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Al Qasimi Foundation Again Named One of Top Regional Think Tanks

Al Qasimi Foundation
February 02, 2015

The Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research was again named one of the Middle East’s best think tanks in the University of Pennsylvania's latest global think tank rankings, marking its fifth consecutive appearance in the respected report. 

Five UAE-based think tanks were included in the 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report, which is part of the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP). The Al Qasimi Foundation is distinct from the other UAE institutions named in this report, however, because it has made education research a priority area, recognizing that a strong educational system has positive externalities including economic development.

The Think Tank Index Report evaluates think tanks by several categories and has recognized the Al Qasimi Foundation’s achievements consistently. Established in 2009, the Foundation made the list of the world’s top new think tanks in 2010, 2011, and 2012. As the Foundation continues to foster regional research and capacity development, it has been deemed one of the best think tanks in the MENA region overall, appearing in the TTCSP’s top regional rankings in 2013 and again in 2014. 

“The issues that we focus on at the Al Qasimi Foundation—chief among them education—are major concerns for nations in the MENA region and worldwide. So, we’re pleased to make contributions that the international community continues to recognize and value,” says Dr. Natasha Ridge, Executive Director of the Al Qasimi Foundation. 

Of the 14 think tanks currently operating in the United Arab Emirates, the Think Tank Index Report included only three as regional leaders in 2013 and 2014. Along with the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) and the Economic Policy and Research Center (EPRC), the Al Qasimi Foundation is producing some of the foremost policy research and initiatives taking place in the UAE, according to this document. 

As each of these institutions strives to present research and policy recommendations to UAE leaders, the relevance of education to national policy discussions cannot be overstated. 

Dr. Hilda Freimuth, a senior lecturer at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, explains the role of education in the UAE’s economic growth and international leadership potential. 

“Currently, the UAE government’s 2021 Vision document is directing the country’s future development. Here, leaders recognize that in order for the UAE to become more competitive on the international stage, it must foster a knowledge economy. That’s where education comes in, because education is what fuels human capital and leads to innovation.”

With this in mind, the Al Qasimi Foundation has been researching education in the UAE and offering policymakers tools—in the form of working papers, policy briefs, and public forums dedicated to research dissemination—to maximize educational outcomes in the region. Major educational issues in the UAE and GCC include education quality, the privatization of education, and the reverse gender gap. 

Based on a survey of nearly 2,000 experts in the field of policy research, public and private donor bodies, journalists, scholars, and policymakers, the Think Tank Index Report may provide some insight into the international community’s attitude toward education policy research. The Al Qasimi Foundation’s repeated inclusion seems to indicate that the global think tank community appreciates that Foundation’s emphasis on education research and related capacity development efforts. 

“The mission of the Al Qasimi Foundation involves supporting the social, cultural, and economic development of our region by studying relevant societal factors, and little is more crucial to sustainable development than maximizing a community’s educational opportunities and outcomes,” says Ms. Caitrin Mullan, Community Engagement and Outreach Program Manager at the Foundation. 

“Our hope is that the TTCSP’s report draws attention to national educational research and compels policymakers to consider that data as they make decisions on behalf of current and future generations in the UAE.”

Top Think Tanks in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) (Table #13 in the Report)

1.    Carnegie Middle East Center (Lebanon) 
2.    Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS) (Egypt) 
3.    Brookings Doha Center (Qatar) 
4.    Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies (EDAM) (Turkey) 
5.    Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) (Israel) 
6.    Al Jazeera Centre for Studies (AJCS) (Qatar) 
7.    Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) (Turkey) 
8.    Gulf Research Center (GRC) (Saudi Arabia) 
9.    Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (Israel) 
10.    Center for Strategic Studies (CSS) (Jordan) 
11.    Association for Liberal Thinking (ALT) (Turkey) 
12.    Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches en Sciences Sociales (CERSS) (Morocco) 
13.    Egyptian Center for Economic Studies (ECES) (Egypt) 
14.    Regional Center for Strategic Studies (RCSS) (Egypt) 
15.    RAND-Qatar Policy Institute (Qatar) 
16.    Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace (Israel) 
17.    Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) (Egypt) 
18.    European Stability Initiative (ESI) (Turkey) 
19.    Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR) (Egypt) 
20.    Economic Research Forum (ERF) (Egypt) 
21.    Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) (United Arab Emirates) 
22.    Center for Arab Unity Studies (CAUS) (Lebanon) 
23.    Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) (Israel) 
24.    Amadeus Institute (Morocco) 
25.    Contemporary Center for Studies and Policy Analysis (Medad) (Palestine) 
26.    Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA) (Egypt) 
27.    Arab Thought Forum (ATF) (Jordan) 
28.    Al-Quds Center for Political Studies (Jordan) 
29.    International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) (Israel) 
30.    Mitvim – The Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies (Israel) 
31.    International Strategic Research Organization (USAK) (Turkey) 
32.    Arab Planning Institute (API) (Kuwait) 
33.    Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies (Israel) 
34.    Tunisian Institute for Strategic Studies (ITES) (Tunisia)
35.    Economic Policy and Research Center (EPRC) (United Arab Emirates) 
36.    Israel Center for Social and Economic Progress (ICSEP) (Israel) 
37.    Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies (ICDS) (Egypt) 
38.    Maurice Falk Institute for Economic Research (Israel) 
39.    Center of Strategic and Future Studies (CSFS) (Kuwait) 
40.    Van Leer Jerusalem Institute (VLJI) (Israel) 
41.    Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) (Kuwait) 
42.    Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) (Israel)
43.    Royal Institute for Strategic Studies (IRES) (Morocco)
44.    OCP Policy Center (Morocco)
45.    Reut Institute (Israel)
46.    Future Studies Center (Egypt)
47.    Institut Francais de Recherche en Iran (IFRI) (Iran)
48.    Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (LCPS) (Lebanon)
49.    Sheba Center for Strategic Studies (SCSS) (Yemen)
50.    Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research (United Arab Emirates)
51.    Sadeq Institute (Libya)
52.    Tunisian Observatory for a Democratic Transition (Tunisia)
53.    Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs (IFI) (Lebanon)
54.    Tawasul (Oman)
55.    Arab Forum for Alternatives (AFA) (Egypt)

About the Global Go ToThink Tank Index Report: The Global Go To Think Tank Index Report is part of the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP), which is enageed in doing research on and making contributions to policy research institutions worldwide. The 2014 Think Tank Index Report is the result of the TTCSP’s international survey of more than 1,900 experts in the field of policy research, public and private donor bodies, journalists, scholars, and policymakers. For its part, the TTCSP seeks “to increase the profile and performance of think tanks and raise the public awareness of the important role think tanks play in governments and civil societies around the globe.”