On 07 April 2020 the Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Dr Vasu Gounden, was a resource person in the Opening Panel of the Global Think Tank Virtual Town Hall hosted by the Lauder Institute’s Think Tanks & Civil Societies Programme at the University of Pennsylvania. The focus of the discussion was how to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The interactive Town Hall meeting addressed the new and unprecedented policy problems countries are facing, and will face, in the coming months, and the existential challenges and disruptions that the virus has imposed on Think Tanks around the world.
The purpose of the forum was to share the strategies and skills that are necessary for crisis management, decision-making, fundraising, communications and policy research and advice in a world disrupted by the pandemic. The Think Tanks which participated from around the globe shared how they were redirecting their institutions, staff and research programmes to meet the new and radically altered policy environment. The focus was on sharing concrete strategies, policies and proposals to help all Think Tanks deal with the challenges everyone is facing. The goal was to mobilize and support Think Tanks around the world so that they can better serve the policymakers and the public within their countries during this time of crisis. It also provided a space where Think Tanks could Connect, Communicate and Collaborate To Save Lives and Livelihoods.
Over 250 participants from over 50 countries participated in the webinar.
In the opening session the panelists were asked to provide 1-2 concrete proposals for dealing with either health, economic, social and security issues created by the coronavirus and to suggest strategies for how Think Tanks could make a difference. In the second session panelists presented specific policy proposals and programmes to address the crisis, as well as the economic and social impact that it would have. The third session focused on the sharing of strategies to help Think Tanks deal with the policy and operational challenges that the crisis presents to organizations.
In February 2020 the Think Tanks & Civil Societies Programme, in partnership with ACCORD and the South African Institute for International Affairs (SAIIA), hosted the 2020 Africa Think Tanks Summit in Cape Town, South Africa.