Programme of the 14th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club
List of speakers
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The image of the world order is undergoing radical changes today, as the world of the future is being shaped under the influence of global conflicts. The 14th annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, which will take place on October 16-19 in Sochi, is tasked with analyzing the transformation of socio-political worldviews and outlining the contours of the future.

October 16-19, 2017, Sochi

Creative Destruction: Will a New World Order Emerge from the Current Conflicts?


Monday, October 16


15:30-17:30 Special session dedicated to the Valdai Discussion Club Annual Report “The Importance of Being Earnest: How to Avoid Irreparable Damage”

Changes in the global system have entered a qualitatively new phase. The erosion of the world order also affects domestic policies, as all major states are focused on their internal problems, having given free rein to international processes. This triumph of egotism is accompanied by the residual carelessness of the previous epoch, when it seemed that things would work themselves out on their own. The scope of changes underway is comparable to that of the most momentous periods of human history, when the very principles of relationships were changing, along with actors and circumstances. The Valdai Club Annual Report continues the series of reports released in 2014-2016. This time, the authors attempt to review and evaluate the changes in order to better understand what can be done to reduce the risks.

19:00 Valdai Discussion Club Award Ceremony

Tuesday, October 17

10:20-10:30 Opening of the 14th 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

10:30-12:30 Session 1. The Conflict Between Differing Geopolitical Worldviews

World politics are moving in two directions simultaneously – forward to an increasingly cohesive and interdependent international system in tandem with world-embracing communications and the need to address challenges globally; and backward into fragmentation caused by vested interests, conflicts between major powers, and a return to protectionist instincts and practices. The previous globalization model has played itself out, while a new one has yet to emerge; conflicts are escalating between global organizations of various types; and geographic proximity between states – until recently considered a secondary factor given the global nature of transportation, communications, and economics – is regaining significance. 


  • Nabil  Fahmy, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt (2013-2014); Dean of the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, American University in Cairo (AUC) 
  • Fu Ying, Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, National People’s Congress, People’s Republic of China
  • Sergey  Karaganov, Dean of the School of World Economics and International Relations at the National Research University Higher School of Economics; Honorary Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy 
  • Theo  Sommer, Editor at Large, Die Zeit  
  • William Wohlforth, Daniel Webster Professor, Department of Government, Dartmouth College
Moderator: Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club

14:00-16:00 Session 2. The Conflict Between Rich and Poor

Stratification along lines of material development is becoming the most pressing social problem, not only within and between states, but also in global relations. Material inequality has reached a level last scene 100 years ago, when it contributed to the outbreak of World War I. Social conflicts have become a permanent feature of the international scene, and our ability to resolve them will determine the success or failure of not only individual states and regions, but also the entire global community. Of particular concern is the growing and seemingly insurmountable gap between not only individual states, but entire parts of the world and those countries in the “vanguard” of material development. Fearing that the locomotive of development will leave them behind, individuals around the world are struggling by every possible means to relocate to the “advanced” societies and gain a foothold there – creating a global brain drain that only exacerbates the negative trend in their home countries. Looking back from the vantage point of the present, it is clear that the distinguishing events of the 20th century were decolonization and the emergence of numerous new states that have yet to embark on a path of sustainable development. The consequences of the processes set in motion back then will become pressing problems for the world in the coming decades.


  • Andrey  Klepach, Vnesheconombank Deputy Chairman (Chief Economist) - Member of the Board
  • Francis  Kornegay, Senior Fellow, Institute for Global Dialogue, University of South Africa 
  • Anatol  Lieven, Professor, Georgetown University in Qatar 
  • Marc  Uzan, Executive Director, Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee  
  • Wang Wen, Executive Dean, Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China  
Moderator: Nathalie Tocci, Special Advisor to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini; Director, Institute of International Affairs (IAI), Rome  

16:30-18:30 Special session. America: What Next?

The United States has always been in the focus of global attention, but this attention has recently turned into scrutiny. The international community is trying to understand what it can expect from the world’s most powerful country in the short and medium term. Are the recent changes in US behavior on the global stage lasting and even irreversible? What will be the outcome of the internal political crisis in the United States? And will the world see the revival of the idea of American leadership, an idea that does not seem to inspire the incumbent president?


  • Sergey  Kislyak, Member of the Council of the Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation; Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States of America (2008-2017) 
  • Clifford Kupchan, Chairman, Eurasia Group
  • Angela  Stent, Director, Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, Georgetown University  
Moderator: Xiang Lanxin, Professor, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva; Director of Center of One Belt, One Road and Eurasian Security, China National Institute for SCO Studies, Shanghai

20:00-21:30 Special session. The 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution

The Russian Revolution, truly great both in its scale and its consequences, became a national manifestation of trends, which were characteristic of the entire world at that time. It set the tone for the entire 20th century, its repercussions are still vivid today and the results of those cataclysms are deeply incorporated in the global system, including world views, social fabric, economic approaches, and geopolitical balance of forces. The process of disintegration of empires, which included the Russian Revolution, is the most fundamental shift over the past century, and it is yet to be completed. This is confirmed by developments in the areas of former imperial control, by how relations between former colonies and metropoles are shaped, and by how political consciousness of former colonial powers evolves. Are revolution and succession mutually exclusive or do they morph into one another, as each revolution ends in restoration?


  • Dominic  Lieven, Fellow of the British Academy; Research professor, Cambridge University  
  • Boris  Martynov, Head of Department of International Relations and Foreign Policy of Russia, MGIMO University  
  • Alexey  Miller, Professor, European University at St. Petersburg 
  • Alexander  Revyakin, Professor, Department of International Relations and Foreign Policy of Russia, MGIMO University 
  • Yuri Slezkine, Jane K. Sather Professor, University of California, Berkeley
Moderator: Anatoly  Torkunov, Rector of MGIMO University; Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences; Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary    

Wednesday, October 18

09:30-11:30 Session 3. The Conflict Between Man and Nature

Political, economic, and social processes proceed against the backdrop of global environmental changes, climate-related calamities, pollution, and natural disasters. But the international community has yet to formulate a viable method of coping with these increasingly urgent challenges. This calls for a reasonable combination of national and international efforts, but the crisis among the institutions that manage global affairs means that a new approach must be found. Meanwhile, the environment is responding proportionately to the rapid expansion of human activity, growing more “aggressive” as the stresses against it increase. It is no great exaggeration to say that the environment has now become a party to the conflict. 

  • Rawi Abdelal, Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Management, Harvard Business School; Director, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University 
  • Alexander Bedritsky, Adviser to the President of the Russian Federation, Special Presidential Representative on Climate Issues 
  • Igor Chestin, Director, WWF Russia 
  • Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University, Canberra 
Moderator: Thomas Gomart, Director, French Institute of International Relations (Ifri) 

14:30-16:30 Session 4. The Conflict Between Universalism and Self-Identity

The post-Cold War period was unique: for the first time in history, a view prevailed that a single cultural and ideological model was not only universally applicable, but intrinsically superior to the others. The process of globalization effectively became an attempt to cultivate a uniform way of life and a particular system of mores on the entire planet. This prompted a counter reaction – an active search for, and effort to strengthen self-identity among peoples and states. However, self-identity alone cannot solve the numerous global challenges now facing humanity. The pendulum continues to swing and it might be years – even decades – before humanity finds a new balance between universalism and self-identity.


  • Alexander Iskandaryan, Director, Caucasus Institute (Yerevan) 
  • Andrey Kortunov, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) 
  • Ivan Krastev, Chairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia 
  • Wolfgang Schüssel, Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria (2000-2007)
  • Wole Soyinka, Playwright, poet and novellist (Nigeria) 
Moderator: Piotr Dutkiewicz, Director and Professor, Center for Governance and Public Policy, Carleton University, Ottawa 

18:30-20:00 Special session. Future Preparedness Index

The statement that the world has entered an epoch of global change is already a truism. But do we know what to expect and whether we are ready for what is coming? The latest conference announced the launch of the Future Preparedness Index, a joint project by the Valdai Discussion Club and the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM). The upcoming special session will consider what has been done in this regard. Calculating the Future Preparedness Index is based on the assumption that it is possible to assess the extent of a country readiness to meet tomorrow’s challenges with the help of ten basic and about 40 additional parameters identified by researchers. How rational is this method? What can and should be improved in this index and can this method be used at all? The epoch of alarming and unpredictable changes that we have reached calls for new and better integrative approaches to analyzing factors determining countries’ readiness for the future, approaches that are more adequate to rapid developments and more efficient technologically. This year, the research has embraced the G20 and it is planned to extend it to more countries as the method improves.


  • Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board, Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club
  • Valery Fedorov, Director General of the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM)
  • Andrey Fursenko, Aide to the President of the Russian Federation
  • Hans-Joachim Spanger, Head of Research Department, Leibniz Institute Peace Research Institute Frankfurt; Research Professor, National Research University-Higher School of Economics, Moscow
Moderator: Leonid Grigoryev, Chief Adviser to the Head of the Analytical Center under the Government of the Russian Federation

Thursday, October 19

09:30-11:30 Session 5. The Conflict Between Progress and Humanism

Advances in technology portend an increasingly “dehumanized” future. For example, the mechanical and economic efficiency of heavily roboticized industries threaten the social fabric in every society, and breakthroughs in artificial intelligence call into question our ultimate ability to control the technical devices we ourselves have created. In fact, people in the developed world have grown so dependent on technology that the idea of our inventions enslaving us is gradually moving from the realm of dystopian fiction into reality. 

  • Andrey Fursenko, Aide to the President of the Russian Federation 
  • Samir Saran, Vice President of the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi 
  • Wendell Wallach, Chair, Technology and Ethics Studies, Yale University Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics 
  • Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary, The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)
Moderator: Vyacheslav Nikonov, Chairman, Committee on Education and Science at the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation  

16:00-18:00 Plenary session. The World of the Future: Moving Through Conflict to Cooperation