Please note that this is not the final version of the program and some changes may occur.
DAY 1, May 16, 2018
09:00 – 09:45 Registration
09:45 – 10:00 OFFICIAL WELCOME (Main Hall)
Ekaterine Metreveli, President, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (Rondeli Foundation)
Felix Hett, Director, Regional Office South Caucasus, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Richard Turcsányi, Director, Stratpol – Strategic Policy Institute
10:00 – 11:30 SESSION 1: The EU’s Security Umbrella and the Future of the Eastern Partnership (Main Hall)
The EU’s Global Strategy, Defence Plan and other consecutive policy documents draw ambitious plans to reinforce the EU as a security actor. New threats demand closer cooperation, leading to strengthening the resilience of the EU’s neighboring partner states. The Eastern Partnership has become a stage for consolidating the EU’s common action aimed at sharing efforts with regional neighbors. Much will depend on the development of active cooperation within the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Panel of the Eastern Partnership but the ability of the format to deepen the dialogue is challenged by divergent views on European security among the eastern neighbors. Raising the importance of cooperation on the CSDP may cause a further differentiation of the Eastern Partnership format and trigger the creation of a separate forum with the newly associated states.
Moderator: Archil Karaulashvili, Chief of Directorate for EU integration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia
- Stephan Stetter, Professor of Global Politics and Conflict Studies, Universität der Bundeswehr Munich, Germany
- Amanda Paul, Senior Policy Analyst, European Policy Center, Brussels
- Kakha Gogolashvili, Director of the Centre on EU Studies, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (Rondeli Foundation), Georgia
- Rudolf Michalka, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic in Georgia, Slovakia
11:30 – 11:45 Coffee break
11:45 – 12:00 Presentation of Research and Policy Papers on EU policy gaps towards the Black Sea and the South Caucasus (Main Hall)
12:00 – 13:15 SESSION 2: Ten years after Bucharest –Reaffirming the Commitment (Main Hall)
Ten years have passed since the decision of the Bucharest Summit claiming that Georgia and Ukraine “will become members of NATO.” What is the relevance of these commitments today? Is Georgia now any closer to NATO membership than it was ten years ago? What is the outlook for the future? And what role has NATO to play in Black Sea security?
Moderator: Mike Carpenter, Senior Director, Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement
- Levan Izoria, Minister of Defence of Georgia
- Ian Bond, Director of Foreign Policy, Centre for European Reform
- Vladimir Socor, Senior Fellow, Jamestown Foundation, Political Analyst, Eurasia Daily Monitor
13:15 – 14:15 Lunch
14:15 – 14:45 KEYNOTE ADDRESS AFTER LUNCH (Main Hall)
Glen Howard, Director, Jamestown Foundation
14:45 – 16:15 SESSION 3: South Caucasus Security Challenges (Main Hall)
The key problems that the South Caucasus faces are old and well known: the conflict over Nagorno Karabakh, the Russia-Georgia conflict and the occupied territories, the lack of regional cooperation, closed borders, and different foreign policy and state-building orientations. Regional and European experts will discuss fresh ideas or paradigms for resolving the old disputes in this panel.
Moderator: Felix Hett, Director, Regional Office South Caucasus, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
- Magdalena Grono, Program Director, Europe & Central Asia, International Crisis Group
- Benyamin Poghosyan, Vice President for Research at the National Defense Research University, Armenia
- Anar Valiyev, Associate Professor of Public Affairs, ADA University, Azerbaijan
- Shota Utiashvili, Senior Fellow, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (Rondeli Foundation), Georgia
16:15 – 16:45 Coffee break
16:45 – 18:00 (Main Hall)
SESSION 4: Russia – After the Elections
Russia is widely seen as posing an open challenge to the post-Cold War world order. It is punching well above its weight in terms of its political, economic and military influence. It applies traditional and non-traditional tools of foreign policy such as energy supply, information warfare and corruption. Its direct influence is now stretching far beyond its immediate neighborhood. Russia is directly engaged in the wars in Ukraine and Syria. It is occupying parts of Georgia and is actively meddling with elections in Western democratic countries. It is threatening the West with initiating a new spiral of the strategic arms race. It is widely acknowledged that Russia’s aggressive foreign policy is linked to its domestic policy: the Kremlin wants to be a world power also for internal reasons.
In this light, the panel aims to focus on Russia’s domestic politics and the links between its internal developments after the 2018 presidential election and the foreign policy that is to be expected.
Moderator: Brian Whitmore, Senior Fellow and Director of the Russia Program, Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA)
16:45 – 18:00 (Idea Meeting Room)
Breakout Session A: The Future of the Iran Nuclear Deal and Implications for the South Caucasus
The current US administration has put the Iran Nuclear Deal into question. Its conclusion in the summer of 2015 was hailed by many as a major diplomatic breakthrough that, in the words of the then German Minister of Foreign Affairs, was meant to “lay the foundations for greater security in the region.” The Deal also encouraged the South Caucasian states to intensify their relations with their southern neighbor, Iran. What will be the consequences of the possible break-up of the Deal for the South Caucasus?
Moderator: David Jalilvand, Consultant to the FES Iran Project, Germany
DAY 2 – May 17, 2018
09:00 – 09:15
KEYNOTE SPEECH (Main Hall)
David Dondua, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Georgia
09:15 – 10:45
SESSION 5: Resolving Crises in Eastern Europe (Main Hall)
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe have been focusing on EU and NATO membership, sailing away from Russia. While Russia tried to keep the former Soviet republics under its control, the EU’s transformative power attracted and engaged them in the European integration process. Russia’s conflicts with Georgia and Ukraine, the internal and interstate conflicts in Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan and the problems of democratic development, poverty and the economic development gap form a contested environment where transformation goes hand-in-hand with long-lasting crises.
Should the countries try to find common solutions and move towards the re-creation of a common regional identity? Or should each country follow its own destiny? How to deal with Russia’s negative influence and rigid engagement challenging the state-building of the Eastern European states, endangering both peace and security in the region and beyond?
Moderator: Victoria Bucataru, Moldovan Foreign Policy Association
- Volodymyr Ogrysko, CEO, Centre for Russian Studies, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
- Richard Giragosian, Director, Regional Studies Center, Armenia
- Elnur Soltanov, Dean of the School of Public and International Affairs of ADA University, Azerbaijan
- Amb. Giorgi Badridze, Senior Fellow, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (Rondeli Foundation), Georgia
10:45 – 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 – 11:45
Extra-Session: Armenian Insights
Peaceful mass protests in Armenia in the past weeks have surprised the world, culminating in the election of Nikol Pashinyan as the new Prime Minister on May 8, 2018. The Extra-Session explores the underlying reasons for the developments and will attempt to look ahead: What are we to expect and what will be the implications for the South Caucasus?
Moderator: Olesya Vartanyan, Analyst, International Crisis Group, Georgia
- Arsen Kharatyan, Editor-in-Chief, Aliq.ge, Armenia
- Stephan Safaryan, Head, Research Programmes, Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs (AIISA), Armenia
11:45 – 13:15 (Main Hall)
SESSION 6 – China and the South Caucasus
China’s ambitious Belt & Road Initiative aims to enhance the network of transport communication between Asia and Europe. It strives to enhance political, economic and people-to-people cooperation along the proposed corridors, eliminate barriers to international trade and investments, and encourage mutually beneficial projects of development. The EU, for over two decades, has been engaged in similar initiatives through its multi-state projects, TRACECA and INOGATE, as well as other respective instruments of bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
The two great powers and their initiatives meet in the South Caucasus – an obvious opportunity to achieve compatibility. However, so far there is no EU-China cooperation on this matter. What are the factors that hinder such a cooperation? What are the chances for the convergence of EU-China positions? And what are the opportunities for the South Caucasian countries in embracing the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative? Is a new “vector” of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia’s foreign policies on the horizon? Or is the transit and industrial potential of the South Caucasus too limited to play any significant role?
Moderator: Richard Turcsanyi, Director, Stratpol – Strategic Policy Institute
- Zhao Long, Assistant Director of Institute for Global Governance Studies and Associate Professor at Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, China
- Franziska Smolnik, Associate, Research DivisionEastern Europe, Eurasia, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Germany
- Vladimer Papava, Senior Fellow, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (Rondeli Foundation), Georgia
11:45 – 13:15 (Idea Meeting Room)
Breakout Session B – Energy Security
Energy security has become one of the most pressing issues in the last two decades. In many ways, energy becomes responsible for both the creation of strategic partnerships and alliances and differences, and also conflicts. The existing demand for alternative energy producers and the stability of energy supplies enhances the geopolitical importance of the Wider Black Sea and Caspian region, especially for Europe.
Western states and international companies are, to this end, greatly interested in the stability and security of the region. On the other hand, Russia considers the development of regional energy transportation projects passing through the South Caucasus as a threat to its interests. At the same time, Europe and the rest of the world are looking for alternative sources of energy to reduce their dependence on these regions and combat global warming. The South Caucasus is facing its own challenges in energy security and sustainable development.
The session will focus on the challenges and the risks of the energy policy of individual countries and of the region as a whole. It explores the ideas on how to reduce the aforementioned risks and increase a country’s own energy security. How to solidify the energy transit function of the region and achieve a sustainable future?
Moderator: Silvia Stöber, Freelance Journalist
13:15 – 14:15 Lunch
14:15 – 14:30
Presentation of Outputs from Youth Leaders
The Youth Leaders program participants will be asked to prepare a short presentation of the main points of the discussion in their seminars. They will get the chance to present their unique points of view on the region’s problems and opportunities.
14:30 – 16:00 (Main Hall)
SESSION 7: Southern Neighbors
The Middle East is undergoing a profound transformation. What will the region look like in the post-ISIS era? How can the problems of separatism and sectarian divisions be overcome? What will be the impact of the new patterns of regional rivalries and cooperation on the security and stability of the South Caucasus? Turkey is at the crossroads. However, its democratic development and allegiance to NATO are key factors of stability in the region.
We will hear from experts and policymakers both from the region and outside about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in this quickly transforming environment.
Moderator: Irakli Menagarishvili, Chair, Strategic Research Centre
14:30 – 16:00 (Idea Meeting Room)
Breakout Session C: Islands of Cooperation in the OSCE Area (Presentation of a new Publication)
Current security challenges in the OSCE area can be addressed through Islands of Cooperation – specific policy areas of converging interests between EU member states, Russia and the states in the common neighborhood. Through pragmatic cooperation in areas of overlapping interests, states will gradually restore predictability and mutual trust. This approach may bring a positive and constructive dynamic into the current security stalemate and help find regional answers to the challenges we face. The approach was developed by a FES-initiated group of young experts from across the OSCE space called FLEET (Fresh Look at Eastern European Trends).
Moderator: Alexandra Dienes, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Regional Office for Cooperation and Peace in Europe, FES Vienna
- Maia Urushadze, Analyst and Project Manager in the Peace and Integration Programme at Caucasian House, Georgia
- Tadzio Schilling, Director for Business Development at the Foreign Desk Organization at Ernst & Young Moscow
- Victoria Bucataru, Executive Director of The Foreign Policy Association of Moldova FES