2nd China Global Think Tank Innovation Summit Calls for High-level Think Tank Cluster

More than 200 scholars and guests of 70 think tanks from 20 countries gathered in Qingdao, a coastal city of east China’s Shandong province, on June 22 to 24 for the 2ndChina Global Think Tank Innovation Summit.

This activity aims to talk about the construction of a high-level think tank cluster in order to accelerate industrial restructuring and upgrading.

The summit was jointly hosted by Qingdao municipal government, the Center for China and Globalization, and the Think Tank and Civil Society Program (TTCSP) of the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. It also received support from the Research Center for Think Tanks at Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, City Governance Institute at the Peking University, Department of Human Resource and Social Security of Qingdao government, Qingdao Shibei District government, and North China Global Talent Institute.

The summit focused on the building of a high-level think tank cluster and accelerating industrial capacity upgrading, in response to national and local government policies. Previously, President Xi has urged to encourage the construction of the new model of think tank with Chinese characteristics and promote social think tank development.

Meanwhile, Shandong province, where Qingdao is located in, is calling to accelerate transformation and upgrading of industrial capacity. Qingdao, as the economy and innovation engine in the province, is gearing up to build an “Intelligence Valley” to boost the regional development. Through this summit, they were hoping that the scholars and experts from all over the world can provide forward-thinking policy advice on how think tanks can help achieve these goals.

On behalf of the hosting organizations, CCG President Wang Huiyao extended warm welcome and gratitude to all the attendees, and emphasized the significance of hosting an international conference with such a theme, which marks the first initiative in China to build a think tank cluster. It will set a good example on think tank innovation in China and the world.

Deputy Mayor of Qingdao government Zhu Peiji recognized in his speech the increasingly important role of think tank in the modern society. Qingdao expected to enhance the cooperation and exchange with domestic and international think tanks and strengthen the support to the construction of think tank cluster. Qingdao is also aiming to turn itself into a hub of high-level think tanks that can attract global talents.

Besides the construction of think tank cluster, TTCSP Director James G. McGann pointed out the summit, under the environment of the rising de-globalization and political uncertainties around the world, should also discuss how to make think tank play a constructive role in globalization and global governance. One approach he proposed was to build a global think tank network including the future think tank cluster in Qingdao to enable more effective communication and cooperation.

Sun Weijia, director of the Department of International Cooperation at the State Council’s Counselor Office, acknowledged the big gap between Chinese and foreign think tanks in terms of international reputation and influence. Besides expanding internal capacity, Chinese think tanks should also become internationalized to gain more soft power in the international arena.

At the opening session of the summit, Qingdao Shibei district government released the “Several Opinions on Accelerating the Building of New Model of Think Tank Cluster”, aiming to construct a think tank cluster within the district in the next five years.

Panel 1:The Future of Think Tanks – Innovation for Tomorrow

Panel 2:Charting A Course for Regional and Global Economies in Transitioning Times: The Role of Think Tanks

Panel 3:Contributing to Global Governance-Globalization of Think Tanks

Panel 4:Talent Acquisition Strategies for Transitioning Economies – The Role of Think Tanks

Panel 5:Maritime Cooperation and The One Belt One Road Initiative- New Perspective from Think Tanks

In the following five panel discussion sessions, the scholars and guests addressed various issues about think tank construction, such as think tank innovation in response to the challenge of advancing science and technology development and changing global economic structure, how think tanks can help governments improve policymaking to accelerate economic transformation and enhance transnational/cross-region cooperation.

The summit also witnessed the inauguration of the Qingdao Think Tank Cluster Tower. Wang Bigang, vice president of the Advisory Board for think tank cluster construction and vice president of City Governance Institute with Peking University, told the summit that the city government would roll out more policy incentives to attract domestic and international think tanks and academic institutions to set up their branches in the tower.

The Shibei district government of Qingdao and CCG also signed an agreement on building think tank cluster. According to the agreement, CCG would assist the local government on the cluster planning and construction and participate in the operation once it is completed. To realize the goals of the industrial capacity transformation in Qingdao, CCG will play a helpful role in bringing in more scientific think tanks with expertise on Internet industry and smart city.


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