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The Lennart Meri Conference offers annually 20 sessions altogether: 8 plenary sessions and 12 breakout sessions, which are conducted under the Chatham House Rule. An optional day-trip to Tartu was organised for participants in connection with Estonia’s 100th birthday and the first session was held at Tartu University on the 31st of May. This gave the opportunity to ca 50 high-level participants to get acquainted with Estonia’s cradle of history, culture and education and to have fruitful discussions with each-other.

Photo: Annika Haas / Lennart Meri Conference

As usual, the participants have very good opportunities to get updated on acute topics and to discuss the real issues within small circles of experts. The LMC debates have been fruitful both on national and international level. They have definitely had a strong impact on the public foreign and security policy debate in Estonia as well as on policy making. On international level, the Baltic security concerns are always highlighted and explained but the LMC has also shown that small states like Estonia can contribute to the wider discussions about issues, which impact not only Estonia but the EU and the transatlantic alliance.

The perspective of history was highly appreciated by the participants and the conference has received a lot of positive media coverage nationally and internationally. The messages circulating in media and social media after the end of the LMC 2018 are that the “new tensions” in Europe are not new; they are a reframing of things that have already happened. The leaders should stand up to and expose these new narratives; it is not enough to merely oppose them.

This time more than ever, a lot of attention was paid to the youth. In a majority of the panels – whether plenary or breakout sessions – speakers and audience members alike focused consistently on youth engagement. If young people ultimately do not share the values that glue institutions together and unify countries with distinct national identities, then the outlook on the next 100 years may be bleak.

State support

Supported by Enterprise Estonia. Amount: 30 000 €