Posts tagged with: Think tank

Blog author: sstanley
posted by on Monday, January 27, 2014

indexThe Think Thanks and Civil Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania has just published their seventh “Global Go To Think Tank Index.” This report takes almost a full year to compile and  looks at almost 7,000 think tanks worldwide and ranks them in 47 categories. Their website states that “the purpose of the rankings is to help improve the profile and performance of think tanks while highlighting the important work they do for governments and civil societies around the world.”

The Acton Institute was named in four categories:

  • 34th in “Top Think Tanks in the United States” (same as last year)
  • 11th in “Top Social Policy Think Tanks” (up from 13th in 2012)
  • 10th in “Best Advocacy Campaign” (19th in 2012)
  • 17th in “Best Think Tank Conference” (new category)

The “advocacy campaign” refers to Acton’s initiative PovertyCure, an international network of organizations and people looking towards free market entrepreneurial solutions to poverty.  Acton sponsors a number of events throughout the year including, Acton University, Toward a Free and Virtuous Society, Thriving Churches, Flourishing Communities, and Liberty and Markets. Acton’s largest event, Acton University, is a four-day conference held each June in Grand Rapids exploring the intersection of virtue and individual liberty. The event consists of lectures and informal discussions on practical topics in free-market economics, public policy, popular culture, private charity, and entrepreneurship. In 2013, Acton welcomed nearly 900 participants (of 1,200 applications received) from six continents.

You can visit TTCSP’s “rankings page” to view the 2013 or any of the older reports. You can visit this page to see the exact timeline and process of their report. Acton’s full release is available here.

 

GOP-Civil-WarThere’s a fascinating profile of Jim DeMint, the new president of the Heritage Foundation, in BusinessWeek, which makes a good pairing for this NYT piece that focuses on the GOP’s “civil war” between establishment Republicans and Tea Partiers.

But one of the comments that really stuck out to me concerning DeMint’s move from the Senate to a think tank was his realization about what it would take to change the political culture in Washington. As Joshua Green writes, DeMint had previously worked to get a new brand of GOP legislator elected to Congress, including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. But later “DeMint gave up trying to purify the party from within.”
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Blog author: sstanley
posted by on Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Alejandro Chafuen, board member of the Acton Institute and a contributor to Forbes.com, has recently written an op/ed asking, “Will think tanks become the universities of the 21st century?” He says that “think tanks and the academy in all likelihood, were united at birth.” and that “Massive Online Open Courses, or MOOCs, are affecting universities as few other developments in the history of education. [He] would not be surprised if taking advantage of this technology some of the major think tanks, especially those with outstanding scholars on their staff, will soon develop into small boutique universities.” Chafuen also lists several U.S. think tanks that are working on university type programs, including Acton University:

  • The Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, has been hosting their Mises University since 1986.  The one week course focuses on Austrian economics.
  • Cato Institute has its Cato University, usually taking place at the end of July.
  • A recent entrant to this market, the Acton University, organized by the Acton Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Last year it attracted close to 800 students and professors from approximately 80 countries.   It is the most international free society educational program in history.
  • The Atlas Network hosts a Think Tank MBA course for talented intellectual entrepreneurs, as well as a “leadership academy”  as an online course to help enhance think tank talent.

He concludes with this thought:

The new global scene and the new technologies are changing the optimum size of educational institutions.   The lessons from Plato’s Academy, which took place in a garden grove near Athens, had an enormous impact on civilization.  The evolving scene in higher education and the growth of think tanks will lead to new educational offerings that will have a major impact on the quality and quantity of policy studies and public policy education.

Unfortunately registration for Acton University is closed, but you can check out AU Online.  The foundational courses are free!

The Acton Institute, founded 23 years ago, is ready to move into its new home in the heart of Grand Rapids, MI. Not only will Acton have more room for events, visiting scholars, and conferences, the new building boasts the best in technological innovations, while seeking SERF (Society of Environmentally Responsible Facilities) certification for its re-use and recycling of the original historic building at 98 E. Fulton. According to Mlive.com:

photo courtesy of Mlive.com/Chris Clark

photo courtesy of Mlive.com/Chris Clark

The $7 million remodeling project creates a lecture hall, conference center, library, and studios for television production, radio programming and webcasts, giving the 23-year-old institute an international base for its mission of advocating free market Christianity.

The institute, which was ranked 13th in the “Top 50 Social Policy Think Tanks” by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program in January, is vacating offices it has occupied in the Waters Building.

Built in 1929, the original building has seen its exterior restored as well. One exterior wall boasts a mosaic mural, Tracy Van Duinen’s Metaphorest Project, the 2nd prize winner in the 2011 ArtPrize contest, which will remain in place. In addition, the third story of the building is home to the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT), a non-profit which provides a culture of opportunity for people to create social and economic progress in their lives and community through art and career training courses.

John Kennedy, president and CEO of Autocam Corp.,  co-chaired the $12.5 million fundraising campaign.

“It’s part of the ethos and culture of West Michigan to say, ‘How do I do things better?’ and ‘I want to live a better way,’” said Kennedy, a Catholic who co-chaired the campaign with Sid Jansma Jr., president and CEO of Wolverine Gas and Oil Corp. and a member of the Christian Reformed Church.

Kennedy said Acton excels in encouraging entrepreneurs to develop their skills in the marketplace to improve the lives of others.

“They don’t say the markets are moral, but players in the market have a responsibility to be moral,” said Kennedy.

The Acton Institute plans to be in the new building by March 5, 2013.