Role and Importance of Think Tanks: Discussion in AMBERD Research Center

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On January 31, a discussion entitled ‘’Why facts and think tanks matter?’’ was held in AMBERD Research Center of Armenian State University of Economics among the researchers and invited experts. The meeting was organized on the eve of publication of the annual “Global Go To Think Tank” rating report published by the University of Pennsylvania, which is the only comprehensive rating of the world's best think tanks.
The main speaker of the meeting, Director of AMBERD Research Center Armen Grigoryan mentioned that the meeting pursues one important goal: to discuss the role and importance of think tanks in the field of public policy, as well as cooperation layout between state institutions – think tanks and other public policy subjects- think tanks in Armenia.
The speaker talked about the results of the monitoring of the activities of Armenian think tanks which are included or not included in the “Global Go To Think Tank” annual report, presented the formats of collaboration of AMBERD with other think tanks and with the Armenian government agencies, the issues of establishing and deepening cooperation, as well as the key issues of the expertise services related to the decisions made by public administration bodies in the field of public policy.
The speaker emphasized that in many countries of the world political culture is such that the cooperation between think tanks and public policy subjects traditionally has institutional character, which in case of Armenia is still based on individual contacts, but positive changes are also seen in this direction.
In particular, the format of cooperation between the Security Council of Armenia and AMBERD Research Center was presented, as well as the cooperation format established with the National Assembly (Parliament of Armenia) Standing Committee on Economic Affairs, noting that it still does not have an influence on the processes in the field of public policy, as in the case of many countries, which have advanced think tanks and political culture.
However, the speaker emphasized that, nevertheless, it is important that state institutions now give great attention on the organization of public discussions of different initiatives and the inclusion of think tanks in public policy processes.
The speaker expressed conviction that the quality of the decisions made in the field of public policy may be essentially improved by expanding the inclusion of think tanks and outsourcing analytical and expert functions.
The speaker also mentioned that many people have been involved in the government and legislative bodies from the field of think tanks, which is also an encouraging stimulus for developing the sector and deepening cooperation formats.
The issues of sector funding and current means of influencing on public opinion by think tanks were also discussed.
The speaker mentioned that the deepening of cooperation with the think tanks would allow the Government agencies to reach the legitimation of the complicated and publicly popular projects, through the efforts of the think tanks involved in the elaboration and discussion by using so-called “soft power”, which is of crucial importance in such cases.
Armen Grigoryan's report followed the expert discussion on issues raised.
Let us recall that the Deputy Director-Senior Expert of AMBERD Research Center, Dr. Vardan Atoyan participated in “Why Facts and Think Tanks Matter” forum at the Brookings Institution (on January 31, 2019).

ASUE Media and Public Relations Division