live broadcast
Global Shake-Up in the 21st Century: The Individual, Values, and the State. The 18th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club
Sochi, Russia
List of speakers

The 18th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, titled “Global Shake-Up in the 21st Century: The Individual, Values, and the State” will be held on October 18-21, 2021. After a two-year hiatus, its participants will return to the traditional venue of the annual meetings, the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

The meeting will sum up the results of the annual work of the Valdai Club, and also marks its return to full-fledged work — not only meaningful exchanges (which have never stopped), but also in terms of face-to-face communications.

This year’s Annual Meeting will be held predominantly offline, in the traditional venue, the Polyana 1389 hotel. About 140 participants, including 65 experts from abroad, will gather for the forthcoming sessions.

However, the online format, which has proved to be quite an efficient backup option, will also be employed during the 18th Annual Meeting. A total of 61 participants have registered for online participation with the opportunity to ask questions and take part in the discussion on par with others, while a lot of traditional participants in the Valdai meetings have registered as viewers. Altogether, more than 150 experts will take part in the event online. Representatives of 45 countries, including Russia, Afghanistan, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Britain, China, Germany, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Turkey, and the United States, will take part in the Meeting.

The main task of the conference is to analyse how the relations between man and society, man and state, as well as between different societies are changing amid new conditions. The Club asserts that from the point of view of the dynamics of change, international relations are now undergoing fewer changes than relations within societies and between people.

Now the main consequences of the pandemic, primarily psychological ones, are beginning to emerge. It is still difficult to say what has affected the state and society to the greatest extent — the virus itself or the circumstances caused by it. The agenda of this year’s meeting is directly related to these issues. However, the “global shake-up” in the conference title is a reference not only to the pandemic, but also to those numerous events that have an impact on the world community — from the change of government in Afghanistan to growing technological competition.

The rich programme of the four-day conference includes more than 15 sessions. However, not all of them will be open to the media and the general audience. The Club follows Chatham House principles to ensure the utmost frankness of speakers and commentators during discussions. The following issues are on the agenda:

• The psychological state of the world community in the COVID-19 era;

• The feasibility of non-freedom and the boundaries of state control in modern conditions;

• Russian policy and international efforts to combat climate change;

• The international struggle for technological leadership;

• Russia and the ideological transformation of the world;

• Russia’s experience overcoming crises.

The participants are expected to hold a number of meetings with representatives of the leaders of the executive and legislative bodies of the Russian Federation. In particular, a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, which has already become traditional for Valdai Club experts, is scheduled for October 19.

The academic team of the Club prepared a report especially for the annual meeting: “The Age of Pandemic: Year Two”, dedicated to the understanding of the world order state. According to Fyodor Lukyanov, one of the authors of the report and research director the Valdai Discussion Club, the current work is a kind of “comprehension of the landscape after the fall of a meteorite”. The report will be presented on the second day of the conference.

During the meeting, the fifth anniversary ceremony of the Valdai Club Award for a significant contribution to understanding and explaining changes and trends in world politics will take place. The name of this year’s laureate will be revealed on the first day of the conference.

The international participants in the meeting include many experts who will take part in the work of the Valdai Club for the first time, but there are also regular guests. These include: Augusto Lopez-Claros, Chairman of the Global Governance Forum; Giorgio Nardone, Doctor of Psychology, Founder and Director, Centre for Strategic Therapy in Arezzo; Meir Brand, Vice President of Google Inc.; Fu Ying, Head of the Centre for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University; Jose Octavio Bordon, President of the Argentine Council of International Relations (CARI); John Joseph Mearsheimer, professor of political science at the University of Chicago; Yerlan Karin, Assistant to the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Chairman of the Kazakhstan Council on International Relations; Lassina Zerbo, Honorary Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO); Tatiana Kastoueva-Jean, director of the Russia/Newly Independent States Centre of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), and others.

On the Russian side, the meeting will be attended by: Maxim Oreshkin, Aide to the President of the Russian Federation; Ruslan Edelgeriev, Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation, Special Presidential Representative on Climate Issues; 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; Timofei Bordachev, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club, Scientific Director of the Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics; Konstantin Bogomolov, Stage and Artistic Director of the Malaya Bronnaya Theatre; Vitaly Naumkin, academic director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Yana Leksyutina, Professor of the Department of American Studies, St. Petersburg State University; Sergey Karaganov, Academic Supervisor — Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at the Higher School of Economics, Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy; Viktoria Panova, Vice-Rector for International Relations of the Far Eastern Federal University, and many others.

The Valdai Discussion Club was founded in 2004. Over the years, it has become an internationally recognised platform for the interaction of leading world experts with Russian scholars, politicians and government officials. Today the club focuses its activities on research in the field of global political and economic processes. Over the past years, more than 1,000 representatives of the world academic community from 74 countries have taken part in the work of the Club.

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