Albanian Institute for International Studies reconfirmed on the list of the world’s most influential think tanks

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 12, 2016 09:22

Albanian Institute for International Studies reconfirmed on the list of the world’s most influential think tanks

TIRANA, Feb.3 – The Albanian Institute for International Studies has been reconfirmed among the world’s best think tanks by the 2015 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report authored by James G. McGann, director of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. On the list of Think Tanks in Central and Eastern Europe, AIIS maintained its 22nd place in the annual index. In terms of sector focus, AIIS ranks 83rd in the global ranking for defense and security research area, 2 places up from last year which corresponds to the Institute’s revamping of its security projects portfolio.

AIIS was also ranked 80th in the global ranking for foreign policy and international relations. The ranking is organized on an annual basis by the Think Tanks and Civil Society Program at the University of Pennsylvania, which conducts research on the role policy institutes play in governments and civil societies around the world. AIIS is the only Albanian think tank to make the cut of the prestigious international ranking index. “The global recognition of our work, our integrity and the success of our projects and initiatives inspires us to keep working even better in the future, to make our impact in the policy agenda of Albania and in the decision making of the EU in relation to our country,” AIIS said in a statement.

More than 3,500 experts from academia, civil society and decision making institutions participated in the process of nominating and then ranking institutions worldwide in this one of a kind exercise that has become a reference point for those who seek to understand the standing of think tanks whether by geographical or thematic classification. For AIIS Executive Director, Albert Rakipi,the merits of this recognition rest with the fact that AIIS has engaged and continues to engage a community of dedicated, Western-educated professionals and has been a center of excellence for talented researchers.

“AIIS has now a consolidated and we can say unparalleled reputation in the field of  security, foreign policy and IR studies and activities in Albania. We contribute in our way and modestly of course, but we are certain that we have an impact in the modernization of society, the shaping of current debates and well as in the policy-making in our fields of expertise.” Rakipi says. He asserts that the ranking places AIIS in the midst of a distinguished network of think tanks in Europe.

Alba Çela, the Deputy Director of the Institute, sees in this year’s ranking also the fruits of an internal development process that has started almost 2 years ago. Having benefited from a development grant from the Open Society Foundations, AIIS has re-energized its communications, launching a new website and upgrading its presence in social media. “In the online world we have to keep up with new ways of communicating our events, our research objectives and expanding our network. We are glad that we were given an opportunity to develop in this regard,” Çela says.

AIIS staff already is looking to the future. The organization has an ambitious portfolio of projects which have begun in 2015 and are expected to define the work in 2016. One of the most strategic long-term initiatives is the Joint Centre for Albania-Serbia Relations that has been established together with a partner organization in Belgrade, the European Movement of Serbia. The Centre will serve as an umbrella for many projects that bring people together and increase opportunities for exchange and collaboration in an effort to normalize and improve bilateral relations.

The activities of the Centre this year will be supported by a grant from the Federal Republic of Germany and another from the Norwegian Embassy to Albania. Having completed significant research which led to a comprehensive country report on the phenomenon of radicalism and foreign fighters in Albania, AIIS plans to continue with the advocacy element of the initiative to assist the state and society response to these negative issues. Alongside the new initiatives, the Institute is committed to its permanent projects such as the impressive Library of History and IR, a numerous collection of books and texts that AIIS has brought and promoted for the Albanian audiences and that have assisted curricula and teaching across the country.

The largest program of research is the European Program which this year goes on with a focus on communications and a collaboration with the Public Broadcaster, distributing qualitative information and analysis among the public about the state of affairs in the EU and the perspective of integration for Albania. AIIS will also in the same vein continue publishing the Europa magazine, which offers a critical approach to key issues relating to Albania’s EU integration process and society modernization.

AIIS was established in 1998 by a group of academics and analysts with extensive experience in foreign policy and policy-making issues. Since then, it has made significant contributions via its analysis, projects and publications in the fields of Euro-Atlantic integration, democracy, security, and transition as well as regional security and cooperation. AIIS has also served as a consultative body, with policymakers seeking its advice on the challenges Albania faces on the road to democratization.

Albania has made tremendous progress in the last twenty years and is moving smartly towards its European home. AIIS is both a cause and a consequence. Its sharp analytical focus on the world beyond Tirana has helped what was once one of the most isolated countries on earth, become an active contributor to the international order. These have been marvelously productive years for both Albania and its leading institute!   – Daniel P. Serwer

The Albanian Institute for International Studies, through its many conferences and publications, has become the leading organization of its kind in Albania and an important contributor to the discussion of a broad range of issues in the Balkans in general. It has provided a forum for in-country specialists and established important contacts with analysts and policymakers throughout the Balkans and the Western world. AIIS has made an important contribution to regional and general understanding of issues facing the Balkans.  – Bernd J. Fischer

AIIS has now a consolidated and we can say unparalleled reputation in the field of  security ,foreign policy and IR studies and activities in Albania. We contribute in our way and modestly of course, but we are certain that we have an impact in the modernization of society, the shaping of current debates and well as in the policy-making in our fields of expertise. – Albert Rakipi, AIIS Executive Director

In the online world we have to keep up with new ways of communicating our events, our research objectives and expanding our network. We are glad that we were given an opportunity to develop in this regard. – Alba Çela AIIS Deputy Director

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 12, 2016 09:22