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 between Russian and international intellectual elite, and to make an independent, unbiased scientific analysis of political, economic and social events in Russia and the rest of the world.
Over 900 representatives of the international scholarly community from 62 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.
The non-profit Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club was established in 2011 with a view to expanding its activities to new areas, including research and outreach work, regional and thematic programs.
In 2014 the Foundation assumed all responsibility for the club’s projects. The Foundation was established by the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, the Russian International Affairs Council, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) and the National Research University – Higher School of Economics.
The Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Club is responsible for the Foundation’s affairs. It is chaired by Andrei Bystritsky. Executive Director of the Foundation is Nadezhda Lavrentieva who runs its current activities.