The Valdai Discussion Club was established in 2004. It was named after Lake Valdai, which is located close to Veliky Novgorod, where the club’s first meeting took place. The club’s goal is to promote dialogue betweenRussian and international intellectual elite, and to make an independent,unbiased scientific analysis of political, economic and social events inRussia and the rest of the world.
Over 800 representatives of the international scholarly community from almost 50 countries have taken part in the club’s work. They include professors of major world universities, including Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, Stanford, Carleton University, the University of London, Cairo University, the University of Teheran, East China University, the University of Tokyo, Tel Aviv University, the University of Messina, Johns Hopkins University, the London School of Economics, King’s College London, Sciences Po and the Sorbonne.
The intellectual potential of the Valdai Club is highly regarded both in Russia and abroad. The President and the Prime Minister of Russia meet with the club’s members, and politicians and public figures from Russia and other states take part in its work.
The club’s regional programs have drawn attention from the expert community, including the Eurasian dialogue, Asian dialogue, Euro-Atlantic dialogue, Mid-Eastern dialogue, the Russia Development Index and the Research Grant Program.
The club’s 10th annual meeting in September 2013 was a success, and opened new vistas for its activities. After observing its 10th anniversary, the club is continuing to develop. It is shifting from a format of telling the world about Russia to practical efforts to shape the global agenda. The Valdai Club has proved its worth as a discussion platform on Russian issues, and is aimed at consolidating the world intellectual elite to find ways of overcoming current global crises.
President of Ukraine Poroshenko said recently that the transformation that has taken place in the Ukrainian army has prepared the country to repel full-scale aggression by Russia. Regardless of whether such aggression is likely, the current state of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is worth considering.
The world is changing and, as has always happened in history, at some point somebody’s influence and power reach their peak and then somebody begins to develop still faster and more effectively. One should study history and proceed from realities.
The sudden appearance on the Arab political stage of a sinister new figure, the Islamic State (ISIS) and its self-proclaimed Caliphate – which is not as a myth or a shadow of the past, but a real and frightening force that’s ruling the regions of Iraq and Syria it has captured – keeps regional governments in a state of torpor.