Towards Specific and Accurate Criteria to Evaluate Arab and International Strategic Studies Centers (2012/2013)

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In view of the extremely complex and overlapping domestic and international challenges, risks and threats facing the world at the internal and external levels, as well as the variety of means of dealing with them, and their diverse horizontal and vertical implications, most countries have become dependent on science and knowledge to provide solutions to the various challenges they face in order to prevent them from transforming into risks or threats. Increased attention has therefore been paid to the role played by strategic studies centers in supporting the decision-making process, devising strategies, proposing policies and informing public opinion. A number of criteria are employed to evaluate strategic studies centers and think-tanks in general, but the evaluation process is seen as lacking accuracy and impartiality, and the role of strategic research institutions is considered weak and incompatible with contemporary world developments for the following reasons:

• Absence of evaluation of a clear connection between research institutions and their three main audiences, namely policy-makers,
academic institutions and community service organizations.
• Absence of overarching criteria, whether in terms of the multiplicity of topics covered by research institutions, or the multiplicity
of activities or work within local, regional and international frameworks.
• Lack of criteria pertaining to the capacity to convey ideas, and reach out to, and influence the public through the communication
and social media channels provided by modern technologies.
• Absence of criteria pertaining to means of capitalizing on the benefits of globalization, such as cooperation agreements with
local, regional and international research institutions, and the flexibility to attain goals in agreement with experts other than
the permanent researchers of the research institution.

In view of the importance of devising a realistic, scientific and practical rating system for the most important think-tanks at both the Arab and international levels that is impartial, transparent and credible, the criteria used to evaluate strategic studies centers and their organization have been reconsidered to take into account the weaknesses highlighted above. Therefore, a set of accurate and specific criteria has been devised to evaluate Arab and international strategic studies centers.

Main Criteria for Evaluating Strategic Studies Centers[edit]

The following are the most important criteria for developing a scientific, realistic and accurate rating of Arab and international strategic studies centers:

First: Criteria associated with the nature, role and mission of the research institution[edit]

(1) The extent of the institution’s success in attaining its established goals.
(2) The volume of research activities carried out by the institution, and their diversity in terms of lectures, symposia,
conferences and discussion panels.
(3) The ability of the institution to attract elite regional and international decision-makers, intellectuals, researchers, academics
and experts to take part in its various activities.
(4) The openness to other research institutions and the implications thereof on the nature of its work, output and activities.
(5) The capacity of the research institution to respond immediately to local, regional and international events and
developments by producing reports, policy papers and studies.

Second: Criteria associated with the ability to support decision- and policy-makers[edit]

(1) The level of communication between the institution and decision- and policy-makers in the relevant country.
(2) The role of the research institution in supporting national decision-making and developing internal and external strategies
and policies.
(3) The number of reports and studies submitted to decision-makers, whether at their request or on the initiative
of the research institution itself.
(4) The extent of the research institution’s participation in the process of evaluating proposals submitted to decision-makers,
such as draft laws and executive directives.
(5) The capacity of the research institution to provide practical and realistic solutions to the challenges faced
by the community and bridge the gap between theory and practice in terms of policy.

Third: Criteria relating to the institution’s effective academic contribution[edit]

(1) The research institution’s delivery of academic periodical(s), peer-reviewed by distinguished referees.
(2) The volume of research prepared by the institution and its importance and relevance to the institution’s goals.
(3) The level of interest among researchers in publishing papers in the peer-reviewed academic periodical(s) issued by the
research institution.
(4) The number of publications issued by the research institution, and the extent of the media coverage they attract.
(5) The practical and academic services provided by the institution – such as conferences and seminars, and opportunities
for researchers to submit scholarly research.
(6) The research institution’s efforts in the academic development of human resources through internal and external
qualification and training programs, as well as the involvement of the institution’s researchers in academic fora held
by other institutions.

Fourth: Criteria related to institutional interaction with the community[edit]

(1) The volume of coverage of the institution and its researchers in traditional media (newspapers/television).
(2) The research institution’s interest in communicating with the general public through social networks
(e.g., Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) and the extent of public interaction with the institution through such networks.
(3) The research institution’s delivery of periodicals issued to serve the community and address a non-specialized audience.
(4) The research institution’s role in education, qualification and training (its programs and their quality)
to serve academic research.
(5) The transparency, credibility, impartiality, and scholarly nature of the approach adopted by the institution in addressing
topics and issues of relevance to society.

Rankings of the Most Important Research and Strategic Studies Centers in the Arab World[edit]

In light of the above-mentioned criteria, and considering the fact that the following evaluation is the first serious effort to objectively and accurately examine the works of strategic studies centers and their achievement of the goals that support their three main recipients (i.e. policy-makers, academia and society), the process of evaluation resulted in the following rankings at the Arab and international levels. It should be noted that in order to protect its neutrality and impartiality, the ECSSR is not included in the evaluation. Furthermore, the ECSSR is a non-profit institution and does not seek any kind of funding.

01 Carnegie Middle East Center
Republic of Lebanon
02 Brookings Doha Center
State of Qatar
03 Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies
Kingdom of Bahrain
04 Center for Strategic and Future Studies
State of Kuwait
05 Middle East Studies Center
Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
06 Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies Arab
Republic of Egypt
07 Center for Arab Unity Studies
Republic of Lebanon
08 Dubai School of Government (DSG)
United Arab Emirates
09 King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
10 The Moroccan Interdisciplinary Center for Strategic and International Studies
Kingdom of Morocco

Rankings of the Most Important International Research and Strategic Studies Centers[edit]

Applying the above criteria to 219 strategic studies centers in the 25 non-Arab countries that have the largest number of research centers, resulted in the following rankings. In order to preserve its neutrality and impartiality, the ECSSR is not included in the evaluation. Furthermore, the ECSSR is a non-profit institution and does not seek any kind of funding.

01 Brookings Institution
United States of America
02 Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House)
United Kingdom
03 Center for Strategic and International Studies
United States of America
04 Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
United States of America
05 Council on Foreign Relations
United States of America
06 International Institute for Strategic Studies
United Kingdom
07 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Kingdom of Sweden
08 German Institute for International and Security Affairs
Federal Republic of Germany
09 RAND Corporation
United States of America
10 Jeju Peace Institute
Republic of South Korea
11 French Institute of International Relations
French Republic
12 Middle East Institute
Republic of Singapore
13 Center for European Policy Studies
Kingdom of Belgium
14 The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Utited States of America
15 Chinese Academy of Social Sciences People’s
Republic of China
16 Russian International Affairs Council
Russian Federation
17 Centre for Civil Society
Republic of India
18 Japan Institute of International Affairs
19 Shanghai Institute for International Studies
People’s Republic of China
20 Institute for National Security Studies



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