By Robert Lisiecki
Tackling international affairs is no small task; so, when someone can successfully improve international affairs through a determined effort, the success is appropriately recognized.
Members of The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, recently voted Melinda Gates as the Chatham House Prize winner. The members annually award the Prize to the individual they deem to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year.
Some previous winners of the award include: Secretary Hillary Clinton, Burmese democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi, and President Lula of Brazil.
Melinda Gates was selected in recognition of her philanthropic commitment and humanitarian efforts and her tireless work to improve the health of women and children through increased access to family planning, simple newborn interventions, lifesaving vaccines, and better nutrition.
She’s been working for over 20 years to improve lives and make a real difference, which is something we can all appreciate. Obviously, Chatham House appreciates this type of effort too.
While it’s important to recognize Gates for her incredible effort, I think looking at Chatham House and its bigger picture may be the bigger take away here.
This award recognizes people who make a difference internationally, which is foundational to Chatham House’s core.
Chatham House is the world’s leading center for policy research on international affairs. It provides people with high level analysis and research on global trends, key events, and issues.
What’s also impressive is the fact that it’s been voted the #1 Non-U.S. Think Tank for five consecutive years. Wow!
It’s difficult to make positive, sustainable change happen without having both quantitative and qualitative information. It’s as if Chatham House works hard to provide the necessary information to facilitate such positive, sustainable changes.
Information is power.
We’ve partnered with Chatham House to create the Chatham House Online Archive, which helps bring this power to your library.
I think it’s fair to say that not everyone has the resources to do the work that Melinda Gates has done. It takes time, money, man power, etc. I think it’s also fair to say, though, that you can make a difference even if you don’t have similar resources or means.
I believe this database will afford researchers the opportunity to make a real difference. Conducting good research opens the door for a domino effect. You move the first piece with solid research, and magic can ensue.
Chatham House has been doing work for a long time; we’re here to ensure that hard work isn’t wasted. That’s why we’ve collected over 90 years of research, expert analysis, and commentary, and placed it into a searchable, browseable research environment.
Let’s face it: it’s difficult to do effective and efficient research when your information is spread out and hard to find. We’ve subject-indexed briefing papers, special reports, pamphlets, conference papers, and monographs to help you move quickly and find the materials you need with accuracy.
If hundreds of thousands of pages of information isn’t enough, the archive also includes thousands of hours of audio recordings. You can tell that’s a ton of information based on how many OFs I just used (hint: a lot).
Listen, you’re educating your students to become the thought leaders of tomorrow; we’re here to give you the tools you need to help them on their journeys.
Think about the research that can be done and the doors that can be opened when students and researchers have access to a multidisciplinary resource that brings both 20th and 21st century world perspective. The possibilities are endless.
Students are ready to make a difference. Is the next Melinda Gates at your school now? Help him or her start researching effectively with Chatham House Online Archive.
Robert is a left-handed person living in a right-handed world. He is showing English majors that it is possible to get a job in the “real world” with an English degree. He likes giant carrots.