As part of its programming to promote the creation of think tanks in Honduras, IRI recently hosted two conferences to share best practices in public-policy development in a country that has relatively few broad-based policy-focused institutions. The Think Tanks and Democracy: from Ideas to Public Policy conferences were held in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa.
Panelists included Diana Negroponte from the Brookings Institution, Mike Gonzales from the Heritage Foundation, Alex Chafuen from the Atlas Foundation, Jose Herrera from Fundación para el Análisis y los Estudios Sociales in Spain, Alejandro Garate from the Colosio Foundation in Mexico, Luis Mario Rodriguez from Fundación Salvadoreña para el Desarrollo Económico y Social in El Salvador, Mario Cuevas of Centro de Investigaciones Económicas Nacionales in Guatemala, as well as noted Colombian think tank expert Professor Juan Fernando Londoño.
At both conferences, panelists discussed a variety of topics, including the role of think tanks in democratic countries and the importance of think tanks in creating issue-based platforms. Discussions also included the nuts and bolts of think tanks, such as how to create an organizational structure, conduct fundraising and overall best practices in local policy development.
Participants at both conferences included representatives from all five of Honduras’s political parties, including Partido Liberal, Partido Nacional, Partido Demócrata Cristiano, Partido Inovación y Unidad—Social Demócrata (PINU-SD), and Partido Unificación Democrática, in addition to legislators, academics and members of the private sector and civil society.
Participants from existing Honduran think tanks also attended. As a result of their participation in the conference, members of the PINU-SD party leadership met in a strategic planning session to create the Center for Social Democratic Studies of Honduras, which will conduct research to support the development of public policy that respond to citizen needs. The group chose a board of directors and also created three working groups to further develop the organizational structure of the center.
Since early 2008, IRI has been working in Honduras to develop local governance programming in addition to working with national level stakeholders to strengthen work of local think tanks. Through these programs, IRI has worked with all levels of government to improve the responsiveness of the local government to citizen needs and concerns.Top