Overcoming global polarisation, bridging the divide | Reflections from the On Think Tanks Conference 2023


In London, the New South Institute, represented by Ivor Chipkin and Alan Hirsch participated in the On Think Tanks (OTT) conference. OTT is one of the premier initiatives that brings think tanks from around the world to share their experiences, knowledge, and approaches.

The conference focused on public policy in the age of uncertainty. The sessions were excellent with very high-quality presentations. Ivor Chipkin moderated a session on how think tanks can help overcome political and social polarisation. The panel also included Jessica Espey from Bristol University and Igor Bandović from the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy. Chipkin discussed how in 2017 a ‘awkward’ coalition emerged to resist state capture. Bandović shared the experience of Serbia where the space for opposing state capture internally has narrowed considerably.

Espey, who previously worked at the United Nations distinguished between the three core functions or types of think-tanks, related to making arguments, providing technical options for political initiatives and building networks. The session was packed out and in the end we needed a bigger venue than originally planned.

At the OTT Conference 2023, NSI Director Ivor Chipkin, a leading scholar of government and performance in South Africa moderated a session.

The discussion, at Chatham House focused on how think tanks can help overcome polarisation.

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