think tanks

From blogs on the public diplomacy of Catalonia and think tanks to events on city diplomacy and South Korea's soft power, here's a run-down of CPD's top content this month.

Katarzyna Rybka-Iwańska suggests an increasing need to recognize the value and impact of think tanks. 

The latest email leaks from the Hotmail account of the United Arab Emirates' ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, could threaten Emirati diplomacy and strain regional relations, analysts say. Leaked emails point to strong relationship between the UAE and think tanks closely allied to Israel. Also contained in Saturday's leaks were emails detailing communications between the UAE and the US that aimed to prevent a meeting by the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, in the Qatari capital, Doha.

In today’s increasingly uncertain world, powerful nations are more likely to use think tanks than military tanks to crush their enemies and shape policy. Thinks tanks are increasingly becoming what one author rightly called "masters of the universe". In geopolitical terms, policy institutes are indicators of soft power capacity of nations. [...] To be sure, the influence of think tanks in Africa is not new.

Russian President Vladimir Putin described “soft power” in 2012 as “a matrix of tools and methods to reach foreign policy goals without the use of arms but by exerting information and other levers of influence.” His government has used state-owned media outlets like RT, formerly known as Russia Today, and other pro-Kremlin organizations to bend public opinion in other countries toward Russia.

China has grown rapidly in influence and ability to act in the international arena. That means it faces bigger, tougher and ever more urgent challenges. Therefore, there is a growing need for more high quality think tanks which can offer solutions to these challenges by mining the wisdom in the broader society.

Previously held in Istanbul, Cairo, Baku, Baghdad and Tehran, the subject of this year’s forum is “Addressing Multi-Dimensional Security Challenges” and will focus on themes addressing security challenges; cooperation in defence, politics and economy; dialogue among Muslims to promote unity; as well as promoting a soft power image of Muslim countries as a whole.

When it comes to the opinion-makers and experts we listen to on matters of foreign policy, it's neither new nor enough to ask: where are the women? We also have to ask where they aren't.We need not go very far for an answer: The Washington Post recently compiled data from events hosted by six leading think tanks in Washington, DC. They found that not a single woman spoke at more than 150 events on the Middle East. Of the 232 total events included in the Post's data set, fewer than 25 percent of the speakers were women.

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