Independent thinking on international affairs
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
Chatham House, also known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in London whose mission is to analyse and promote the understanding of major international issues and current affairs. It is regarded as one of the world's leading organizations in this area and is the originator of the world-famous Chatham House Rule. It takes its name from its premises, a Grade I listed 18th-century house in St. James's Square designed in part by Henry Flitcroft and occupied by three British prime ministers, including William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham.
In the University of Pennsylvania’s 2012 Global Go To Think Tanks Report, Chatham House is ranked the second most influential think tank in the world after the Brookings Institution, and the world's most influential non-US think tank. In 2009, Chatham House was also named the top non-US think tank by Foreign Policy magazine, which listed it as one of the top "scholars" for being among a handful of stars of the think-tank world who are regularly relied upon to set agendas and craft new initiatives.
Chatham House has distinguished presidents from each of the three main political parties at Westminster: Sir John Major, former UK Prime Minister, Lord Ashdown, former EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina and former leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Baroness Scotland, the former Attorney General.
Drawing upon its members, Chatham House aims to promote debate on significant developments in international affairs and policy responses. Their independent research and analysis on global, regional and country-specific challenges is intended to offer new ideas to decision makers on how these could best be tackled from the near to the long term. Chatham House is routinely used as a source of information for media organizations seeking background or experts upon matters involving major international issues.
Although it has been alleged that Chatham House reflects a pro-establishment view of the world  (due to donations from large corporations, governments and other organizations), Chatham House is nevertheless membership-based and anyone may join. It has a range of membership options for corporations, academic institutions, NGOs, and individuals including students and under 35s. In addition to corporate members consisting of government departments, large corporations, academic institutions, investment banks, NGOs, energy companies and other organizations, Chatham House currently has international leaders from business, diplomacy, science, politics and media as its individual members.
Chatham House Rule
Chatham House is the origin of the anonymity rule known as the Chatham House Rule, which provides that guests attending a seminar may discuss the results of the seminar in the outside world, but may not discuss who attended or identify what a specific individual said. The Chatham House Rule evolved to facilitate frank and honest discussion on controversial or unpopular issues by speakers who may not have otherwise had the appropriate forum to speak freely. Despite this, most meetings at Chatham House are held on the record, and not under the Chatham House Rule.
Research and publications
Chatham House research is structured around four departments: Energy, Environment and Resources, International Economics, International Security, and Area Studies and International Law, which comprises regional programmes on Africa, the America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and Russia and Eurasia, alongside the International Law programme. The International Security department also contains the Centre on Global Health Security.
- Recent notable reports and papers
In December 2012, Chatham House released Resources Futures, a report on resource insecurity and the potential for future supply disruptions, volatile prices, accelerated environmental degradation and rising political tensions over resource access. The report proposed a new 'G8-style' group of critical producers and consumers called the 'Resource 30' or R30 to tackle resource price volatility.
In May 2012, Chatham House published the report Shifting Capital: The Rise of Financial Centres in Greater China. The report argued that China needs to develop a deeper and more diversified financial sector that reflects the size and the international integration of its real economy.
To assess what contribution, if any, gold could make to the international monetary system in the wake of the global financial crisis, Chatham House set up a global taskforce of experts in 2011. In February 2012, the taskforce released the report Gold and the International Monetary System which concluded that although a gold standard may have limited reckless banking and debt accumulation, it likely would have created excessive constraint on national economic policies where more flexible responses were needed.
In September 2011 Chatham House published a report examining support for populist extremists across Europe and recommending how mainstream political parties could respond. Right Response: Understanding and Countering Populist Extremism in Europe, by Matthew Goodwin, noted that extreme parties more effectively exchange ideas and strategies as compared to mainstream parties, and recommended established parties work together on best practice to confront this challenge.
In October 2010 Chatham House published a report entitled Strategy in Austerity: The Security and Defence of the United Kingdom. The report offered a framework for assessing the quality and durability of the British government's Strategic Defence and Security Review. Briefing Papers were also published on Iraq, Yemen, Cyber-Warfare, and the legal implications of unmanned drones (UAVs) amongst others.
In September 2010 Chatham House produced the report The ‘Shale Gas Revolution’: Hype and Reality, by Paul Stevens, which analysed the huge increase in unconventional gas production in the US. The report cast serious doubts over the industry’s confidence in the ‘revolution’ and whether conditions in the US could be replicated. It received a Special Note in the Publication of the Year category at the Prospect Think Tank Awards 2011.
A Chatham House analysis of the June 2009 Iranian presidential election voting figures by Ali Ansari, Daniel Berman and Thomas Rintoul revealed irregularities in the official statistics that contradicted the official government line that a spate of newly participating voters had pushed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to victory. This report was widely cited by major media outlets, including The New York Times, BBC News, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times.
In addition to undertaking wide-ranging research, Chatham House hosts high-profile speakers from around the world. Recent speakers include David Cameron, Aung San Suu Kyi, Christine Lagarde, Madeleine Albright, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Abdullah Gül, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Herman Van Rompuy, Muhammad Yunus, and Ban Ki-moon.
- Periodical Publications
The think tank was founded in 1920 as the British Institute of International Affairs following a meeting at the previous year's Paris Peace Conference. The first chairman was Robert Cecil, while Lionel Curtis served as honorary secretary. Arnold J. Toynbee later became director. The Council on Foreign Relations, its American sister institute, was established the following year. Chatham House's well-known headquarters at 10 St. James's Square, London, was donated to the institute in 1923, having previously been the home of three British Prime Ministers - Pitt the Elder, Edward Stanley and William Ewart Gladstone - and also of the Earl and Countess of Blessington.
In 1926, upon receipt of its royal charter, the name was changed to the Royal Institute of International Affairs. The name of the building grew to be so synonymous with the institute that it is commonly referred to as "Chatham House". The Chatham House building is located just a few metres from the former Libyan embassy building where the 1984 Libyan Embassy Siege took place.
The BBC Today/Chatham House lecture series, developed with the Today programme, was designed to promote debate and discussion on key international issues of the day. At the inaugural lecture in 2006, Condoleezza Rice defended the U.S. decision to go to war with Iraq.
Chatham House Prize
The Chatham House Prize is an annual award presented to the statesperson deemed by Chatham House members to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.
- Council on Foreign Relations
- Australian Institute of International Affairs
- Canadian International Council
- South African Institute of International Affairs
- Singapore Institute of International Affairs
- Pakistan Institute of International Affairs
- List of UK think tanks
- The World Today
- International Affairs
- Think-tanks going global, survey finds EurActiv.com
- University of Pennsylvania 2012 Global Go To Think Tanks Ranking Released 21 January 2013
- McGann, James (2009-02-01). "Foreign Policy: The Think Tank Index". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
- Patrons, Presidents, Council, and Directors at Chatham House
- Tesfamariam, Sophia (2007-02-06). "Scholarly or Sophistry? A take on Chatham House’s "Ethiopia and Eritrea: Allergic to Persuasion"". American Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
- Chatham House Membership
- Research at Chatham House
- Harding, Robin (2012-12-10). "Nationalism threat to resource prices". Financial Times. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
- Bawden, Tom (2012-12-10). "Pressure on dwindling resources 'threatens global chaos'". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
- Bromby, Robin (2012-12-13). "Talkfest won't tackle the big issues". The Australian. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
- Subacchi, P., et al. Shifting Capital: The Rise of Financial Centres in Greater China at Chatham House, May 2012
- Chatham House Gold Taskforce Gold and the International Monetary System at Chatham House, February 2012
- Goodwin, M. Right Response: Understanding and Countering Populist Extremism in Europe at Chatham House, September 2011
- Cornish, P. Strategy in Austerity, The Security and Defence of the United Kingdom at Chatham House, October 2010
- Stevens, P. The ‘Shale Gas Revolution’: Hype and Reality at Chatham House, September 2010
- On Think Tanks Prospect Magazine Think Tank Awards 2011 Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- Ansari, A., Berman, D. and Rintoul, T. Preliminary Analysis of the Voting Figures in Iran's 2009 Presidential Election at Chatham House, June 2009
- The New York Times, Answering Your Iran Questions, 26 June 2009
- BBC News, Iran: Where Did All the Votes Come From?, 23 June 2009
- The Guardian, Magic Numbers, 22 June 2009
- The Daily Telegraph, Mousavi Urges More Protests as Iran's Hardline Leadership Arrests Opposition Member's Family, 22 June 2009
- The Wall Street Journal, Heavy Security Reins in Iranian Protests, 22 June 2009
- The Financial Times, Tensions Deepen as UK Rebuffs Tehran Claims, 21 June 2009
- "Library of Congress authority file". Retrieved 2011-04-21.
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- The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Registered Charity no. 208223 at the Charity Commission