Brookings Institution

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The Brookings Institution is a think tank, based in Washington, D.C., in the United States.

The organization is currently headed by Strobe Talbott, a former Clinton administration appointee in the U.S. State Department. Carlos Pascual, the former Ambassador to Ukraine and now Mexico, was Vice President of Brookings and the Director of the Foreign Policy Studies programme from 2006 until 2009. [1]

Policy influence

Of the 200 most prominent think tanks in the U.S., the Brookings Institution studies are the third most-cited of all public policy institutes by Members of Congress, behind only the Heritage Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union.[2]

Along with the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation, Brookings is generally considered one of the three most influential policy institutes in the U.S. Brookings has traditionally been considered as a center-left organization, while the American Enterprise Institute is considered conservative/free market and Heritage Foundation considered more right-wing. All three organizations are officially non-partisan, as required by their non-profit organizational status.


Brookings was founded in 1916, when a group of reformers founded the Institute for Government Research (IGR), the first private organization devoted to analyzing public policy issues at the national level.[3]

The institution's founder, philanthropist Robert S. Brookings (1850–1932), originally financed the formation of three organizations: the Institute for Government Research, the Institute of Economics, and the Robert Brookings Graduate School. The three were merged into the Brookings Institution in 1927.

Named to Nixon's "Enemies List"

During the administration of Richard M. Nixon, Brookings was named to Nixon's famous enemies list, due to its criticism of Nixon's domestic and foreign policies. Nixon ordered a burglary of Brookings in 1971, looking for leaked government information about the Vietnam War. Nixon-administration advisor Charles Colson even proposed firebombing the Brookings Institution and stealing politically damaging documents while firefighters put the fire out.[4][5][6][7]


Brookings focuses on five main areas of research: Economic Studies, Foreign Policy, Governance, Global Economy and Development, and Metropolitan Policy.

The five main programs include the following:

Policy centers include the following:

Saban Center for Middle East Policy

The Saban Center for Middle East Policy was established through a grant from multi-millionaire media mogul, Haim Saban, in 2002.[8] The Saban Center has helped the Brookings Institution to dramatically expand its research and analysis of Middle East policy issues.

In September 2006, Brookings announced the founding of The John L. Thornton China Center, a major new center focused on the study of Chinese politics and policy, with support from former President and COO of Goldman Sachs John L. Thornton. In November 2006, Brookings announced the opening of its first-ever overseas center, the Brookings-Tsinghua Center at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Brookings-Tsinghua Center

Prominent US scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt argue that the Brookings Institution's output on the Middle East has been in decline since the research was transferred to the Saban Center:

Take the Brookings Institution. For many years, its senior expert on the Middle East was William B. Quandt, a former National Security Council official with a well-deserved reputation for even-handedness. Today, Brookings’s coverage is conducted through the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, which is financed by Haim Saban, an Israeli-American businessman and ardent Zionist. The centre’s director is the ubiquitous Martin Indyk. What was once a non-partisan policy institute is now part of the pro-Israel chorus."[9]


Resident Scholars

Brookings currently has over 140 resident and nonresident scholars.[10] Some of Brookings' notable resident scholars:

Previous scholars include Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Political Affairs at the UN Ibrahim Gambari. Stéphane Dion, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition also served as a senior research fellow.


Coca Cola Board of Directors member James D Robinson III is reported to be an honorary trustee for the Brookings Institution. Robinson's biography also describes him as a general partner and co-founder of RRE Ventures, president of J D Robinson Inc. (a strategic consulting firm) and non-executive chairman of the Board of Directors for Bristol-Myers Squibb (since 1976). He also serves on the Boards of Directors of Novell Inc., Visiprise and PrimeRevenue. Robinson is a member of the Business Council and the Council on Foreign Relations, and an honorary chairman of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Robinson was previously Chairman and CEO of American Express Company (1977 to 1993), Co-Chairman of the Business Roundtable and Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN)[11].


William Frenzel of the Brookings Institution is reported to be a member of the Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN)[12].


At the end of 2004 the Brookings Institution had assets of $258 million. It spent $39.7 million in that year. According to its annual report,[13] the largest contributors in that year included the Pew Charitable Trusts, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation; the governments of the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Others can be found listed at


See also


  1. Carlos Pascual], Brookings Institution.
  2. "A Measure of Media Bias" by Tim Groseclose and Jeff Milyo, September 2003.
  3. Brookings Institution History Brookings Institute.
  4. Democracy Now! interview with John Dean and Daniel Ellsberg
  5. 'Insanity' in Nixon's White House Los Angeles Times, February 18, 2003.
  6. LA Times Archives - Insanity' in Nixon's White House Presidential scholars hear about 1971 plan to firebomb a think tank, from John Dean.
  7. Dean, John. Blind Ambition, 1976, ISBN 0-671-81248-3. p 35–39.
  8. "Brookings Announces New Saban Center for Middle East Policy" Brookings Institute, May 9, 2002.
  9. John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, (Penguin 2007) p. 176
  10. List of Brooking's scholars Brooking Institute
  11. Coca Cola Company James D Robinson Accessed 21st January 2008
  12. Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations Advisory Committee Lists Accessed 21st January 2008
  13. Brooking's annual report Brookings Institute

External links