Transnational Institute

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About Us

What TNI does

The Transnational Institute (TNI) was established in 1974 as an international network of activist researchers (“scholar activists”) committed to critical analyses of the global problems of today and tomorrow. It aims to provide intellectual support to movements struggling for a more democratic, equitable and environmentally sustainable world.

Over almost 40 years, TNI has gained an international reputation for:

  • carrying out well researched and radical critiques – sometimes against the grain - of current pressing global problems
  • anticipating and producing informed work on key issues long before they become mainstream concerns, for example, our work on food and hunger, third world debt, transnational corporations, trade, and carbon trading
  • Supporting and enhancing social movements’ work for economic and social justice worldwide
  • naming outstanding TNI fellows from many countries and backgrounds whose scholarship, analysis and research have inspired and educated generations of activists and whose writings continue to provoke debate
  • building alternatives that are both just and pragmatic, for example developing alternative approaches to international drugs policy and providing support for the practical detailed work of public water services reform
  • influencing policy makers thanks to its research and its direct links and engagement with mass movements, particularly those most affected by current global economic and social policies
  • remaining non-sectarian and able to bridge different political tendencies, thereby helping build coalitions of social movements that span regions and continents

TNI's Projects

TNI works on a wide range of interlinking issues. The constant interaction between fellows and projects gives TNI a unique, broad and informed perspective and enables a cross-disciplinary approach to complex global problems.

TNI's work currently includes:

  • Leadership as a respected global voice on drugs policy, promoting a pragmatic approach to tackling illegal drugs based on harm reduction principles.
  • Supporting a dynamic international network involved in building participatory, public sector water as the best way to achieve the goal of water for all
  • Analysing the phenomenon of land-grabbing, and advocating for a just, sustainable agricultural system based on concepts of land sovereignty
  • Confronting the dogma of trade liberalisation, which like financial liberalisation has led to increased inequality, and helping to construct regional alternatives, such as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, based on regional cooperation and solidarity
  • Engaging with democratic innovations and experiments undertaken by social movements, progressive political parties and governments worldwide helping to empower communities to gain control over their lives and environment
  • Drawing together and analysing the links between the different elements of the systemic crisis —financial, environmental and social.