Berggruen Institute

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Berggruen Institute
BerggruenInstitute Twitter stacked.jpg
FounderNicolas Berggruen
Registration no.C3671781
Craig Calhoun
Revenue (2016)
Expenses (2016)$7,864,358[1]
Endowment (2016)$500 million[2]
WebsiteBerggruen Institute

The Berggruen Institute (formerly Berggruen Institute on Governance) is an independent think tank which develops ideas to shape political and social institutions.


The Berggruen Institute was founded in 2010 by Nicolas Berggruen. Formerly known as the Berggruen Institute on Governance, the Institute launched various projects devoted to proposing and implementing new ideas of governance. Today the Institute is composed of the Berggruen Governance Center and the Berggruen Philosophy and Culture Center.[3]

In 2019, the Berggruen Institute launched a book series on Great Transformations with University of California Press.[4]

Berggruen Governance Center[edit]

The Berggruen Governance Center is dedicated to the design and implementation of new ideas of good governance relevant to the common challenges of globalization in the 21st century. This is primarily being done through three projects: the 21st Century Council, the Council for the Future of Europe, and the Think Long Committee for California.[5]

21st Century Council[edit]

The 21st Century Council brings together former heads of state, global thinkers and entrepreneurs to address the problems arising from power shifts from Western-dominated globalization to a multipolar world. The council is devoted to global governance reform with the aim to “build on a convergence of interests in order to create a community of interests.”[6]

Initially formed as a shadow G-20, the council presented its recommendations to President Nicolas Sarkozy of France in 2011 prior to the G-20 Summit in Cannes, as well as to President Felipe Calderon of Mexico and his successor Enrique Pena Nieto in 2012 prior to the G-20 Summit in Mexico.

In November 2013, the Council held its first “Understanding China” conference in Beijing with Paramount leader Xi Jinping of China. A second meeting was held in November 2015.

The Council is chaired by former President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo.[7]

Council on the Future of Europe[edit]

The Council on the Future of Europe is a committee engaged in research, debate and advocacy to move forward the project of a united Europe.[8] It advocates not only a fiscal and political union within Europe but also the engagement of European citizens. It supports “town hall” meetings[9] and seminars to provide a forum for Council members and European leaders to bring their ideas to the public.

In May 2013, the Council held a “town hall” meeting endorsed by the French President Francois Hollande, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and Italian labor minister. The Council and Germany’s labor minister, Ursula von der Leyen, proposed an investment, training, and jobs program for Europe. The program eventually became a part of European policy in January 2015 when European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker proposed the 315 billion euro Investment Plan.[10]

The Think Long Committee for California[edit]

The Think Long Committee for California promotes a comprehensive approach for improving California's government. It has involved a politically bi-partisan board from the outset. In November 2011, the Committee published its report, A Blueprint to Renew California.[11] The report recommended the devolution of power to local governments and school districts, reform of the democracy initiative process to ensure greater consideration of measures proposed by the public, establishment of a “rainy day” fund for economic downturns, a body of long-term oversight to balance the short-term, special-interest character of the elected legislature, and modernization of California’s tax system.

In 2014, the Committee helped promote SB 1253, “The Ballot Initiative Transparency Act,” eventually approved on September 28, 2014.[12] It increase the opportunities for public comment, and allows lawmakers and proponents to make changes before ballots go to the voters. The Committee also helped the approve Proposition 2 in 2014, “The Rainy Day Fund, .” which sets aside small percentage of revenue each year to pay the state’s debt and safeguard against economic downturns.[13]

Berggruen Philosophy and Culture Center[edit]

The Philosophy and Culture Center launched in September 2015 with the mission to help bridge cultural divides, particularly between the East and the West, and to foster the development of new ideas.[14] It has three main programs: the Berggruen Fellowship Program, the Berggruen Prize, and the Berggruen Ideas Competition.

Global Fellowship Program[edit]

The Fellowship Program is a two-year program that gives scholars the opportunity to study at academic institutions all over the world.[15] The Program also supports research at the University of Southern California (USC) Brain and Creativity Institute under Dr. Antonio Damasio.

The academic institutions include Stanford University's Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Harvard University, Oxford University, New York University, Tsinghua University, and Peking University.

Berggruen Prize[edit]

The Berggruen Prize honors a living thinker whose ideas are of basic importance for contemporary life. The inaugural Berggruen Prize was awarded to Charles Taylor for his contributions that have "fundamentally shaped public discussion of the nature of multiculturalism, secularism and contemporary religious life."[16] The Berggruen Prize carries a cash award of $1 million. An independent jury is responsible for selecting the Prize laureate.

The WorldPost[edit]

In October 2017, the Berggruen Institute partnered with The Washington Post to publish The WorldPost, a media platform that publishes op-eds, features and videos exclusively on The Washington Post.[17] Nathan Gardels is editor in chief of The WorldPost, and Kathleen Miles is the executive editor.[citation needed]

Berggruen China Center[edit]

In June 2018, the Berggruen Institute announced plans to house a China Center at Peking University, an interdisciplinary research center founded with the aim to foster more cross-cultural dialogue.[18] It houses fellows, and offers symposia and conferences.[19]


  1. ^ a b "Berggruen Institute" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Berggruen Institute Receives $500 Million Endowment to Expand Mission of Enduring Political and Social Impact". 3 May 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  3. ^ Curven, Thomas (2 May 2016). "On his Santa Monica mountaintop, a billionaire envisions lofty thoughts on politics and culture". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Martha Nussbaum Wins Berggruen Prize". UC Press Blog. Retrieved 2019-04-24.
  5. ^ "About". Berggruen Institute. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  6. ^ Gardels, Nathan (7 December 2011). "China's Zheng Bijian on "The Global Convergence of Interests"". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Ernesto Zedillo to Chair 21st Century Council of Berggruen Institute on Governance". GlobeNewswire. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  8. ^ ""Europe is the solution, not the problem"". Jacques Delors Institute. 9 September 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Council for the Future of Europe". Berggruen Institute. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Juncker Plan exceeds original €315 billion investment target". European Commission. 18 July 2018. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  11. ^ Gardels, Nathan; Berggruen, Nicolas (20 January 2012). "A Blueprint to Renew California". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Governor Brown Signs Ballot Reform Measure". State of California. 27 September 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  13. ^ Megerian, Chris (4 November 2014). "Californians OK Proposition 2, on rainy day fund". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Berggruen Ideas Competition". Berggruen Institute. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Berggruen". Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  16. ^ SCHUESSLER, Jennifer (4 October 2016). "Canadian Philosopher Wins $1 Million Prize". New York Times. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  17. ^ "The Washington Post and Berggruen Institute partner to publish The WorldPost".
  18. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer (2015-09-15). "Nicolas Berggruen Wants to Bridge the East-West Gap". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-04-24.
  19. ^ Candid. "Berggruen Institute Invests $25.5 Million for Beijing Research Center". Philanthropy News Digest (PND). Retrieved 2019-04-24.