It is with heavy hearts that we in the MEI family mourn the sudden passing of Dr. James McGann, leader and visionary creator of the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program.

Jim was a firm believer in the importance of think tanks and dedicated to the study and constant improvements of these institutions around the world. His eagerly anticipated annual ranking report spurred institutions to do better. He championed think tanks large and small and took care to recognize those in far flung places, and work being done by skeleton crews on shoestring budgets. He took great care to visit as many as he could, organizing summits on almost every continent, and engaging think tanks, governments, NGOs, academia, and the private sector in dialogue about moving policy ideas from thought to action.

Jim never stopped. He was energy personified. His vision, energy and drive was so exceptional that it is hard to imagine any one filling his shoes. It is going to take a concerted effort by the think tank community to build on his important legacy and keep the global think tank community moving forward.  There will be time for that, but right now, let us remember him and wish his family strength and peace at this difficult time. Thanks, Jim, for all you have done and for a life valuably lived.


Photo: UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré