Many call it a think tank. It would rather refer to itself as a policy institute. It is officially the Royal Institute of International Affairs. And to the rest of the world? Simply Chatham House tends to do the trick.
But monikers aside, this organisation is best known for the famous Chatham House Rule. (That’s singular, not Chatham House Rules, mind.)
It is important, because aside from ‘on the record’ (very common) and ‘off the record’ (not common at all), the Chatham House Rule is an internationally recognised middle way for meetings and events to take place.
Those who find conferences and high-level meetings part of their normal working week might well realise that the Chatham House Rule means no naming of names or affiliation post-event – though it crucially allows those taking part and in attendance, including the media, to otherwise describe what happened.
But how many of us can recite the Rule? The organisation’s definition, tweaked twice over the years (once in 1992, again in 2002) reads: When a meeting, or par thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.
Got it? For part two of this article series, a Q&A with Chatham House, click here.
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