Transnational Institute

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Transnational Institute
Abbreviation TNI
Formation 1973 [1]
Type Policy think tank
Headquarters Amsterdam, Netherlands
Fiona Dove

Transnational Institute (TNI) is an international think tank for progressive politics. It was established in 1973[1] in Amsterdam and serves as a network for scholars and activists. Though now independent, it was established as the international programme of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Policy Studies.


1973: The Transnational Institute (TNI) was established with headquarters at Paulus Potter Street 20 (now the Wittenstraat 25) in Amsterdam. On 9 November 1973 Eqbal Ahmad became the first TNI Director. Among TNI's first Fellows were novelist John Berger, Tom Nairn, John Gittings, Richard Gott, Ernst Utrecht, and Ambalavaner Sivanandan.

In 1974 TNI took part in the international campaign to isolate the military dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile. It held its first conference around the publication, "Lessons from Chile" (find reference), in the aftermath of the military coup. Many exiled Chileans attended, including three former ministers of the Allende government.[2]

1976: Orlando Letelier former Foreign and Defence Minister of Chile and former Ambassador to the US, was appointed director of TNI. He began a great effort to promote the New International Economic Order (NIEO). He also managed to stop the Dutch government loaning $60 million for Chilean industrial development.[3]

On 21 September 1976 Orlando Letelier, together with Ronni Karpen Moffitt, was assassinated in Washington DC with a car bomb.

Basker Vashee took up the position as director of the Institute.

TNI set to work on boycotting Apartheid in South Africa. They helped social movements find each other and published the research “Black South Africa Explodes”[4] on the uprising in Soweto and “US Arms Deliveries to South Africa; The Italian Connection”.

Its current director is Fiona Dove.


TNI receives part of its institutional funding from the Samuel Rubin Foundation (New York).[5] In addition, it is supported on a project basis by a range of funders, including church agencies, peace and environmental organisations, European foreign and development co-operation ministries, the European Commission, and private foundations in the United States and Europe.

Key Issues[edit]

TNI programmes engage in a broad range of research, policy advocacy and civil society networking activities. Often in collaboration organisations and networks they work to advance an agenda of economic, social and environmental justice.

  • The Alternative Regionalisms programme addresses the question of alternative development from the perspective of social movements and regional coalitions of civil society organisations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It facilitates cross-regional exchanges on a South-South and South-North basis through a series of Peoples’ Dialogues.
  • The Drugs and Democracy programme analyses global trends in drugs policy and promotes a pragmatic approach to tackling illegal drugs based on harm reduction principles. Its work on drugs and conflict in the Andean/Amazon region, Afghanistan and Burma forges connections between illicit drugs and wider issues of demilitarisation, democratisation, public health promotion and poverty reduction. These are then reflected in attempts to influence the policy debate at UN and regional decision-making levels.
  • The New Politics programme engages with innovations and experimentation by social movements, progressive political parties and governments worldwide. It stimulates new thinking and policy proposals on participatory democracy, political organisation, urban governance and rural democratisation.
  • The Environmental Justice project monitors the negative impact of pollution trading upon environmental, social and economic justice, and works to develop community-led responses to it.
  • The Militarism and Globalisation project analyses the changing global frameworks for military intervention and the spread of new security infrastructures. Its current focus includes work on defence industrial reorganisation and the accountability of foreign military bases.
  • The Water Justice project promotes participatory, public sector water as the most viable means to achieve the goal of water for all. It facilitates the creation of new regional and global networks to promote public-public co-operation in the water sector. TNI also publishes a Public Services yearbook on the impact of privatisation and experiences of public sector reform globally.

Fellows and Associate Fellows[edit]


Mariano Aguirre, Marcos Arruda, Phyllis Bennis, Walden Bello, Praful Bidwai, Kees Biekart, Jun Borras, Brid Brennan, John Cavanagh, Daniel Chavez, Susan George, Jochen Hippler, Martin Jelsma, Boris Kagarlitsky, Dot Keet, Edgardo Lander, Kamil Mahdi, Joel Rocamora, David Sogge, Achin Vanaik, Myriam vander Stichele, Howard Wachtel, Hilary Wainwright

Associated Fellows[edit]

Tom Reifer, Gonzalo Berrón, Pauline Tiffen, Ricardo Vargas

Senior Fellows[edit]

Saul Landau

Former fellows and contributors[edit]

Former fellows include John Gittings, Fred Halliday, Richard Falk, Michael Shuman, Dan Smith and Basker Vashee.


  • Loaded Questions: Women in Militaries Wendy Chapkis, published by TNI together with the Institute for Policy Studies, with contributions of Cynthia Enloe 1981.[6]
  • Of Common Cloth: Women in the Global Textile Industry, edited by Cynthia Enloe with Wendy Chapkis: published by TNI together with the Institute for Policy Studies, 1983.[7]
  • "Systems Overload: Drug Laws and Prisons in Latin America" - published by TNI together with the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) [8]


  1. ^ a b Archives at the International Institute of Social History
  2. ^ History at the website of the institute
  3. ^ Diuguid, Lewis H. (September 16, 1976), "Chile Decree Lifts Citizenship Of Ex-Ambassador Letelier", The Washington Post: p. A30
  4. ^ Black South Africa Explodes at
  5. ^ "Schedule of grants paid for the year ending June 30, 2009" Samuel Rubin Foundation
  6. ^ Loaded Questions at
  7. ^ Of Common Cloth at goodreads
  8. ^ BBC news on 9-12-2011

External links[edit]