American Enterprise Institute’s Mission & Services

The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, commonly known as American Enterprise Institute (AEI), is one of the oldest think tanks in America. As an independent non-profit organization, the AEI focuses on researching economics, social welfare, government, and politics. The organization’s mission is to build a freer and safer world by defending human rights and expanding human potential (American Enterprise Institute, n.d.).

The AEI is predominantly comprised of scholars who advance ideas entrenched in the belief of democracy, global leadership, free enterprise, inclusive entrepreneurial culture, and support for the underprivileged in society. The organization was founded in 1938 with its headquarters in Washington, DC, and governed by a Board of Trustees, usually a 28-member board (Desmog, n.d.). The trustees are former executives and executives of different organizations in America. Politically, the AEI is non-partisan and is mostly associated with neoconservatism and conservatism.


The AEI obtains members from leading organizations across the country regardless of the sector. Although the recruitment is open for any leader in an outstanding organization, the member must have high integrity. The individuals involved observe strict adherence to the AEI values, visions, norms, and mission regardless of the policy area one is representing (American Enterprise Institute, n.d.). In that case, a member of the organization is at the same time its ambassador. Additionally, an individual can only obtain an AEI admission at a meager one hundred and twenty dollars a year. The board of Trustees has top financial and business executives as its leaders.

Special Services the AEI Provide to its Members

The AEI offers many benefits, including internship opportunities for students, The Journal of Architectural Engineering, professional conferences, and the team newsletter. Other exploits are professional project awards, webinars, student competitions, technical publications, continuing education, local professional chapters, student chapters, and networking. The organization also provides a chance for individuals to work with leading researchers, entrepreneurs, financial executives, and scholars (American Enterprise Institute, n.d.). Additionally, AEI offers a leadership network made up of ambitious, talented, and open-minded individuals, usually mid-career professionals concerned with policy and politics.

Specific Public Policy Category the AEI Advances

The AEI organization is an interest group focused on various policy areas. Each policy area has professionals that analyze, comment, and recommend changes, eliminations, and adjustments in public policies within their jurisdiction. The first policy area is the economy, where the AEI members are focused on promoting and preserving free-market economies within and outside the nation for better living standards for all.

Another area is foreign and defense policy, in which the AEI members are devoted to the idea that the U.S. global leadership is significant for a free, prosperous, and peaceful world. The AEI also focuses on promoting healthcare as a fundamental policy area to encourage affordable, high-quality, and effective services (American Enterprise Institute, n.d.). Other policy categories include; education, society and culture, politics and public opinion, poverty studies, and technology and innovation.

Organization’s Conferences and Issues Addressed

The AEI has convened numerous conferences that addressed many issues of national importance. In 1944, the organization held the Economic Advisory Board conference that set high standards for research. The result of the conference was the birth of the Council for Academic Advisers that, over decades has seen notable social scientists and economics join it. The AEI, in conjunction with Architectural Engineering Institute, convened the 2011 Architectural Engineering Conference to address challenges facing the architectural community.

The AEI held a series of conferences in 2013 specifically meant for students. Another notable event hosted by the AEI was the 2018 conference to deliberate on the legal issues where cities filed lawsuits against oil companies regarding pollution by fossil fuels (Desmog, n.d.). The organization hosted the Conservative Political Conference in 2017 to discuss multiple conservative issues.

Some of the AEI Watchdog Functions

The AEI performs various watchdog functions, which involve monitoring non-governmental organizations (NGOs) involved in international relations and foreign policy. In 2002, the AEI, in collaboration with the Federalist Society, created a website called NGOWatch purposely to observe the activities of NGOs associated with foreign policy (Desmog, n.d.). The NGOWatch project was later renamed to become Global Government Watch (Desmog, n.d.). The AEI has also been watching closely the activities of climate change scientists to ensure they provide factual, reliable, and credible information to the government and the public.

The Draw to the Organization and Political Interest it Serves

What draws individuals to join the organization is the numerous benefits that members get. For instance, as an associate, one gets a chance to interact and learn from high-profile executives leading the country’s most prominent and successful organizations. Moreover, involved individuals influence public policies through advocacy, watchdog functions, and participation in various public debates. On-going learning, research, and publications are also guaranteed for those interested. However, the organization does not involve itself in the political issues of the country.

Summary of the AEI Success in Influencing Public Policy

Since its conception, the AEI has played a fundamental role in policy issues in the United States. Due to their active service, some of the organization’s members have served in the U.S. government. For instance, Dick Cheney was the country’s vice president during President George W. Bush’s administration. Given that the AEI leadership comprises America’s topmost executives, the AEI has considerable influence in the business world due to its vast connections. Thus, the AEI has influenced public policies in almost every sector of the economy.


American Enterprise Institute. (n.d.). Policy areas. Web.

Desmog. (n.d.). American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Web.

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