Profile of the Organisation
SAIIA has a long and proud record as South Africa’s premier research institute on international issues. It is an independent, non-government think-tank whose purpose is to encourage wider and more informed awareness of the importance of international affairs. It is both a centre for research excellence and a home for stimulating public debate.
In 2009 the Institute celebrated its 75th anniversary with a range of conferences, high profile speakers’ meetings and social events across the country as well as in London. Speakers during the year included the former President of Mali (and of the African Union), the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the European Commissioner for External Relations, the Trade Minister of Botswana, as well as several South African government ministers.
In early 2010 the University of Pennsylvania released its annual Global Think Tank Survey at the United Nations in New York, and SAIIA was pleased to learn that it had been voted the best think tank in sub Saharan Africa. This was a result of an exercise involving some 1200 international peer reviewers, and was doubly exciting as it coincided with the Institute’s Jubilee year.
In the early 1990’s the Institute’s strategy began to shift from speakers’ meetings and a general conference programme to a more focused research agenda. The major research projects within the Institute produce a range of deliverables to its funders and the wider public in the form of publications, policy briefs, workshops and conferences catering for a cross-constituency audience.
To be the pre-eminent think-tank on Africa and on global issues as they affect Africa.
To provide cutting-edge analysis and promote balanced dialogue on issues crucial to Africa’s advancement and its engagement in a dynamic global context.
We achieve this by:
The Institute’s activities include:
The Institute was founded in Cape Town in 1934 and has been located since 1960 in Jan Smuts House on the campus of the University of the Witwatersrand (in central Johannesburg) with which it has strong links. In 2008 it opened an office in Cape Town and in 2009 another in Pretoria to service important stakeholder groups in those cities. Its project funding derives from grants from international governments, multilateral organisations and private foundations while some core institutional funding comes from local corporate, diplomatic and institutional members.
It is governed by an independent council whose members represent the Institute’s branches around South Africa as well as senior figures in business and civil society. It is registered as a not for profit organisation with the Department of Social Development, and with the South African Revenue Services as a public benefit organisation.