On October 1, 2023, in Sochi, on the eve of the 20th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, the Club and the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) signed a memorandum of understanding. On behalf of the Valdai Club, the memorandum was signed by Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club, and on behalf of the VIF – by Arvind Gupta, Director of the Vivekananda Foundation. The ceremony was attended by Venkatesh Varma, Distinguished Fellow at the Vivekananda International Foundation, Former Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation (2018–2021).
“Our cooperation has been going on even without a formal document; this memorandum serves as a sign of common understanding of contemporary problems,” Andrey Bystritskiy said. “I hope that our interaction will be intense. The Valdai Club is well known, I have been here, and I’m happy that our cooperation has been formalised,” Arvind Gupta stressed.
The memorandum is intended to promote the development of dialogue between the expert communities of Russia and India, as well as to build ties between them in such areas as diplomacy, culture, economics and trade, education, international relations, communications, the media and other spheres. This will be facilitated, in particular, by holding joint seminars, symposiums and discussions on regional and global issues of mutual interest, as well as by the exchange of analytical materials. The document speaks of readiness for cooperation based on mutual respect and equality.
Director of the Vivekananda Foundation presented the Valdai Club an image of Swami Vivekananda who made it into history by his speech at the first Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893, where he represented Hinduism and expressed India’s aspiration for sovereignty and prosperity. The Vivekananda Foundation becomes the sixteenth international partner of the Valdai Club and the second organisation from India to have signed a partnership agreement with Valdai this year.
The Valdai Discussion Club was established in 2004. During its work, it has become an internationally recognised platform for interaction between the world’s leading experts and Russian scientists, 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 scientific community from 85 countries have taken part in the work of the Club.
The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) is a New Delhi-based think tank set up with the collaborative efforts of India’s leading security experts, diplomats and philanthropists. The VIF’s objective is to become a centre of excellence to kick start innovative ideas and thoughts that can lead to a stronger, secure and prosperous India playing its destined role in global affairs.