Skip to Main Content

International Relations *

A guide to databases and scholarly online sources that support conducting research in international relations and comparative politics.

U.S., Canadian, and General Organizations/Think Tanks

For a discussion of the goals, political tendencies, and influence levels of major think tanks, the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania conducts research on the role policy institutes play in governments and civil societies around the world. To access its annual report on think tank trends and the role think tanks play as civil society actors in the policy making process, GO HERE.

  • American Academy of Diplomacy -- mission to foster high standards of qualification for, and performance in, the conduct of diplomacy and the foreign affairs of the United States.
  • Amnesty International -- an international non-governmental organization which defines its mission "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.
  • Arms Control Association -- a national nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies.
  • Army War College Strategic Studies Institute -- the U.S. Army's strategic level think-tank devoted to analyzing political trends that affect national security policy, publishing research on national security and strategic issues, and facilitating collaboration between the U.S. Army and the wider strategic policy community.
  • Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies -- research institute focused on the study of American foreign policy, national security, international politics, political economy, environmental policy, and international organization.
  • The Atlantic Council -- promotes constructive U.S. leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting the international challenges of the 21st century.
  • Beyond Intractability -- a searchable online database of texts, articles, interviews, references, and links about the nature, characteristics, and underlying causes of conflicts, including issues of international conflict resolution.
  • Bonn International Center for Conversion -- an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and facilitating peace and development.
  • The Brookings Institution -- a nonprofit public policy organization that conducts independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations that strengthen American democracy; foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans and secure a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system.
  • Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies -- sponsors and facilitates collaborative interdisciplinary scholarship on crucial problems facing the world.
  • Business and Human Rights Resource Centre -- the world’s leading independent resource on the subject.  The website provides updated news and reports about companies’ human rights impacts worldwide.
  • Canadian International Council -- a non-partisan, nationwide research council established to strengthen Canada's foreign policy.
  • Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs -- organization devoted to promoting ethical leadership on issues of war, peace, religion in politics, and global social justice.
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace -- a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States.
  • The Carter Center -- in partnership with Emory University, this organization is committed to advancing human rights and alleviating unnecessary human suffering.
  • Cato Institute -- provides policy advice and analysis to increase the understanding of public policies based on the principles of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, and peace.
  • Center for Cold War Studies and International History -- an international center dedicated to the study of the Cold War era. It promotes discussion and scholarship on topics related to the study of the Cold War, broadly conceived.
  • Center for Comparative and International Studies -- organization focused on the study of national political systems and the study of international politics and the complex interconnections between domestic, international and transnational political processes, structures, and institutions.
  • Center for Defense Information -- provides expert analysis on various components of U.S. national security, international security and defense policy.
  • Center for Global Development -- an independent, nonprofit policy research organization that is dedicated to reducing global poverty and inequality and to making globalization work for the poor.
  • Center for Global Security Research -- investigates the relationship between national security issues and technology related topics, such as, ballistic missile proliferation, nuclear deterrence, and weapons-of-mass-destruction terrorism.
  • Center for International Development and Conflict Management -- an interdisciplinary research center that seeks to prevent and transform conflict, to understand the interplay between conflict and development, and to help societies create sustainable futures for themselves.
  • Center for International Policy -- participates in influencing U.S. role in Central America's post-conflict reconciliation, the effort to end the counter-productive isolation of Cuba, and military assistance to the Western Hemisphere on improvements in governance and increased respect for human rights.
  • Center for International Security and Cooperation -- an interdisciplinary university-based research and training center that addresses some of the world's most vexing security problems with policy-relevant solutions.
  • Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy -- provides a venue for scholars, policy analysts, scientists, technical experts, practitioners, and community leaders to explore innovative approaches to issues situated at the nexus of science, technology, and international affairs.
  • Center for a New American Security -- an organization with a goal of developing a strong, pragmatic, and principled national security and defense policies that promote and protect American interests and value.
  • Center for Security Policy -- a non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security interests.
  • Center for Security Studies -- based in Zurich, this is an academic institute specializing in research, teaching, and the provision of services in international and national security policy.
  • Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments -- an independent, non-partisan policy research institute established to promote innovative thinking and debate about national security strategy and investment options.
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies -- a bipartisan, nonprofit organization that conducts research and analysis and develops policy initiatives focused on defense and security, regional stability, and transnational challenges ranging from energy and climate to global development and economic integration.
  • Center for Systemic Peace -- supports scientific research and quantitative analysis in many issue areas related to the fundamental problems of violence in both human relations and societal development.
  • Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy -- fosters interdisciplinary faculty and student research on the historic and contemporary use of force and diplomacy in a global context.
  • Centre for Foreign Policy Studies -- an organization concerned with teaching, research, publishing, and policy advising in the fields of Canadian and American foreign, security and defense policy, maritime security policy, and human security and global development studies.
  • Centre for International Studies and Research -- a French research institute focused on comparative politics, international relations and international political economy.
  • Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies -- promotes interdisciplinary research and teaching on the causes of conflict and the conditions that affect conflict resolution and peace. Research projects and other activities focus on the resolution of conflict with a view to attaining just societies.
  • Centre for Refugee Studies -- fosters interdisciplinary and collaborative research focused on several wide-ranging and interconnected areas of study related to refugee issues and the field of forced migration. In carrying out this research, CRS networks with Canadian and international development agencies and academic institutes.
  • Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence -- an organization dedicated to the study of the determinants, manifestations and consequences of terrorism and other forms of political violence.
  • Chatham House -- an organization devoted to a independent analysis and informed debate on a variety of issues in international affairs.
  • Combating Terrorism Center at West Point -- contributes relevant scholarly perspectives, research, and policy analysis to combat terrorist threats to the United States with an emphasis in four primary areas: terrorism, counterterrorism, homeland security, and weapons of mass destruction.
  • Committee for International Cooperation in National Research in Demography -- a non-governmental organization accredited with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, CICRED serves as a platform for interaction between a network of more than 700 registered organizations, research centers, and worldwide and international organizations, such as United Nations Population Division, United Nations Population Fund, World Health Organization, and Food and Agriculture Organization, focused on addressing population issues throughout the world.
  • Conflict Research Unit: Clingendael Security and Conflict Programme -- conducts research on the nexus between security and development, with a special focus on integrated and comprehensive approaches on conflict prevention, stabilization, and reconstruction in fragile and post-conflict states.
  • Council on American-Islamic Relations -- a nonprofit advocacy group with a mission to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
  • Council on Foreign Relations -- a nonpartisan and independent membership organization that provides information and analysis about world events and American foreign policy.
  • Country Indicators for Foreign Policy -- a joint Canadian academic-government project, that examines risk assessment factors including a history of conflict, environmental stresses, ethnic divisions, and militarization, among others. Site contains base statistics and irregular risk reports that provide country risk ratings and detailed country risk assessments. Reports on hot topics such as corporate social responsibility also appear on the site.
  • Development Gateway -- an international nonprofit organization with the mission to reduce poverty and enable change in developing nations through information technology.
  • Digital Freedom Network -- a international, non-partisan non-profit group that seeks to promote human rights as an attainable goal for all countries. DFN publishes censored material on its Web site.
  • Foreign Policy In Focus -- a think tank that provides timely analysis of U.S. foreign policy and international affairs and recommends policy alternatives.
  • Forum of Federations -- an independent organization that is concerned with the contribution federalism makes and can make to the maintenance and construction of democratic societies and governments.
  • Freedom House -- an independent nongovernmental organization, supports the expansion of freedom in the world.
  • Global Policy Forum -- an independent policy watchdog that monitors the work of the United Nations and scrutinizes global policymaking.
  • Global -- research institute that seeks to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons and the risk of their use offers news, opinion, and analysis on many major issues of global security and American foreign policy.
  • Henry L. Stimson Center -- a non-profit, non-partisan institution that concentrates on complex national and international security and foreign policy issues where technology, policy, and politics intersect with particular focus on reducing and eliminating weapons of mass destruction, foreign policy issues, and the conflict of U.S. involvement abroad, and confidence building measures in South-East Asia and China.
  • Homeland Security Institute -- a federally funded research and development center of the Department of Homeland Security focused on counterterrorism, border security, enforcement of immigration laws, and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.
  • Homeland Security Policy Institute -- a nonpartisan think tank whose mission is to build bridges between theory and practice to advance homeland security research through an interdisciplinary approach.
  • The Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute (HSSAI) -- a U.S. government funded research and development center that delivers independent, objective analysis and specialized technical expertise to help transform homeland security goals and objectives into meaningful strategies, operational requirements, and metrics.
  • Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace -- a conservative policy advocacy and research  center for advanced study in domestic and international affairs. Its mission statement outlines its basic tenets: representative government, private enterprise, peace, personal freedom, and the safeguards of the American system.
  • Institute for Anarchist Studies -- a non-profit organization following the anarchist-communist school of thought that assists anarchist writers and further develop the theoretical aspects of the anarchist movement throughout the world.
  • Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution -- research institute committed to the development of theory, research, and practice that interrupt cycles of violence.
  • Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses -- a non-partisan, autonomous body dedicated to objective research and policy relevant studies on all aspects of defense and security.
  • Institute for Defense Analyses -- a non-profit corporation that administers three federally funded research and development centers to assist the United States government in addressing important national security issues, particularly those requiring scientific and technical expertise.
  • Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA) -- an independent, nonpartisan research organization specializing in national security, foreign policy, and defense planning issues.
  • Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) -- is an interdisciplinary research institute that conducts strategic studies for the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Unified Combatant Commands to support the national strategic components of the academic programs at National Defense University and to provide outreach to other U.S. governmental agencies and the broader national security community.
  • Institute for Science and International Security --  a non-profit, non-partisan institution dedicated to informing the public about science and policy issues affecting international security.
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting -- an organization devoted to building peace and democracy through free and fair media.
  • Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation -- studies a wide range of topics involving security, environmental, and economic policies that shape our ability to prevent conflict and promote cooperation across the globe.
  • Inter-Parliamentary Union – international organization of established in 1889 that focuses on  world-wide parliamentary dialogue and works for peace and co-operation among peoples and for the firm establishment of representative democracy.
  • International Action Network on Small Arms -- global network of civil society organizations working to stop the proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons, with much information on the small arms proliferation issue and the campaign against them.
  • International Assessment and Strategy Center -- an independent, non-partisan think-tank focused on medium and long-term security issues and their impact on the security of the United States and her key allies.
  • International Boundaries Research Unit -- works to enhance the resources available for the peaceful resolution of problems associated with international boundaries on land and at sea, including their delimitation, demarcation and management.
  • International Campaign to Ban Landmines -- a global network in over seventy countries that works for a world free of antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions.
  • International Centre For The Study of Radicalisation And Political Violence -- an independent and non-partisan devoted to challenging the growth of radicalization and political violence throughout the world.
  • International Crisis Group -- Brussels-based private, multinational organization with over 80 staff members on five continents, working through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and contain conflict. Organization produces a number of useful research reports available full-text on the web site.
  • International Development Research Centre -- Canadian Crown corporation that works in close collaboration with researchers from the developing world to help developing countries use science and technology to find practical, long-term solutions to the social, economic, and environmental problems they face. Offers free online books.
  • International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS) -- a not-for-profit organization composed of twenty-two member associations and six associate members in thirty-nine countries, dedicated to the promotion and support of research, education, and publication in all fields of Canadian Studies around the world.
  • International Institute for Environment and Development -- an independent international research organization devoted to working with vulnerable populations in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, the Middle East and the Pacific to ensure they have a say related to issues of sustainable development in the policy arenas that most closely affect them [from village councils to international conventions].
  • International Institute for Strategic Studies -- a non-partisan organization headquartered in London that promotes the adoption of policies that further global peace and security and that conducts research and promotes international dialogue concerning peace, political risk, and military conflict.
  • James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies -- strives to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction by training the next generation of nonproliferation specialists and disseminating timely information and analysis.
  • Mershon Center for International Security Studies -- fosters interdisciplinary research on national security in a global context.
  • National Bureau of Asian Research -- an organization committed to advanced independent research on strategic, political, economic, globalization, health, and energy issues affecting U.S. relations with Asia.
  • National Committee on American Foreign Policy -- center identifies, articulates, and helps advance American foreign policy interests from a nonpartisan perspective within the framework of political realism.
  • National Democratic Institute -- a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness, and accountability in government.
  • Nixon Center -- objective is to develop guiding principles for the United States’ global engagement in a dramatically new international environment, principles which would combine hard-headed pragmatism and fundamental American values.
  • North American Institute -- a private, not-for-profit organization founded to deepen understanding of, and to promote new approaches to, all aspects of the North American regional relationship.
  • Nuclear Control Institute -- a research and advocacy center for preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.
  • Nuclear Threat Initiative -- to develop new frameworks and approaches for addressing the most urgent global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in order to prevent terrorists from getting a nuclear bomb and to strengthen global health and security.
  • Overseas Development Institute -- an independent think tank in Britain focused on international development and humanitarian issues.
  • Peace Research Center -- a private, non-governmental organization dedicated to the multi-disciplinary analysis of such international issues as armed conflict (its causes, consequences and actors), conflict prevention, conflict resolution and the reconstruction process.
  • Peterson Institute for International Economics -- a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research institution devoted to the study of international economic policy.
  • Project on Defense Alternatives -- offers critical analysis of U.S. defense policy, as well as those of other nations, to adapt military policy to the circumstances of the post-Cold War era, with pragmatic, cost-effective alternative defense policy options that support progress toward more cooperative means of attaining security.
  • RAND Corporation -- a nonprofit institution that studies national security issues and issues involving health, education, civil and criminal justice, labor and population studies, and international economics.
  • Refugee Studies Centre -- a leading multidisciplinary centre for research and teaching on the causes and consequences of forced migration based at Oxford University.
  • Royal United Services Institute -- an independent think tank engaged in in cutting edge defense and security research.
  • Stimson Center -- a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution devoted to enhancing international peace and security and reducing weapons of mass destruction and transnational threats.
  • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute  -- an independent research institute focusing on international security, arms control, and disarmament.
  • Terror Free Tomorrow: The Center for Public Opinion -- organization that conducts polling about why people support or oppose extremism and uses this data to create effective policies to counter extremism worldwide.
  • Terrorism Research Center -- an independent institute dedicated to the research of terrorism, information warfare and security, critical infrastructure protection, homeland security, and other issues of low-intensity political violence and gray-area phenomena.
  • Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center -- a research center devoted to understanding the links among terrorism, transnational crime and corruption.
  • Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research -- an independent think tank that promotes conflict-mitigation and reconciliation in general and in selected conflict regions and promote alternative security and global development based on nonviolent politics, economics, sustainability and ethics of care.
  • Triangle Institute for Security Studies -- consortial research center which aims to advance research and education in the field of national and international security.
  • Transparency International -- a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to fighting corruption throughout the world. With offices located in over 100 countries, the organization produces the Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures levels of perceived corruption around the world, and disseminates news on the topic of fighting corruption.
  • United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research -- an autonomous institute within the United Nations that conducts research on disarmament and security with the aim of assisting the international community in their disarmament thinking, decisions and efforts.
  • United States Institute of Peace -- an independent, nonpartisan federal institution created and funded by Congress to strengthen the nation's capacity to promote the peaceful resolution of international conflict. Site highlights include Peace Agreements Digital Collection, with full texts of peace agreements related to worldwide inter- and intra-state conflicts since 1989 and the USIP Library that has assembled various collections of links to various other resources.
  • World Economic Forum -- an independent, international organization devoted to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
  • World Policy Institute -- an educational and public policy institute engaged in policy research and public education on critical world problems and U.S. international policy.
  • World Resources Institute -- a global environmental think tank that works with governments, companies, and civil society to build solutions to urgent environmental challenges.
  • World Security Institute -- a non-profit organization committed to providing news and research-based analysis on the social, economic, environmental, political and military components of international security.
  • Worldwatch Institute -- informs policymakers and the public about emerging global problems and trends and the complex links between the world economy and its environmental support systems.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Comprehensive Directories

Below are searchable directories of international, domestic, and local organizations.

Google Think Tank Search Engine -- customized Google search of 700 of the most important U.S. and international think tanks affiliated with universities, governments, advocacy groups, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and businesses that generate public policy research and analysis.

Gale Directory Library -- resource that allows you to search a variety of directories by name or keyword, including international and domestic research centers, broadcast media, associations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies.

World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations Directory -- an organization uniting NGOs worldwide in the cause of advancing peace and global well being. The directory includes hundreds of NGOs that are searchable by keyword or can be browsed by region.

Think Tank Ranking

Global Go To Think Tank Index Report

The University of Pennsylvania Lauder Institute Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program conducts research on the role policy research institutes play in governments and civil societies around the world. Since 2008, the organization has developed and published an annual Global Go To Think Tank Index Report that uses an international survey of over 1,950 scholars, public and private donors, policy makers, and journalists to rank the world’s leading think tanks in all the major areas of public policy research and in every region of the world based on eighteen criteria.