Baker Institute celebrating its 20th anniversary

For two decades Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy has established itself as one of the premier nonpartisan public policy think tanks in the country.

To celebrate its 20th-anniversary milestone in 2013, the institute has held a series of lectures and conferences throughout the year that have focused on a host of timely issues, including the crisis in Syria, the politics of reform in China and U.S. immigration reform.


“Twenty years ago, the Baker Institute was established to bring together scholars, statesmen and students to generate research that would impact the domestic and foreign policies of our nation,” said Ambassador Edward Djerejian, the institute’s founding director. “Our nonpartisan policy research is disseminated to decision-makers around the world. As the institute begins its third decade, we will continue to shape and influence the formulation of public policy, bringing a compelling voice to our national dialogue.”

The institute ranks 21st among U.S. think tanks and 13th among university-affiliated think tanks worldwide, according to a 2012 study by the University of Pennsylvania’s Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. Key research programs include energy, health, Middle East conflict resolution, science and technology, tax and expenditure policy, and Mexico and Asia studies.

Two events to commemorate the Baker Institute’s 20th anniversary are scheduled for November.

“Club Berlin,” a celebration on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, with a theme inspired by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III’s pivotal role in German reunification, is scheduled for Nov. 9. Baker is honorary chair of the institute. Honorary event chairs Jenna Bush Hager and Henry Hager will be there. The Associate Roundtable, the institute’s young-professionals group, will host this event. To purchase tickets for “Club Berlin,” visit

Capping off the celebratory year will be a private black-tie gala Nov. 8 that will feature a conversation with former President George W. Bush on “Addressing the Challenges of the 21st Century.” Djerejian will serve as moderator and Baker will deliver introductory remarks. The gala will include the presentation of the James A. Baker III Prize for Excellence in Leadership to businessman and philanthropist Hushang Ansary for his many years of distinguished service in the public and private sectors. Ansary and his wife, Shahla, are the institute’s 20th-anniversary chairs. Co-chairs of the gala are Rice Board of Trustees member Bucky ’71 and Cynthia Allshouse; Rice Board of Trustees Chair Bobby Tudor ’82 and his wife, Phoebe; and John Eddie and Sheridan Williams. Rice President David Leebron will present remarks at the gala. Tickets start at $1,500 per person. For ticket information, call 713-348-2136.

To coincide with the 20th anniversary celebrations, the Baker Institute unveiled its new website this fall: The goal of the redesigned website is to provide a dynamic and interactive platform to better highlight and communicate the institute’s research, programs and events with its various stakeholders and the media. The new website also provides quicker access to the institute’s social media and multimedia platforms and blog.

“As the Internet and social media become increasingly important as major means of communication, the new Baker Institute website will enhance our ability to reach and interact much more effectively with wider audiences nationally and globally,” Djerejian said.

For more information on the institute’s 20th anniversary, see

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.