15:30-17:30 Special session dedicated to the Valdai Discussion Club Annual Report “The Importance of Being Earnest: How to Avoid Irreparable Damage”Changes in the global system have entered a qualitatively new phase. The erosion of the world order also affects domestic policies, as all major states are focused on their internal problems, having given free rein to international processes. This triumph of egotism is accompanied by the residual carelessness of the previous epoch, when it seemed that things would work themselves out on their own. The scope of changes underway is comparable to that of the most momentous periods of human history, when the very principles of relationships were changing, along with actors and circumstances. The Valdai Club Annual Report continues the series of reports released in 2014-2016. This time, the authors attempt to review and evaluate the changes in order to better understand what can be done to reduce the risks.
19:00 Valdai Discussion Club Award Ceremony
10:20-10:30 Opening of the 14th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club
Opening remarks: Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board, Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club
10:30-12:30 Session 1. The Conflict Between Differing Geopolitical Worldviews
World politics are moving in two directions simultaneously – forward to an increasingly cohesive and interdependent international system in tandem with world-embracing communications and the need to address challenges globally; and backward into fragmentation caused by vested interests, conflicts between major powers, and a return to protectionist instincts and practices. The previous globalization model has played itself out, while a new one has yet to emerge; conflicts are escalating between global organizations of various types; and geographic proximity between states – until recently considered a secondary factor given the global nature of transportation, communications, and economics – is regaining significance.
14:00-16:00 Session 2. The Conflict Between Rich and Poor
Stratification along lines of material development is becoming the most pressing social problem, not only within and between states, but also in global relations. Material inequality has reached a level last scene 100 years ago, when it contributed to the outbreak of World War I. Social conflicts have become a permanent feature of the international scene, and our ability to resolve them will determine the success or failure of not only individual states and regions, but also the entire global community. Of particular concern is the growing and seemingly insurmountable gap between not only individual states, but entire parts of the world and those countries in the “vanguard” of material development. Fearing that the locomotive of development will leave them behind, individuals around the world are struggling by every possible means to relocate to the “advanced” societies and gain a foothold there – creating a global brain drain that only exacerbates the negative trend in their home countries. Looking back from the vantage point of the present, it is clear that the distinguishing events of the 20th century were decolonization and the emergence of numerous new states that have yet to embark on a path of sustainable development. The consequences of the processes set in motion back then will become pressing problems for the world in the coming decades.
16:30-18:30 Special session. America: What Next?
The United States has always been in the focus of global attention, but this attention has recently turned into scrutiny. The international community is trying to understand what it can expect from the world’s most powerful country in the short and medium term. Are the recent changes in US behavior on the global stage lasting and even irreversible? What will be the outcome of the internal political crisis in the United States? And will the world see the revival of the idea of American leadership, an idea that does not seem to inspire the incumbent president?
20:00-21:30 Special session. The 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution
The Russian Revolution, truly great both in its scale and its consequences, became a national manifestation of trends, which were characteristic of the entire world at that time. It set the tone for the entire 20th century, its repercussions are still vivid today and the results of those cataclysms are deeply incorporated in the global system, including world views, social fabric, economic approaches, and geopolitical balance of forces. The process of disintegration of empires, which included the Russian Revolution, is the most fundamental shift over the past century, and it is yet to be completed. This is confirmed by developments in the areas of former imperial control, by how relations between former colonies and metropoles are shaped, and by how political consciousness of former colonial powers evolves. Are revolution and succession mutually exclusive or do they morph into one another, as each revolution ends in restoration?
14:30-16:30 Session 4. The Conflict Between Universalism and Self-Identity
The post-Cold War period was unique: for the first time in history, a view prevailed that a single cultural and ideological model was not only universally applicable, but intrinsically superior to the others. The process of globalization effectively became an attempt to cultivate a uniform way of life and a particular system of mores on the entire planet. This prompted a counter reaction – an active search for, and effort to strengthen self-identity among peoples and states. However, self-identity alone cannot solve the numerous global challenges now facing humanity. The pendulum continues to swing and it might be years – even decades – before humanity finds a new balance between universalism and self-identity.
18:30-20:00 Special session. Future Preparedness Index
The statement that the world has entered an epoch of global change is already a truism. But do we know what to expect and whether we are ready for what is coming? The latest conference announced the launch of the Future Preparedness Index, a joint project by the Valdai Discussion Club and the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM). The upcoming special session will consider what has been done in this regard. Calculating the Future Preparedness Index is based on the assumption that it is possible to assess the extent of a country readiness to meet tomorrow’s challenges with the help of ten basic and about 40 additional parameters identified by researchers. How rational is this method? What can and should be improved in this index and can this method be used at all? The epoch of alarming and unpredictable changes that we have reached calls for new and better integrative approaches to analyzing factors determining countries’ readiness for the future, approaches that are more adequate to rapid developments and more efficient technologically. This year, the research has embraced the G20 and it is planned to extend it to more countries as the method improves.
16:00-18:00 Plenary session. The World of the Future: Moving Through Conflict to Cooperation