Meridian and U.S. News & World Report Reveal Best Countries Rankings for 2017

Ambassador of Switzerland Martin Dahinden sharing his thoughts on his country’s top billing in the Best Countries rankings for 2017. This is the first year that Switzerland was included in the rankings. Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian.

Which country has the best quality of life? Which has the richest cultural heritage? And which is the best for entrepreneurs? U.S. News & World Report teamed up with Y&R’s BAV Consulting and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to survey over 21,000 people from 36 countries in all regions of the world on these questions and more. The results were revealed on Monday, March 6, through a dinner program co-hosted by Meridian International Center and U.S. News & World Report on Meridian’s campus.

Meridian President and CEO Ambassador Stuart Holliday opened the official Best Countries launch by welcoming a distinguished group of international ambassadors and chargé d'affaires, current and former USG Administration officials, chief marketing officers and other global leaders that Meridian gathered for the rankings release. Holliday noted the economic value that these sorts of rankings can provide nations from increased tourism to foreign direct investment. “They continue to prove that countries that possess good governance and free societies rise to the top.”

Y&R Global Chief Executive Officer David Sable provided an overview of the methodology behind Best Countries and held the coveted role of announcing Switzerland as the Best Country for 2017. Switzerland’s accolades, the revelation that the United States dropped from fourth to seventh in the rankings, and the United Kingdom maintaining the third spot on the list in spite of Brexit, segued into spirited discussions over dinner.

Following the dinner, U.S. News Editor and Chief Content Officer Brian Kelly moderated a panel discussion that delved deeper into the rankings as well as country perception in general. “We wanted to capture how tumultuous political change affect a country’s perceived standing in the world,” explained Kelly. “Similar to what we have done with hospitals, universities and other institutions, the Best Countries portal pairs fact-based metrics with storytelling to help people better evaluate their countries and make sense of a range of important global issues.”

The panel included Her Excellency Anne Anderson, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States; John Gerzema, Chairman and CEO of BAV Consulting; Dr. David Reibstein, Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School; and Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally, Executive Director of SelectUSA in the Obama Administration.

Now in its second year, the Best Countries rankings evaluate 80 countries across 24 rankings and 75 dimensions. The rankings serve as the centerpiece of a growing multimedia portal created by U.S. News & World Report, Y&R and the Wharton School. The platform leverages data to help citizens, business leaders and policymakers better understand how public policy impacts a nation’s brand, and in turn, influences investment.

As a center for global leadership, Meridian uses its strong relationships with the diplomatic corps, U.S. government and business community to create neutral forums on issues of international importance and intrigue, such as Best Countries.

So which country has the best quality of life? Canada

Which country has the richest cultural heritage? Italy

And which is the best for entrepreneurs? Germany

The full list of rankings and more on Best Countries 2017 can be found here:

Project Partner:

U.S. News & World Report

Project summary

Meridian and U.S. News & World Report Reveal Best Countries Rankings for 2017 | March 2017
Number of Attendees: 65
Countries: Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Vietnam
Impact Areas: Business and Trade, Media and Journalism
Program Areas: Diplomacy
Partners: Private Sector