On February 17-18, 2020, the Valdai Discussion Club, in partnership with the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, will hold its Ninth Middle East Conference. This year, discussions are dedicated to the theme “Middle East in a Time of Change: Towards New Stability Architecture”. The focus of the programme is the regional architecture and scenarios of what the 2020s will bring to the region.
This year began with an escalation of the conflict between Iran and the United States, as well as with the “deal of the century” on Palestinian-Israeli settlement, declared by Washington. Recently, another wave of large-scale protests hit Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, a change of power took place in Algeria and Sudan, and an electoral crisis in Israel. Over the past ten years, the whole region has changed dramatically.
A special report of the Valdai Club and the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, prepared for the conference, is devoted to assessment of risks and prospects.
More than 50 statesmen and experts from 20 countries will take part in this year’s Valdai Club Middle East Conference. The participants will discuss the following:
The region’s future in the global context;
The growing conflict potential in the Middle East;
Relations between Arab countries and their non-Arab neighbors in the region;
Situation in the Persian Gulf and in the Maghreb, relations between Russia and the sub-regional states;
The new wave of protest sentiments in the Middle East: causes and consequences.
Other conference participants include: Igor Morgulov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation; Ahmad Majdalani, Palestinian Minister of Social Development; Anwar Abdulhade, Director, Political Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization; Mehdi Sanai, High Advisor to the Foreign Minister of Iran; Amre Moussa, Secretary General of the League of Arab States (2001-2011), Foreign Minister of Egypt (1991-2001); Amal Abu Zeid, Lebanese MP from the Free Patriotic Movement (2016–2018); Nifon, representative of the Patriarch of Antioch and the whole East at the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Russia; Mohamed Eljarh, founder and managing director of Libya Outlook; Randa Slim, Director, Initiative for Track II Dialogues, Middle East Institute in Washington; Senior researcher, Dorothée Schmid, Senior Research Fellow, Head of Ifri’s Turkey and Middle East Program, and others. The Russian experts taking part in the conference include: Vitaly Naumkin, President of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Science, Full Member, Russian Academy of Sciences; Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club; Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Valdai Discussion Club, Editor-in-Chief of the Russia in Global Affairs journal, and many other prominent representatives of the expert community.
In its public activities, the Club traditionally follows the Chatham House rules. This year, it decided to open for the media the following sessions of the conference:
Opening of the conference (February 17, 09:45 – 10.00)
Session 1. Middle East – Future Oriented. Two Perspectives (February 17, 10.00 – 11:30)
Session 6. Scenarios of the Future (February 18, 13:30 – 15:30)
Closing of the conference (February 18, 15:30 – 16:00)
The Middle East conferences of the Valdai Discussion Club have been held since 2009. Over the years, the forum was hosted by Jordan, Malta, Morocco, and Sochi in Russia. Since 2016, the Middle East conferences became annual and are held in Moscow.
Working languages: Russian, English, Arabic.