Valdai International Discussion Club

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Putin makes his Valdai Speech in Sochi, 24 October, 2014

The Valdai International Discussion Club is an international framework for the leading experts from around the world to debate on Russia and its role in the world. The non-profit Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club was established in 2011 with a view to expanding its activities to new areas, including research and outreach work, regional and thematic programs.

In 2014 the Foundation assumed all responsibility for the club’s projects. The Foundation was established by the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, the Russian International Affairs Council, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) and the National Research University – Higher School of Economics.

The club’s mission is to create an international framework, where representatives for the Russian elite could debate on the development of the country and its role in the world with leading foreign experts.

The club’s main goals are:

  • to create an international venue where foreign experts could receive information about Russia and Russian society from reliable sources;
  • to demonstrate the diversity of social and political views on key issues in domestic and foreign policies;
  • to give international experts an opportunity to meet with top Russian leaders.

The club unites leading foreign experts and journalists who analyze Russia’s politics, economy and culture. Permanent international members form the club’s backbone. Different foreign experts are invited every year. Russian members include political scientists, economists, journalists, public figures and policymakers with different views on events in Russia and abroad, and also representatives of executive and legislative power.

History[edit]

The Valdai Discussion Club was established in 2004. It was named after Lake Valdai, which is located close to Veliky Novgorod, where the club’s first meeting took place. The club’s goal is to promote dialogue between Russian and international intellectual elite, and to make an independent, unbiased scientific analysis of political, economic and social events in Russia and the rest of the world.

Over 800 representatives of the international scholarly community from almost 50 countries have taken part in the club’s work. They include professors of major world universities, including Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, Stanford, Carleton University, the University of London, Cairo University, the University of Teheran, East China University, the University of Tokyo, Tel Aviv University, the University of Messina, Johns Hopkins University, the London School of Economics, King’s College London, Sciences Po and the Sorbonne.

The intellectual potential of the Valdai Club is highly regarded both in Russia and abroad. The President and the Prime Minister of Russia meet with the club’s members, and politicians and public figures from Russia and other states take part in its work.

The club’s regional programs have drawn attention from the expert community, including the Eurasian dialogue, Asian dialogue, Euro-Atlantic dialogue, Mid-Eastern dialogue, the Russia Development Index and the Research Grant Program.

The club’s 10th annual meeting in September 2013 was a success, and opened new vistas for its activities. After observing its 10th anniversary, the club is continuing to develop. It is shifting from a format of telling the world about Russia to practical efforts to shape the global agenda. The Valdai Club has proved its worth as a discussion platform on Russian issues, and is aimed at consolidating the world intellectual elite to find ways of overcoming current global crises.

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