The Role of Think Tanks in Shaping Policy Debates in Asia: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
The influence of think tanks has greatly increased in Asia. As a leading research and graduate teaching institution in strategic and international affairs, the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) works in both track one, official channels, and track two, unofficial channels. This chapter presents two concrete policy debates where RSIS was able to assist track-one diplomacy and influence the process of policy-making in Asia. The case studies focus on the preventive diplomacy agenda in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the policy debates around the future of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) beyond 2015. They illustrate the depth and breadth of research conducted at RSIS, ranging from traditional security to economic multilateralism. The discussion examines how RSIS succeeded in achieving policy influence in these two specific cases and analyzes how its own attributes and practices may have contributed in the process.