Ifri is the leading French think tank on two counts. Historically, it was the first to be created in France; when Ifri was founded in 1979, think tanks were a foreign concept. Secondly, it is the only French institution to be ranked top among the most influential think tanks in the world, and it is proud of its French identity.
Specialized in the rational study of international relations in all their aspects, Ifri works on both regional and crosscutting problems affecting the world today and helps to structure the debate on such subjects. Its policy-oriented research focuses primarily on medium-term trends and engages with actors in four major public spheres: politics, economics, the media, and academia. Over time, its relationships with the corporate sector have taken on ever-greater importance.
Ifri is non-partisan and not subject to any government supervision. It strives to diversify its sources of funding and maintain objectivity in its research, while never losing sight of the public interest and the need for independent thought. Ifri’s researchers conduct fieldwork and operate within a wide variety of networks. They are regularly featured in traditional media outlets and on social networks. Ifri has strong ties with its Anglo-American counterparts and, like them, it organizes numerous conferences and hosts heads of state and world leaders. Collecting rational, clear information at the beginning of the 21st century, a period dominated by emotional phenomena, is no simple task. As such Ifri strives to maintain an open-minded and positive approach to its research.
The very principle of think tanks sets them apart from other organizations in similar fields, such as economic intelligence, strategic and communication advisory, or lobbying. Although they can be complementary, these fields remain different. Therefore, organizations dedicated to ideological constructs or propaganda should never be considered think tanks.
Over nearly four decades, Ifri has developed sound expertise and a solid reputation, which remain its key strengths today. The institute continually strives to strengthen its professionalism and values. In 1995, Ifri demonstrated its desire to establish itself on the long run by acquiring the building it currently occupies. In 2014-2015, after four years of extensive work on its management culture and a thorough renewal of its information-rich website, it has risen to a new level, allowing it to enter the next phase in its history under the best possible conditions. The world has changed radically since the institute’s creation, but Ifri will continue to play as important a role as ever.
Thierry de Montbrial
Founder and Executive Chairman
Member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences