Politicians, entrepreneurs and think-tank scholars from about 40 countries attended the conference and three sub-forums were held on the topics of strategies and policy development, economic and trade cooperation, and humanistic and cultural exchanges over land and sea. Several think-thank dialogues were also on the topic of cooperation between Port Cities under the Belt and Road Initiative.
The think thank alliance started in April 2015, when in order to better serve the Belt and Road initiative, the China United Nations Department led the initiative to jointly establish an alliance with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the State Council Development Research Centre, Fudan University and China International Economic Exchange Centre. Over the past two years, the think tank coalition has developed a wide range of partnerships, conducted numerous in-depth investigations and studies, actively participated in government policy forming, government consulting, and promoting of cooperation and understanding.
At present, the think tank alliance has more than 100 of domestic and foreign members that meet on regular basis every several months, organize visits to countries along the Belt and Road route to enhance the understanding of the initiative and goals.
This forum in Tianjin was focused on port city cooperation under the framework of the "Belt and Road Initiative", presentations and discussions supported by the Think Tank Coalition, and introduction of the program Tianjin City "21st Century Maritime Silk Road" pivot city. At the opening ceremony, the International Advisory Board on the Belt and Road Cooperation Foundation for the Think Thank Coalition was formally established. Former Greek PM George Papandreou, Former President of Slovenia Danilo Turk, Former French PM Dominique de Villepin, Former Italian PM Massimo D’Alema, Former Tanzanian PM Mizengo Pinda and Former Thailand’s Parliamentary Chairman Bhokin Bhalakula have been selected as the first consultants to the International Advisory Board.