The Global Aging Institute (GAI) is a nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to improving our understanding of global aging, to informing policymakers and the public about the challenges it poses, and to encouraging timely and constructive policy responses. Our research agenda is broad, encompassing everything from retirement security to national security. And our perspective is global, encompassing aging societies worldwide.
Although the Global Aging Institute is new, its mission is not. Before founding the institute in the spring of 2014, GAI President Richard Jackson directed a research program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that over more than a decade produced a large body of cutting-edge research and analysis on global aging and played a leading role in shaping the debate over what promises to be one of the defining challenges of the twenty-first century. The new Global Aging Institute will continue, expand, and build on this legacy.
Like global aging itself, the kinds of questions that GAI will address intersect with virtually every dimension of public and private life, from the shape of the family to the shape of the geopolitical order:
- How can aging societies maintain a decent standard of living for the old without imposing a crushing burden on the young?
- How can they maintain adequate rates of savings and investment as a larger share of the population enters its retirement years?
- How can they encourage longer and healthier work lives and leverage the productive potential of the elderly, who will be the fastest growing segment of society?
- How will the changing structure of the family, which will often have more grandparents than grandchildren, affect the way we raise the young and care for the old?
- How will the rising average age of the population affect risk-taking, entrepreneurship, and voter and leadership behavior?
- How is the differential impact of global aging, by country and by region, likely to transform the geopolitical landscape and the global balance of power?
- Most importantly, what types of policies do the United States and other countries need to put in place as they age in order to promote economic growth, maintain social mobility, and ensure national and global security?
The Global Aging Institute pursues its mission through a wide range of activities. It carries out original research and analysis on policy issues related to global aging. It publishes and distributes reports, articles, and multi-media presentations that communicate its findings and recommendations to the broadest possible audience. And it organizes and hosts conferences and forums that bring together policy experts, media representatives, and civic, business, and government leaders for constructive dialog about the magnitude and scope of the global aging challenge and the most effective public and private responses.
We believe that the Global Aging Institute has a vital role to play in helping society prepare for humanity’s graying future. While there are other policy institutes and academic centers that address various aspects of the global aging challenge, few have GAI’s broad interdisciplinary scope and global strategic perspective. Moreover, to the extent that the work of these other institutes and centers is substantive, it tends to be narrowly academic; to the extent that it tries to communicate more broadly with policymakers and the public, it tends to be superficial. Quite simply, no other organization is as well positioned as GAI is to translate incisive research on global aging into authoritative yet accessible policy analysis and recommendations.