Re-imagining the Role of Southern Voices in the Future

Andrea Ordonez, Director of Southern Voice

As the final day of the final Think Tank Initiative (TTI) Exchange got underway, Andrea Ordonez, Director of Southern Voice, delivered an inspirational call to action for think tanks to work together in redefining development. Andrea reminded audiences that the truly transformative change lay in collaborating across borders despite the challenges that collaboration can bring. She urged think tanks to look beyond their specific contexts and engage in the bigger regional and global narratives that exist.

She made a strong case for researchers to be analytical, moral and political – pointing out that the role of the intellectual is to be analytical in the search for truth, moral in the search for the good and political in joining the truth with the good.

After a poignant keynote address to set the tone for the day, Andrea shared her insights on what she believed the role of southern think tanks will be over the next decade.

In the future, southern think tanks will need to redefine what universal knowledge is. She argues that the time is now for southern think tanks to shift the paradigm that northern research is universal while southern research is particular and contextual. The role for think tanks as they look to the future should be to provide knowledge that both is grounded in context and understands difference, as well as taking on the challenge of being universal.  

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