Programme of the 16th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club ‘The Dawn of the East and the World Political Order’
List of speakers
Programme 2019
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The 16th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club will be held from September 30 until October 3 in Sochi. This year’s topic is “The Dawn of the East and the World Political Order.”


September 30, Monday

10:00 – 10:10 Opening of the 16th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Club (live stream)
  • Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club

10:10 – 12:00 Session 1. The Strategic Landscape: An Eastern Perspective. Presentation of the Valdai Club report (live stream)

The world politics is experiencing fundamental changes. They are not only about the shifting balance of forces or redistribution of financial streams and economic capabilities. Countries, whose political and strategic culture is fundamentally different from the western notions, which have been dominant in the previous centuries, are beginning to play the leading roles on the international arena. The future world order will emerge in an environment of pluralism of ideas, taking into account views and positions of the leading non-western countries. What are these views? What does Russia’s role look like in these systems of coordinates? 


  • Yuichi Hosoya, Professor of International Politics, Keio University

  • C Raja Mohan, Director, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore

  • Wang Yiwei, Director, Institute of International Affairs and Centre for European Union Studies, Renmin University of China

  • Hasan Basri Yalçın, Director of Strategic Studies, SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research

  • Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club
12:30 -14:30 Session 2. Middle East as a World Politics Lab

Since the early 21st century, the Middle East has been in the international spotlight. It is becoming a ground for testing various, oftentimes destructive, concepts. “Humanitarian interventions,” “democracy promotion,” “Arab Spring,” “Islamic State” – all of them have undermined stability of this crucial region. In parallel, search of ways to increase resilience of states continues, experience of settling the most complicated conflicts is being accumulated. Syria has provided extensive material for analysis. Approaches, which have been developed in the Middle East, can be applied in both regional and global context. What elements of this experience would be useful to build on?

  • Mustafa Aydin, President, International Relations Council of Turkey

  • Andrey Baklanov, Assistant to the Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council, Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation; Vice-Chairman of the Association of Russian Diplomats

  • Kayhan Barzegar, Director of the Institute for Middle East Strategic Studies (IMESS) in Tehran  

  • Mohamed Elbadri, Assistant Foreign Minister of the Arab Republic of Egypt for Arab Affairs

  • Robert Malley, President, Chief Executive Officer, International Crisis Group

  • Nathalie Tocci, Director, Institute of International Affairs (IAI); Special Advisor to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission

  • Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs; United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations (2000-2008)

16:00 – 17:30 Special session on energy. World Energy Markets: How to Avoid Instability and Ensure a Balance of Interests 

The international system is going through fundamental socio-political shifts along with a change in the structure of world energy markets. Previous regulatory institutions need to be adapted to new conditions at the very least. New ways of stabilization and development of markets are required. The major players are discussing various forms of cooperation, the main requirement for them being flexibility and adaptability to the constantly changing circumstances. Is a sustainable model likely to be developed? What prevails in the energy business: politics, market conditions or fortuity? How to ensure stability in an incredibly fluid world?

  • Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

  • Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation


  • Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club

19:00 The Valdai Award Ceremony (live stream)

October 1, Tuesday

10:00 - 12:00 Session 3. Religious Extremism and Its Impact on Politics 

In the East, the threat of religious radicalism has manifested itself dramatically. It is here that the most dangerous extremist groups aspiring to get political power and claiming they will create a special type of statehood operate. From here, the threat of religious intolerance is projected to other parts of the world together with waves of migrants, provoking various reactions there. The East provides an especially fertile ground for religious conflicts, but they may well spill over to the West. How to avoid them? Does not religion risk falling into the trap of becoming a tool for attaining political goals or justification of radical ideologies? How to fight extremism without raising the specter of religious wars?

  • Mohamed-Chérif Ferjani, Professor Emeritus, University of Lyon 2

  • Alan Ortiz, Executive Director, Center for Philippines Futuristics

  • Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, Deputy Special Envoy for Syria of the United Nation (2014 – 2019)

  • Leonid Sykiainen, Professor, School of General and Interdisciplinary Legal Studies, Faculty of Law, National Research University Higher School of Economics

  • Vasily Kuznetsov, Director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences

12:30 - 14:00 Session 4. Greater Eurasia as a New Form of Geo-Economic Space Organization

Changes on the world arena have returned Eurasia to the international spotlight. But today it is not simply the heartland in terms of classical geopolitics, seen as an object of impact. Today, Eurasia is a booming entity, which is gaining its own subjectivity, interests and is located at the intersection of the most important geo-economic processes. The nascent Greater Eurasia responding to the challenges of modernity is the most important regional phenomenon of today’s world. However, the design of this grand project is still work in progress.


  • Damdin Tsogtbaatar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia

  • Fu Ying, Vice-Chairperson, Foreign Affairs Committee, National People’s Congress, People’s Republic of China

  • Sergey Karaganov, Academic Supervisor – Dean, Faculty of World Economics and International Relations, National Research University Higher School of Economics

  • Ulugbek Khasanov, Head, Department of International Relations, University of World Economy and Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan

  • Askar Nursha, Dean, Public Policy and Law School, Almaty Management University


15:00 - 17:00 Special session. Africa: Prospects, Opportunities, Risks, Threats 

After the end of the Cold War and ideological confrontation, Africa dropped off the radar of global politics. However, this relative oblivion did not last long. A lot of diverse demographic, social, religious-ideological, economic, and political processes are unfolding there. Strong population growth, generational change among its leaders, growth of national ambitions combined with increasingly bitter competition of external powers for economic opportunities make Africa a very dynamic, promising, but also highly explosive territory. 


  • Alexandra Arkhangelskaya, Research Fellow, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

  • Anicet Gabriel Kotchofa, Ambassador of the Republic of Benin to the Russian Federation and CIS Countries (2012 – 2016); Assistant Professor, Lomonosov Moscow State University

  • Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, Chief Executive, South African Institute of International Affairs

  • Nathalia Zaiser, Chair of the Board/Founder, Africa Business Initiative UNION

  • Wong Nelson, Vice Chairman, Shanghai Centre for RimPac Strategic and International Studies
17:30 – 19:00 Special session. Russia and the Islamic World: How They Interact and Influence Each Other

Islam in Russia is one of the traditional religions deeply rooted in the nation’s history and culture. The Russian Islam is connected with the global Ummah, but it preserves and elaborates its own specifics, contributing to both the development of Russia and the international processes. Firsthand knowledge about Islam in Russia will be shared during the session.


  • Vladimir Vasilyev, Head of the Republic of Dagestan

  • Radiy Khabirov, Head of the Republic of Bashkortostan
  • Gulnara Mammadzade, Deputy Director, Expert Council of Baku Network International Policy and Security

October 2, Wednesday

10:00-12:00 Session 5. How Asia Works. Asia-Pacific, Indo-Pacific and Other Strategic Constructs

Asia’s central position leads to a boom of concepts related to its strategic arrangement. China puts emphasis on economic projects, but they have a clear geostrategic profile. The United States is painstakingly building mechanisms to deter China, at the same time eroding multilateral and universal structures. Sub-regional organizations are being created, but their future is uncertain. What are the benefits of this competition of approaches? Is there a chance to build a united Asia or will be torn by competition despite the abundancy of important tasks which can only be solved by joint efforts? 


  • Timofey Bordachev, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club; Academic Supervisor, Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics

  • William H. Hill, Global Fellow, Kennan Institute for Advance Russia Studies, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

  • Prakash Menon, Lieutenant General (Retd), Director, Strategic Studies Program, Takshashila Institution

  • Tan Sri Rastam Mohd Isa, Chairman, Chief Executive, Institute of Strategic and International Studies (Malaysia)

  • Yan Xuetong, Dean, Institute of International Studies, Tsinghua University

  • Piotr Dutkiewicz, Director and Professor, Center for Governance and Public Policy, Carleton University

12:30 – 14:00 Session 6. Middle East in the General Context of Russia’s Policy 

The Middle East has always occupied a special place both in Moscow’s international strategy and in the Russian cultural and historical consciousness. Over the past few years, Russia has begun to play a key role in this part of the world. How does Russia see the Middle East today, what is its vision of its future and key objectives?


  • Vasily Kashin, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics

  • Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

  • Vladimir Legoyda, Chairman, Department for Church Society and Mass Media Relations, Russian Orthodox Church

  • Vitaly Naumkin, President, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Science; Full Member, Russian Academy of Sciences


15:00 – 17:00 Session 7. The Resettlement of Peoples: How Migration Is Changing the World

Mass migrations are а distinguishing feature of the 21st century. Serious population shifts are once again taking place in the world. The reasons are manifold: they include social and economic crises in many states, military conflicts, climatic changes and the mere lack of life opportunities in these people’s home countries. How does migration change the world? Can it be managed in the coming decades?


  • Ivan Krastev, Chairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies (Sofia); Permanent Fellow, Institute for Human Sciences (Vienna)

  • Charles A. Kupchan, Professor of International Affairs, Georgetown University; Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Yevgeni Varshaver, Director, Group for Migration and Ethnicity Research, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration

  • Güney Yildiz, Non-Resident Scholar, Middle East Institute (Washington D.C.)

  • Marc Champion, Senior Reporter for International Affairs, Bloomberg

17:30-19:00 Session 8. War for the Future: How Technology Has Become the Subject of Confrontation

Many experts note that the world has already entered the era of technological wars. The battle has just  begun is not for leadership, but for domination in the field of artificial intelligence, digital economy, new technologies, and it promises to be fierce. The nature of competition is difficult to predict - the technological and communication interdependence is deep and comprehensive, but the restrictive measures are becoming more sophisticated. The rivals are opposing each other, but at the same time they need to interact with competitors. How to ensure the technological development of the country in such a situation? Is partnership with other states possible in such conditions? Is it possible to expect that the world will be divided into opposing technological blocs, as it happened in the second half of the 20th century?


  • Maxim Akimov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation

  • Andrey Filatov, General Director, SAP CIS

  • Andrey Fursenko, Aide to the President of the Russian Federation 

  • Tigran Khudaverdyan, Deputy CEO, Yandex N.V.


October 3, Thursday

10:00 – 12:00 Session 9. Breaking New Ground in the World Economy: Asia as a Driver of Growth or Space for Confrontation? 

Asia has been the main beneficiary of globalization having achieved impressive economic successes. As the global economic model is changing, the issue of how the future interaction will work is arising. Will the 21st-century neomercantilism prevail? Will regional economic systems emerge? Or will the period of turmoil be followed by revival of more or less universal rules? What role will the huge and vibrant Asia play in that?  

  • Lee Jae-Young, President, Korea Institute for International Economic Policy
  • Bruno Maçães, Senior Advisor, Flint Global (London), 
  • Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation
  • Igor Makarov, Head, School of World Economy, National Research University Higher School of Economics
  • Xu Sitao, Chief Economist, Partner Deloitte China. 

  • Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club
17:00 - 19:00 Plenary session. The World Order Seen from the East (live stream)