Valdai Discussion Club to Hold Its Tenth Middle East Conference in Partnership With the RAS Institute of Oriental Studies
Valdai Discussion Club Conference Hall (16/1, Tsvetnoy Blvd, Moscow)
List of speakers

On March 30-31, the Valdai Discussion Club, in partnership with the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, will hold its 10th Middle East Conference. The theme for this year’s meeting is “The Middle East in Search of for Lost Awakening”. The event will be held at the Club’s new Moscow site at 16/1, Tsvetnoy Blvd.

This year, for the first time ever, the entire Middle East conference of the Valdai Club will be open to the media and audiences. All sessions will be broadcast on the Club’s website,, and via its social media.

Due to restrictions associated with the pandemic, the Middle East conference will be held in a mixed format: offline and online. The event will be attended by more than 50 experts from 19 countries, including Britain, Egypt, Israel, Iran, Lebanon, Palestine, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, the UAE, and the USA. High-ranking guests of the conference include: Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister; Anwar Mohammed Gargash, diplomatic adviser to the President of the UAE, former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the UAE; Turki bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, President of the King Faisal Foundation and Chairman of the Centre for Research and Islamic Studies; Amal Abou Zeid, Advisor to the President of Lebanon, Member of the Lebanese Parliament from the Free Patriotic Movement (2016-2018); Mehdi Sanaei, Senior Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Iranian Ambassador to Russia (2013-2019); and Ahmad Majdalani, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

The focus of the conference is the region’s revival. The Middle East has been fighting for national self-realisation for more than a century, and to this day, foreign military bases remain in the region, interventions continue, and the political, economic and technological attachment of the Middle Eastern states to external actors has not abated. In the 21st century, trends have emerged in the region that suggest a possible beginning of a new revival. These tendencies are reflected in the programme of this year’s Valdai Club Conference:

  • The increased role of Russia in the Middle East;

  • Change of the nature of external players’ participation in the regional affairs;

  • Prospects for ideological revival;

  • The transformation of political systems and the role of individuals in the region’s politics;

  • Changes in the development of Middle Eastern communities.

Discussions will not remain aloof from the modern context and the most recent developments in the region will be addressed. Experts will analyse changes in relations between the United States under Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia, shifts in relations between Arab countries and Israel, growing tensions between NATO members such as France and Turkey, and many other issues.

Especially for the Valdai Club’s 10th Middle East conference, a report was prepared in partnership with the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This scholarly work, based on a broad historical retrospective, sets the tone for further intellectual discussion on the Arab revival and aims to help a deeper understanding of the processes taking place in the Middle East.

Also invited to participate in the conference are: Kadri Jamil, leader of the Moscow platform of the Syrian opposition, secretary of the People’s Will party; Eugene Rogan, Director of the Middle East Centre at St. Anthony’s College, University of Oxford; Vitaly Naumkin, Academic Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Lieutenant General (ret.) Evgeny Buzhinsky, Chairman of the PIR Center Council; Andrei Baklanov, Professor, Head of the Middle East and North Africa Studies Section at the Higher School of Economics; Leonid Slutsky, Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs of the State Duma of the Russian Federation; 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 politicians, diplomats, and representatives of the expert community.

Valdai Club Middle East conferences have been held since 2009. Over the years, the forum has taken place in Jordan, Malta, Morocco; in Russia it was also held in Sochi. Since 2016, the Middle East Valdai Conference has become an annual event and is held in Moscow.

Working languages: English, Arabic, Russian.

Information for the media: 

To get accredited for the event, fill out the form on our website or call +79269307763. Accreditation is open until 12:00 Moscow time on March 29. 

A link to the live broadcast of the discussion will be posted on all online platforms used by the Valdai Club: on the website, on Facebook, Vkontakte, Instagram, Telegram, and Twitter.