerusalem-based Palestinian organizations are classified), though with the exception of PASSIA, no Palestinian think tank is ranked in the top 40 for this region.

     Other Middle East and North African countries that possess ten or more think tanks include Turkey, Yemen, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait and Morocco, although the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia do nonetheless have think tanks represented in the regional rankings.  (T/P04/E1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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