Silk Road Think Tank Network

Guiding Principles


For over two thousand years, the Silk Road on land and at sea has connected civilizations across Asia, Europe, and Africa. As a channel for exchanges in trade and culture, the Silk Road is a significant symbol of communication and cooperation between the east and the west, as well as the south and the south. For the past decades, globalization and regional integration of economies has been accelerating. As a result, different countries and international organizations have proposed several plans and initiatives to establish a Modern Silk Road.

In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed an initiative to jointly build the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’). This initiative aims to promote policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people contact and friendship. It has been widely acknowledged in the international community and coming to be seen as a common historic undertaking for many countries.

Shouldering this historic undertaking, think tanks from different nations, international organizations and relevant institutions have jointly established the Silk Road Think Tank Network (SiLKS) in October 2015. The main objective of SiLKS is to deepen exchanges and cooperation, to draw upon each other’s wisdom and experience, to encourage mutual learning, and to promote prosperity and stability of the world.



The Silk Road Think Tank Network (hereinafter referred to as‘SiLKS’) is an informal international network initiated jointly by think tanks, international organizations, and relevant institutions.


Carrying on the Silk Road Spirit—namely “peaceful cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning, and mutual benefits”— the SiLKS is devoted to inspiring the knowledge generation, sharing and application of think tanks, in an effort to jointly build the Belt and Road and to promote the common development of all countries.  


Joint Research

The SiLKS will encourage members and partners to conduct joint research on economic, social and cultural issues, associated with the development of OBOR Initiative in the relevant countries and regions, so as to provide policy recommendations or advice to governments, enterprises, and other organizations.

Information and Knowledge Sharing

The SiLKS will facilitate information exchanges and knowledge sharing through international fora, roundtables, websites, publications, media interviews, etc.

Capacity Development on Policy Research and Consultation

The SiLKS will promote people-to-people exchanges in the form of visiting scholars and study tours, as well as create and maintain a shared hub for Silk Road data, so as to enhance the capacities of think tanks in terms of policy research and consultation.



Think tanks that agree to the mission of the SiLKS are eligible to be a member of SiLKS. The thinks tanks that wish to join the SiLKS have to submit a written application to the Steering Committee for their approval through the Secretariat.

Members are expected to participate in the SiLKS activities and support the organization of those activities taking place in their own countries in their capacity. Membership will be reviewed and renewed by the Steering Committee every five (5) years based on member’s continued interest and participation in SiLKS activities.


International and regional organizations, governmental agencies, enterprises, non-governmental organizations and individuals that agree to the mission of the SiLKS can apply to be partners. Partners could provide funds or in-kind assistance to the SiLKS based on partnership agreements. A partner’s support and its engagement in SiLKS activities will be duly recognized. Partners are welcomed to participate in activities organized by the SiLKS, and have access to information and materials from it.



The Steering Committee is the consulting and advisory body of the SiLKS, and the Secretariat will be the standing executive body. An Annual Meeting of the SiLKS will be organized by the Secretariat.

Steering Committee: Composition

The 1st Steering Committee consists of eleven (11) institutional representatives, including one (1) Chair. The members are rotating among members and partners every two years.

The Development Research Center of the State Council of China (DRC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD), as the three (3) major founders of the SiLKS, will each have an ex-officio seat on the 1st Steering Committee. Other seats of the Committee will be open to members and partners of the SiLKS. Any member and partner institution can nominate one applicant from their institution to become a member of the Steering Committee according to the criteria listed below. Each term of the Steering Committee lasts for two (2) years.

Steering Committee: Chair Arrangement

The Steering Committee has one Chair. The representative of the host institution of the SiLKS Secretariat will be the Chair in the Steering Committee.

Steering Committee: Responsibilities

1. Meeting annually to provide advice and recommendations on strategic issues of the SiLKS, and to approve new membership;

2. Providing advice and recommendations to the flagship reports and key activities of the SiLKS.

3. Mobilizing resources to support the development of the SiLKS;

4. Promoting global visibility of the SiLKS.

Steering Committee: Criteria of Members

1. Being able to represent his/her institution in the SC.

2. Extensive experience and evidence of a global perspective in research and policy area;

3. Recognized record of professional achievements and a proven track record of substantial leadership experience;

4. Proven capacity of mobilizing resources;

Secretariat: the Host Institution

The Development Research Center of the State Council of China (DRC) will host the Secretariat of the SiLKS and provide manpower and financial support to it.

Secretariat: Responsibilities

1. Supporting and organizing the Steering Committee meetings, reporting the progress of major SiLKS activities, and responding to the advice and recommendations from the Steering Committee;

2. Organizing and monitoring activities of the SiLKS, including conferences, research, academic visits, etc.;

3. Financing for its operation and related activities;

4. Providing administrative service to support the SiLKS membership;

5. Procuring and managing goods and services for the SiLKS;

6. Managing the website, communication, and public relations.

Secretariat: the Secretary-General

The Secretary-General is the head of the Secretariat with each term of 4 years, and will be nominated by the host institution of the Secretariat and be approved by the Steering Committee.


This document may be updated upon review and decision by the Steering Committee.