30 December 2012

See this recent piece on “think tanks,” and why the role of think tanks as a part of public policy is crucial; the role and recognition of the dynamic role of think tanks in Armenia has, fortunately, been improving recently. 

Excerpts:

“…Is government likely to be more successful by cutting off outside sources of information and expertise? The answer is no……Yet as the government faces cuts all around, it is scrambling for ideas: ideas to make its programs run faster, smoother, better. Ideas to save money, gather better data, and yes, often, to save lives. It does so with the help (if not the lead) of a rich and varied think tank and academic community. Every major government program, from tax reform to defense budget realignments, has benefited from the research and analysis of analysts who work at think tanks and in academic centers. If experts on health care or on Pakistan are not reaching out to non-government experts, they are not doing their job. And since these experts need to make a living, they must raise money for the institutions in which they work; They, unlike the government, do not have a tax base upon which to draw. 

Think tanks are one of the great strengths of the country. They provide a dynamic environment of intellectual inquiry that helps to refine ideas and translate academic arguments into policy-relevant recommendations. They allow individuals who have been fast-paced operational practitioners some time to sit back and consider the history or politics of a country more deeply, and then go back and work the long hours with greater context. They provide a way for younger individuals to gain knowledge and then "deploy" that knowledge once they enter government…” 

http://shadow.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/12/20/why_the_government_needs_think_tanks_and_academics

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