Middle East: New Stage, Old Problems? The Valdai Club Conference
List of speakers

On February 19-20, the Valdai Club holds, in partnership with the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies, its eighth Middle East conference, titled “Middle East: New Stage, Old Problems?”

This year’s conference continues the Club’s activities aimed at exploring Russia’s policy in the East, which was chosen as the central area of its research in 2019. During the year, the Valdai Club plans to hold a series of events dedicated to the East in the broad sense: both geographically (from Maghreb to South and Southeast Asia) and politically.

This year, the Valdai Club's two-day Middle East event will be opened by a plenary session featuring high-ranking speakers, to be followed by four panels. The participants are expected to address the following issues:

  • What are the lessons of the 2018-2019 crises in the region?

  • What strategies should governments pursue in order to counteract the remnants of radicalism considering that the so-called Islamic State ceased to exist as a territorial entity largely thanks to Russia’s military involvement? What are Russia’s further tasks?

  • The reconstruction of Syria: how flexible will Damascus be and will the external actors be able to agree on concerted actions?

  • Can a genuinely collective security system be developed for the Middle East?

  • Can there be an alternative to OPEC? What is the future of international hydrocarbon markets?

The Valdai Club conference will host representatives of Syria, the United States, Iran, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, providing a unique opportunity for dialogue to parties which are highly unlikely to meet elsewhere.

This year’s conference will be attended by more than fifty experts from more than fifteen countries: prominent Middle East specialists, political scientists, economists, and acting politicians and statesmen. These include Nabeel Shaath, Advisor to President of the State of Palestine; Bouthaina Shaaban, Political and Media Advisor at the Syrian Presidency; Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran; Robert Malley, President & CEO of the International Crisis Group (United States); Abdullah Abdul Mohsen al-Faraj, Senior Researcher at the Center for Research & Intercommunication Knowledge (Saudi Arabia); Zvi Magen, Senior Fellow of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at the Tel Aviv University (Israel); Vitaly Naumkin, President of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences; Andrei Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club; Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club.

The Valdai Club has held Middle East Conferences since 2009 in various locations, including Jordan, Malta, Morocco and Sochi in Russia. Since 2016, the event has been annual, convened in Moscow.

Working languages: English, Arabic, Russian 

Information for the media! Accreditation for the media will be closed on February 18 at 12:00. For accreditation, please fill out the accreditation form or call +7 926 930 77 63  

Accreditation for participants is closed.