What problem are they trying to solve?
From the Napoleonic Wars to the Cold War, competition between Great Power states—countries with global interests and the military strength to defend them against their rivals—has had a huge influence on the course of history. We should expect this pattern to continue in the 21st century. Policy decisions made by the United States, China, and potentially India will exert a powerful influence in many domains, from how powerful new technologies (both military and not) are developed and implemented to whether countries are able to cooperate to tackle global threats like climate change and pandemics. Great Powers may be able to cooperate to navigate the dangers these threats pose. Or, cooperation may break down and the 21st century will be defined by unmitigated competition and even war. Considering the high stakes, interventions that can promote cooperation, and research that can identify such interventions, make for highly impactful funding opportunities.
What do they do?
The Carnegie-Tsinghua Center is a Beijing-based think tank hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Founded in 2010, the Center hosts Track 1.5 and Track II dialogues with participants from the United States, China, and other countries; produces research and media to enhance understanding of Chinese foreign policy in the English speaking world; and hosts cultural exchange programs to bring young people from the U.S. and China together.
For an example of the kind of research the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center produces, see “Why the U.S. and Chinese Militaries Aren’t Talking Much Anymore”, a recent op-ed by the Center’s Director Paul Haenle. You can read more about the Center’s cultural exchange programs by reading about its Young Ambassador Program.
Why do we recommend them?
- • The Carnegie-Tsinghua Center hosts Track 1.5 and Track II diplomacy events and conducts research on effective ways to reduce the chance of conflict between the U.S. and China. We think both of these interventions are among the most promising ways to reduce the risk of Great Power war.
- • As the only English language foreign policy think tank based in China, this organization fills an important niche that is neglected by other donors
- • The Center has a strong reputation and is affiliated with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a leading think-tank in this space that shares our aim of reducing the risk of great power wars.
The Carnegie-Tsinghua Center is a good bet for philanthropists who want to reduce the risk of Great Power war. The strength of this funding opportunity comes from the unique role the Center plays and the importance of the programs it hosts. The Center is the only organization that reports on Chinese foreign policy in English from inside China. As such, it plays a highly valuable role in promoting a better understanding of Chinese foreign policy goals and strategies.
In addition to conducting research, the Center hosts events and convenes professionals and students from the U.S., China, and other countries. We think these kinds of programs, which include training early-career professionals and facilitating Track 1.5 and Track II diplomacy events, have high upside, minimal downside, and are relatively neglected by other funders. For example, Track II diplomacy - which can strengthen ties and facilitate information flow between countries even when official diplomatic channels are constrained - are currently relatively neglected by other funders. In recent years, American foundations gave less than $4M per year in support of Track II diplomacy,[^1] even though some evidence suggests that these programs help reduce the chance of conflict breaking out.
Why do we trust this organization?
The Carnegie-Tsinghua Center is supported by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The Carnegie Endowment has been a leading grantmaker in this space for over 100 years. As a very large grantmaker in this space they have a variety of programs in many different areas of peace and conflict studies. However, their programs which focus on Great Power competition, international cooperation, and technology governance issues are reasonably aligned with the priorities we identify in our Great Power Conflict report.
What would they do with more funding?
Funding on the order of $100,000 would allow Carnegie-Tsinghua to restart their Track II dialogues, which, as of October 2021, have been on pause since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020. Carnegie-Tsinghua has expressed special interest in using additional funding to host U.S.-China Track II dialogues in partnership with the Asia Society Policy Institute and the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies.