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Chatham House : London’s most important think tank

Royal Institute of International Affairs

23 juin 2015 par Claire BOUILLET, Hannah COLE

The Chatham House is the most important think tank in international relations in UK.

The Chatham House, also known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, is an independent policy institute based in London, a registered charity non-profit organization in England and Wales (under the charity number 208223). According to them, their mission is to help build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world. Founded in 1920, Chatham House engages governments, the private sector, civil society and its members in open debates and confidential discussions on the most significant developments in international affairs. Chatham House experts develop new ideas on how best to confront international challenges. Policy recommendations are developed in collaboration with policymakers, experts and stakeholders in each specific area. Chatham House carries out independent and rigorous analysis of critical global, regional and country-specific challenges and opportunities. It consistently ranks highly in the University of Pennsylvania’s annual “Global Go To Think Tank Index”, where its peers have assessed it as the No. 1 think tank outside the US for seven consecutive years and No. 2 worldwide for the past four years.

The origins of Chatham House lie in a meeting convened by Lionel Curtis in Paris in 1919 at, the headquarters of the Dominion delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. The British and American delegates conceived the idea of an Anglo-American institute of foreign affairs to study international problems with a view to prevent future wars and sustain peace. In the event, the British Institute of International Affairs was founded separately in London in 1920 and received its royal charter in 1926, when it became the Royal Institute of International Affairs. The American delegates developed the Council on Foreign Relations in New York as a sister institute. "Chatham House" is both the name of the building in which it is based and the name by which the Royal Institute of International Affairs. In 2004 "Chatham House" was adopted as the primary identity for the Royal Institute of International Affairs. It provides a forum in the heart of London where world leaders, policy-makers and opinion-formers can be heard and their views discussed in an intended impartial environment.

The 5 principles of the organization are :
-  Mission and public benefit, for the Chatham House to be a world-leading source of independent analysis, informed debate and influential ideas on how to build a sustainably, secure, prosperous and just world.
-  Integrity, which means the Chatham House works to avoid financial obligation which would undermine or contravene the pursuit of its mission and principles. Sponsorship or financial support of research or events is not to be meant an indication of an endorsement of the past or present activities of the source of funding.
-  Independence and objectivity, so that the Chatham House always retains independent control over its substantive outputs and public and private events, irrespective of the source of funding. It promotes objectivity in the research and events conducted, including by pursuing an evidence-based approach to research and engaging a balance of diverse stakeholders in its meetings.
-  Openness and accountability because the Chatham House applies a culture of openness regarding sources of funding. Anonymity may be granted to donors only in exceptional circumstances and according to specific guidelines. Confidential research and publications can be commissioned from the institute only if this supports its mission and does not constitute more than a small part, 5%, of its overall annual income.
-  Awareness and responsibility because the Chatham House believes that there is no substitute for a culture of awareness among all staff and associates of the importance of these principles. This culture is based on personal responsibility and potential conflicts of interest.

The institute has been granted foreign 501(c)3 equivalency status with the United States Internal Revenue Service. To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes and none of its earnings may profit to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, meaning it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates. It is referred to as a charitable organization. Section 501(c)(3) organizations are restricted in how much political and legislative (lobbying) activities they may conduct.

It benefits from a wide range of philanthropic, research-related and membership support. This diversity of global support is critical to the independence of the institute. To safeguard the continuing independence and objectivity of its research, events, publications and other outputs, Chatham House staff and its Council uphold the principles of integrity, independence, objectivity and accountability in accepting any funds. This approach ensures that all of our activities contribute to the institute’s mission and public benefit. The institute receives no subsidy from the UK government or any other source.
Tools of action :

Chatham House has created the Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs to develop a new generation of leaders capable of crafting innovative responses to the most pressing challenges. The Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs offers potential and established leaders from around the world the opportunity to spend up to twelve months at Chatham House. During their time at the Academy, fellows deepen their understanding of critical issues and propose new ideas and solutions to complex policy challenges and opportunities. Fellows are drawn from government and the broader policy community, the private sector and civil society. There are two sorts of fellowship within the Academy. Academy fellows are promising ’next generation’ leaders in the early stages of their careers. Working alongside one of the institute’s research teams, fellows spend up to one year at Chatham House in order to develop their thinking on the most pressing national and international challenges and opportunities facing their countries and regions. Academy senior fellows are at a more advanced stage in their career. Senior fellowships provide established experts and practitioners who explore a topic of interest and to take part in the Academy’s activities for up to six months, on the basis of a flexible structure. Fellows are hosted by and based in one of the institute’s four research departments : Area Studies and International Law ; Energy, Environment and Resources ; International Economics ; International Security ; fellows may also be hosted by the Centre on Global Health Security.

The institute’s award-winning reports, papers, books and other research productions are a vital resource for leaders and policy-makers in government, the private sector and civil society. Chatham House staff regularly brief government officials, legislators and other decision-makers on their conclusions. International Affairs, Britain’s top journal of international relations, was founded by and is edited at the institute. The institute’s magazine, The World Today, provides authoritative analysis and up-to-date commentary on current topics. The Chatham House library has one of the longest-standing specialist collections of material on international affairs in the United Kingdom, which are digitally archived and searchable. However, some articles on the website of the organization are only available to members.

Another tool of the Chatham House is the events organized. Each year, the Chatham House hosts around 100 members events, 200 research workshops, seminars and briefings, and 20 one or two day conferences as well as numerous private roundtable discussions. The vast majority of events are held on-the-record, and Chatham House releases video, audio and transcripts or meeting summaries from most members’ events and many research events.

There are approximately 100 events per year exclusively for Chatham House members. They include major policy speeches from heads of government, discussions with senior officials and notable personalities in international affairs, and panel discussion with experts on a range of topics. These include the Under 35s Forum, a programme of events and networking opportunities for young members, and a number of special Annual Lectures.

Chatham House holds a wide range of events for its Corporate Members on political, economic and social issues deemed important to businesses working in an international context. Many of these events provide the chance for members to network with their peers. The Corporate Leaders series is an opportunity for CEOs and chairmen from our Partners and Major Corporate Members to address our members. Corporate Members can also access the full range of Members Events.

The Institute’s research departments and programmes also hold many events throughout the course of the year with policy-makers and experts in their areas. Many of these events are open to interested members of the public, who can register to attend them. Others are private roundtables that are attended by invitation only.
Chatham House hosts one and two day conferences on key global issues that feature a steady stream of high-profile speakers and exclusive insights. Conferences are open to the public and subject to a registration fee.

It also organizes other unique events throughout the year, including the annual Chatham House Prize awards dinner and the London Conference. This Prize, created in 2004, is awarded to the person who is deemed by Chatham House members to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year. The selection process draws on the expertise of Chatham House’s research teams and three presidents, who nominate candidates. Our members are then invited to vote for the winner in a ballot. The winner is presented with a crystal award and a scroll signed by our patron, Her Majesty The Queen which is presented at a ceremony and dinner at a central London venue with keynote speeches by leading figures in international affairs. The concept and crucial early support came from Raj Loomba, founder of the Loomba Trust and a Chatham House council member.

Corporate and Individual Membership and philanthropic support accounted for 23% (£2.9m) of Chatham House’s income in 2013-14. Income from of these sources provides important discretionary funding that enables the institute to maintain its independence. Events and Conferences accounted for 10% (£1.2m) of the institute’s income in 2013-14. This includes income from delegate fees and sponsorship of conferences, in addition to sponsorship of the Chatham House Prize and other high profile events. Publications accounted for 4% (£0.5m), primarily from royalties for International Affairs and subscriptions to The World Today. Income from the institute’s investments and rental income (other) accounted for 4.5% (£0.6m) in 2013-14.

The Chatham House currently has approximately 3,000 individual members and over 350 corporate members comprising private companies (British and others), government departments, embassies and high commissions, political organizations, universities and academic institutions, media organizations and NGOs. Currently over 165 different organizations, including government departments, private foundations and companies from around the world support the institute’s research activity through sponsorship of specific projects and events, or via core support of a department, programme or centre.
2013/2014 Annual Fond :

• Partners for the year funding of the foundation, either through dedicated support to research projects, or by contributing ongoing support to a number of activities across the institute. Some of the most famous partners of the Chatham are the Asfari Foundation, the European Commission, the UK Department for International Development, Exxon Mobil Corporation, the Ministry of Defense in the UK, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Arab Emirates country, the Royal Dutch Shell, the Toshiba Corporation, or Total Holdings UK Ltd.

• Key Project Sponsors served as supporters of specific research projects in 2013/14. Some of the most famous sponsors of the Chatham House are the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, the Embassy of the United States of America in London, the European Parliament, the National Intelligence Council of the United States of America, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Headquarters, the Open Society Foundations or even various UN offices and commissions.

• Research Supporters, are the ones which provided support to the activities of Chatham House’s research departments in 2013/14are. Among the most famous ones are major oil, electricity and minerals extracting companies such as Japan Petroleum Exploration Co Ltd, industrial companies like Lockheed Martin UK or Mitsubishi, banks such as the Bank of England, the Brazilian Development Bank, the IMF, UNESCO, National Departments of several foreign countries (Japan, Canada, US…), The Royal Navy, The British Council and the British Academy, some corporate law firms, think tanks such as the Elcano Royal Institute or Konrad Adenauer, Universities, or even professional organizations such as the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries & Associations, or KPMG.

• Major Corporate Members. We find banks like Bank of America, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, industries of all kinds, industrial firms like BAE Systems, British American Tobacco, Vodafone, Tesco or even Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, consulting firms such as Accenture, insurance firms such as AIG, various law firms, the British army, the City of London, media like the BBC, Bloomberg or even Reuters, foreign embassies and National Departments from other countries.

• Standard Corporate Members can be found in Industrial firms such as Airbus, Boeing, Thales or even Chivas Brother, various automobile brands, extraction and oil companies such as Arcelor Mittal or Anglo American, investment groups such as AXA, consulting firms like AKE, public relations firms such as APCO or Bell Pottinger, banks such as European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, insurance companies such as the Aspen Insurance or Aviva, media such as a Japanese newspaper, CBS News, the Daily Mail, The Guardian, cultural associations such as British Council, the 2 Houses’ libraries, administrations such as Cabinet Office UK, the US CDC, the Commonwealth Parliamentary association and Secretariat, the Department of Health UK, the UK Treasury, the European Parliament, the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, the League of Arab States or the Scottish Government.

Some entities are visible in several categories of funding in Chatham House, such as Mitsubishi, Morgan Stanley, the British Council, KPMG, the Macquarie Group, the Bland Group or Lockheed Martin UK.

• 90 Embassy and High Commission Members.

• NGO members : Humanitarian NGO mostly like ActionAid UK, Amnesty International, British Red Cross, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), International Committee of the Red Cross and International Medical Corps UK.

• Individual donors to the Annual Fund raised funds to develop a responsive website for The World Today magazine to allow for additional online content and video and to make access to the magazine available on a variety of electronic devices. They were 60 according to the website in 2013-2014. They are businessmen, journalists, artists, administrators in national and international organizations, ambassadors, University teachers, former politicians, economists, sport celebrities, the chairman of the Chatham House (Stuart Popham QC), clergymen, lawyers, military officers British and foreign alike.

Key personnel of Chatham House :

Patron : HM The Queen has been the patron of the Royal Institute of International Affairs since her ascension to the throne in 1952. The Institute was granted its Royal Charter in 1926 by her grandfather, George V.

Presidents : It has three presidents who are chosen from among senior political figures from each of the three major political parties at Westminster, an attempt to prove the non-partisan and independent character of the Chatham House : The Rt Hon Lord Ashdown of Norton-Sub-Hamdon, The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG, CH and The Rt Hon Lord Robertson of Port Ellen.

Council and directors :

- Directors :

Director : Dr Robin Niblett
Research director, energy, environment and resource governance : Bernice Lee or Rob Bailey ?
Research director, international economics : Dr Paola Subacchi
Research director, international security : Dr Patricia Lewis
Research director, regional and security studies : Alex Vines OBE
Communications director : Keith Burnet
Commercial director : Harry Charlton
Finance director : Paul Curtin
Director of External Relations : Harry Charlton
OBE Research Director, Area Studies and International Law, Dr Alex Vines

- Council : The governance of Chatham House is overseen by its Council as laid out in its Charter and Bylaws. Council members are drawn from and elected by the Institute’s membership. Governance responsibilities for the operation and management of the institute reside fully with the Council, led by its Chairman and Executive Committee, along with its Finance Committee. There are 21 members.

Senior advisers : The chair is The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH plus 31 members.

The Academy personnel :

Advisory Board is chaired by Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC. Xenia Wickett is the dean of the Academy. Andrew Swan is the Academy manager. Alis Martin is the Academy coordinator, and Catherine Wanjiku is the administrative assistant. Members of the Advisory Board are individuals with longstanding and senior experience of governments, the private sector and/or civil society, as well as in many cases knowledge and expertise on Fellowship and leadership programmes around the world. They will provide advice and expertise in support of the mission and activities of the Academy.

BIBLIOGRAPHY :
-  http://www.chathamhouse.org
-  http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/sep/03/chatham-house-thinktank
-  http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2012/feb/13/chatham-house-rules-uk

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