CIDOB, a Catalan Think Tank with an international approach

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Rankings are in fashion: the world’s leading universities, its most beautiful cities, the most competitive countries and even the happiest ones. And now Catalonia can also be proud to have a Catalan centre in the list of the best think tanks in the world. CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs) holds 58th place globally and 16th in Western Europe, according to the index published annually by the University of Pennsylvania. So we can say it loud and clear: CIDOB, like Catalonia, has become an international leader in International Relations.

This achievement is the product of years of effort and commitment. Created in 1973 with a clear international focus and openness to society, CIDOB promotes global governance and best practices that ensure people can live in freedom and without fear, enabling dialogue that excludes none of society’s diversity and actively promotes the defence of human rights and gender equality. This has not been achieved in isolation: CIDOB has actively sought the support of civil society, the research community and the public institutions that make up its Board of Trustees.

Over time, CIDOB has adapted to the changing pressures of the international environment, keeping public service, intellectual rigour, independence and quality at the forefront of its priorities. The world is changing, as is Catalonia’s political climate. This requires a new perspective on foreign affairs, one that acknowledges that the international and the domestic agendas are one and the same. As a think tank, CIDOB’s task is to analyse and explain what is happening in the world so that Catalonia can take decisions based on accurate information.

And yet we shouldn’t be satisfied with a thorough analysis of what has already happened, we must look forward and prepare ourselves for the future to come. A fine example of this is CIDOB’s article on “The World in 2016: Ten Issues that Will Set the International Agenda”. The report identifies issues that are global but which will also have a clear impact on our own citizens. Among others, we highlight the global risks arising in emerging markets, the geopolitical impact of the prices of oil and raw materials, the intense and fast-paced technological revolution going on around us, and the crumbling blocs and international alliances that are becoming more and more volatile throughout the world. We focus on maritime geopolitics and the control of shipping routes as well as the strategic points of global trade for the Catalan economy. All these factors are examined without ignoring the consequences of living in an increasingly populous and urban world, in which some cities are becoming international players while others find themselves more vulnerable to natural disasters, environmental degradation and terrorism. In this paper, we describe a vulnerable world. Refugees are an appropriate example both because of their vulnerability as victims and the way the poor handling of the crisis has created a risk to European integration.


In this report we explain how with every day that passes, talk of a crisis is less and less accurate. When so many events of such duration continue to arise, we would be better off speaking of processes of long-term change. CIDOB provides a good example of successful transformation, and its international recognition and impact proves that international relations in Catalonia are not in crisis. 

Jordi Bacaria

Director of CIDOB

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