CIGI Partnership FAQ

This is a list of Frequently Asked Question about the Institute for New Economic Thinking-CIGI Partnership. You can also read more general information about the Partnership here, and see biographical information and photos of the main people involved here. You can also read more about CIGI at the organization's website, found here.


Q. What is the Institute for New Economic Thinking?

A. The Institute for New Economic Thinking is a non-profit organization providing fresh insight and thinking to promote changes in economic theory and practice through conferences, grants and education initiatives.

Q. What is the Centre for International Governance Innovation?

A. The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is an independent, nonpartisan think tank that addresses international governance challenges. CIGI conducts world-leading research and analysis, advances policy debate, and promotes policy innovation for multilateral governance improvements. Read more at CIGI's website.

Q. Why was the partnership formed?

A. The partnership was formed to increase the international presence of both organizations and enhance support for the Institute and CIGI’s shared efforts to advance reform in economics and policy worldwide.

Q. How was the partnership initiated?

A. The partnership was initiated by George Soros and Jim Balsillie, who share a commitment to improving our global future through innovative thinking and philanthropic initiatives.

Q. Who is George Soros?

A. George Soros is the founding sponsor of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, the Chair of Soros Fund Management LLC and the Founder of the Open Society Institute. Born in Budapest in 1930, he survived the Nazi occupation and fled communist Hungary in 1947 for England, where he graduated from the London School of Economics, before settling in the United States. Mr. Soros has been active as a philanthropist since 1979, when he began providing funds to help black students attend Cape Town University in apartheid South Africa.

You can read more about George Soros and see video of him on his complete bio page.

Q. Who is Jim Balsillie?

A. Jim Balsillie is the Founder and Chair of The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). He is the Co-CEO of Research In Motion (RIM), and was appointed to the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability in 2010. A native of Peterborough Ontario, Mr. Balsillie earned a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Harvard University and is a Chartered Accountant.

Q. How is the partnership being financially supported?

A. CIGI has pledged $25 million CAD over the course of five years to Institute-CIGI activities.

Q. Is the partnership specific to the U.S. and Canada?

A. No, both the Institute and CIGI are globally focused non-profits. Through the partnership, the organizations will collaborate on addressing international issues, as well as advance initiatives in the U.S. and Canada.

Q. What perspectives do the Institute and CIGI share?

A. Both organizations understand that broadening and accelerating the development of innovative thinking are critical to producing insights and solutions for the great economic and governance challenges of the 21st century.

Q. What are the key differences between the Institute and CIGI?

A. Whereas CIGI is a think tank addressing international governance challenges, the Institute for New Economic Thinking is a non-profit organization focused on providing fresh insight and thinking to promote changes in economic theory and practice.

Q. Who is the leader of the Institute for New Economic Thinking?

A. Dr. Robert Johnson is the Institute's President, a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Project on Global Finance at the Roosevelt Institute. Dr. Johnson is the former Chief Economist of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, former member of the United Nations Commission of Experts on International Monetary Reform, and former Managing Director at Soros Fund Management.

Q. Who is the leader of CIGI?

A. Thomas A. Bernes is CIGI’s Executive Director. Mr. Bernes also serves as CIGI’s Vice President of Programs. Formerly, Mr. Bernes was the Director of the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office, Executive Secretary of the joint IMF-World Bank Development Committee, and the Deputy Corporate Secretary of the World Bank, and the IMF Executive Director for Canada, Ireland and Caribbean countries and Canadian G7 Finance Deputy.

Q. What does the Institute bring to the partnership?

A. The Institute for New Economic Thinking offers a constellation of scholars from its Advisory Board who are already addressing the key problems we face in economics worldwide. The Institute has an established grants and conferences program, several taskforces and educational partnerships.

Q. What does CIGI bring to the partnership?

A. CIGI brings its international network of relationships to other think tanks, policy makers and academic institutions, as well as its robust in-house capacity, particularly in its Global Economy program and related policy research projects. It is bringing $25 million to the partnership, as well as the expertise of its staff and fellows.

Q. When will we experience the impacts of the partnership?

A. In 2011, the Institute and CIGI will collaborate on funding research and task force projects, launch an annual Institute-CIGI Conference in Waterloo, and extend the Institute's Campus Outreach Program to select Canadian campuses, among other things.