This online round table discussion organised by History & Policy at the Institute of Historical Research brings together experts from both sides of the Atlantic to consider the value of history to policy-makers and think tanks. Taking as its starting point the policy paper ‘Historians and Think Tanks: Lessons from the U.S. Marketplace of Ideas’ it will compare the ways in which think tanks in Europe and the USA draw on historical experience and expertise, and consider the extent to which a knowledge of History really is an asset for policy-makers. The discussion will examine whether and how the knowledge of academic historians could be utilised more effectively by government and consider the potential for greater transatlantic collaboration in this area.
James G. McGann is Director of the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program and a Senior Fellow at the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. McGann has served as a consultant and advisor to the World Bank; the United Nations; the Asian Development Bank; the United States Agency for International Development; the Soros, Rockefeller, MacArthur, Hewlett and Gates foundation.
Catherine Haddon is the Institute for Government’s principal historian and leads the Institute’s work on changes of government, ministers and the workings of the constitution. She also leads the Institute’s professional development programme for ministers and opposition parties.
Calder Walton is Assistant Director of the Belfer Center's Applied History Project at the Harvard Kennedy School. Calder's research is broadly concerned with intelligence history, grand strategy, and international relations. His research has a particular focus on policy-relevant historical lessons for governments and intelligence communities today.
Gill Bennett (Senior Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). She was chief historian of the Foreign Office from 1995-2005, and senior editor of its official history of British foreign policy, Documents on British Policy Overseas.)