Nuggets of what individuals and organisations thought and expressed could be appropriately gauged within the 280-character limit that Twitter allows for and I share in a nutshell some of the aspects that stood out from the Twitter chatter around the recently concluded Think Tank Initiative Exchange (TTIX) in Bangkok, Thailand.
The bittersweet ending and perhaps the beginning of collaborative research also found favour and acceptance from many of the The Think Tank Initiative (TTI) grantees who tweeted on their key takeaways from the 3-day event.
This term also found to be among the key buzzwords at the TTIX where, interestingly, think tanks and funders alike emphasised the importance of communicating research effectively and discarding the notion of academic heaviness!
Whether it was emphasising the importance of working with the community in the participatory research framework or viewing the think tanks across the world as a community, this word suddenly meant so much more for everyone at the TTIX. From building communities and joining forces to viewing the TTIX grantees as a community of peers to a community of friends, Twitter witnessed a constant refrain of community during the TTIX 2018.
Debate, deliberation, discussion
40+ think tanks from across the world, all under one roof at the TTIX, also ensured the focal point at the Exchange remained deliberation, debate, discussions and action with friends from more than 20 countries, proving it to be a great culmination of a partnership among different kinds of think tanks.
End of an era
While the TTI was for a decade, the collaborations forged and the support that emerged became one of the areas of discussion. Hence the opening remarks from Andrea Ordoñez’ (Director of Southern Voice) speech surfaced as a constant leitmotif: even as the TTI is at its last leg, “it is just the end of an era, not of the community.” Repeated and retweeted some two dozen times, this line perhaps was also indicative of what the whole journey of 43 think tanks from more than 20 countries across the world under the TTI aegis has been like.
A key word that was discussed and bandied about one too many times at the TTIX, but the one term that seemed on the minds and fingertips of all the thinktankers at the TTIX was core-funding. Perhaps that is why most Tweeple at the TTIX wrote that core funding is important for think tanks to build capacities to conduct research that are important locally.
With the TTI drawing to a close, the future and being sustainable was the centre of discussions at the Exchange and in online chatter on Twitter. The focus even among the speakers remained on think tanks looking ahead to a future to find, suggest and propose solutions. The future also evoked certain questions such as are think tanks too focused on studying the now, evaluating past impact and influencing current policy when they should be looking forward to emerging issues and challenges?
There could have been no better time for the all think tanks to connect and walk ahead seeking new challenges to fund their evidence based research than at the culmination of TTIX 2018. The thought was the moment is ripe, there is a need and an interest for fresh thinking, and especially from the South. We are ready for it.