14th Annual Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club. Day 1
List of speakers

Although the official opening of the XIV Annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club takes place on October 17, nevertheless, on the first day of its work in Sochi several important events have already happened.

The most outstanding event of the day was the Valdai Club Award Ceremony. Last year this idea was supported by authoritative and well-known experts in Russia and abroad who joined the Academy of the Club. All the "academicians" are connected with the Valdai Discussion Club in one way or another - they have repeatedly taken an active part in expert discussions and are the authors of analytical articles and scientific materials of the Club.

During the year, members of the Academy nominated their nominees for the Prize. Then a short list of three candidates was formed. It included: Dominic Lieven, the British historian, a recognized expert on the history of the Russian Empire, American researchers Timothy Colton and Samuel Charap, authors of the book " Everyone Loses: The Ukraine Crisis and the Ruinous Contest for Post-Soviet Eurasia", dedicated to the Ukrainian crisis, and also Vitaly Naumkin, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, professor, scientific director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

On October 16, as a result of voting by a jury of the Council of the Academy, one winner was chosen from three candidates. He is Academician Vitaly Naumkin, a world-renowned Orientalist who devoted his life studying the Arab world. He was awarded for a special work to achieve a truce in Syria.

As Fyodor Lukyanov, Valdai Club Research Director, noted during the ceremony, the Club's task is to support serious researches, which are necessary to understand the processes taking place in the world. "The prize is created in order to encourage and stimulate the processes of the modern world’s understanding. The need for such an understanding is multiplied because what is happening now is the transformation of politics into a farce, "Lukyanov said. As a reward the winner is provided by the opportunity to choose and conduct any scientific research with financial support from the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club. 

Also on October 16, a special session was held with the participation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, which was devoted to the annual report of the Valdai Club, titled  " The Importance of Being Earnest: How to Avoid Irreparable Damage ". This is the last of a series of reports that are issued for the fourth consecutive year to the annual meetings in October.

The authors of the report urge to abandon the "strategic frivolity" that enveloped the global elites at the end of the last century and shattered their most basic foundation, of self-preservation. It is necessary to return to an adequate perception of reality with its entire palette of dangers and threats, and understand that self-preservation is not 'every man for himself', but everyone together against the risks that is more effective to combat jointly. To download the report it is possible on the Valdai Club web site.

On October 17, within the framework of the Club's Annual meeting, there will be several sessions: "The Conflict Between Differing Geopolitical Worldviews", "The Conflict Between Rich and Poor", "America: What Next?", "The 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution".