October 24-27, 2016, Sochi
The Future in Progress: Shaping the World of Tomorrow
Monday, October 24
15:00-17:00 Special session. What if… the Soviet Union had not collapsed?
The dissolution of the Soviet Union 25 years ago caught almost everyone by surprise. Although today it appears to have been inevitable, it was – like all major historical upheavals – the result of a combination of objective principles and subjective factors. Were it not for the latter, events might have unfolded differently. What would the world be like today if “the greatest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century” had never happened? Could it have been avoided?
19:00-22:30 Gala Ceremony of the Establishment of the Valdai Discussion Club Award
Tuesday, October 25
09:30-09:40 Opening of the 13th 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
09:40-11:30 Session 1. World order: quo vadis?
Not a century has passed that has not seen radical changes to the political map of the world. The 21st century is already no exception. Borders continue to move, institutions of global governance transform, alliances change and global centers of power shift. How to ensure that these processes follow an evolutionary path? How to overcome the tensions that naturally result between the major powers and preserve the peace?
12:00-13:00 Meeting with a high-ranking Russian official
14:30-16:30 Session 2. Democracy 2.0: how is popular rule changing?
Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Humanity is witnessing the spread of democracy on an unprecedented scale, while classic authoritarianism and dictatorship are definitely “going out of style.” At the same time, observers are increasingly speaking of a crisis of democratic procedures, of the inability of democratic systems to keep pace with today’s rapid changes or to provide for the demands of development and national security in an increasingly globalized world. How to preserve popular rule in the 21st century without sacrificing the ability to make needed decisions quickly? What role and powers should political leaders have?
17:00-19:00 Session 3. From the Middle East to Central Eurasia: an arc of instability or a space for joint action?
The Syrian crisis has morphed into a global-scale “Great Game”. It is at the same time an arena of proxy conflict of the most influential powers, a zone of their close cooperation, and a space where the prototype of a new world agenda is forming. The risk of instability and the creeping terrorist threat are critical for the whole of Eurasia, especially for Central Asia where political transformation has been rekindled. The future of this enormous region, and, perhaps, of the whole world, depends on the progress of the leading actors in facilitating mutual understanding, at least on the most fundamental issues.
19:30-20:30 Meeting with a high-ranking Russian official
Wednesday, October 26
10:00-12:00 Session 4. The world after the recent major migration
The refugee crisis is a clear manifestation of a long-standing problem – namely, that the world is splitting into zones, some of which offer so few prospects to their residents that they strive to relocate, en masse, to other, more promising territories. The influx of migrants in the developed world sharply aggravates social and cultural problems and, as a consequence, political issue as well. This massive loss of human capital threatens to turn the developing world into a source of violence and instability. Does the ongoing mass migration present new opportunities for global development, or is it essentially a giant time bomb waiting to explode?
14:00-16:00 Session 5. The world economy: a new globalization or a new protectionism?
The era has passed in which it seemed that the entire global economy was progressing according to the same rules and would be controlled from a single center. It has given way to new trends – the formation of megablocs united by strict rules and standards. In effect, a new and far more sophisticated form of protectionism has emerged. Although states remain interdependent, are their relations becoming more complex and double-edged? How will the world be organized 10 years from now?
17:00-18:00 Meeting with a high-ranking Russian official
19:00-20:30 Special session. Europe – our failed future?
Only a few short years ago, the European Union was considered the prototype of future international relations and proper government. Today, European integration is undergoing a conceptual crisis and the future of the Old World looks increasingly uncertain. What lessons can be learned from the failure of the European project? What role will Europe play in the future? Will it act as an independent world center and the western extremity of “Greater Eurasia,” or one part of the “American world”? How will Russia-EU relations develop further?
Thursday, October 27
09:30-11:30 Session 6. Will technology revolutionize the world?
Observers constantly speak of a breakthrough in technology, the advent of a new economic order and a new industrial revolution. Technology dramatically affects human life, creates a new competitive environment and impacts global processes. But does it fundamentally change politics? How do disparities in technological development affect the global balance of power, and what are the potential consequences?
12:00-13:00 Meeting with a high-ranking Russian official
15:00-17:00 Plenary session. A philosophy of international development for the new world