Lennart Meri Conference 2018

The Next Hundred Years

01-03 June 2018, Tallinn, Radisson Blu Sky Hotel


Friday, June 01
17.00-17.05 Welcome note by Sven Sakkov, Director of the ICDS
17.05-17.15 Address by the President of Austria, Dr Alexander Van der Bellen
17:15-18:30 Opening session
Who Owns History?

A popular argument says that history is too important to be left to the historians. But to whom should we leave the history, then? Who owns history? In our age of fake news and post-truths, it is very timely to ask about the role of history in democracy. History is malleable, it can be twisted and turned, used and abused to suit various needs and ends. History is not only about the past, it also impacts our future. “Who controls the past controls the future” was one of Orwell’s main lessons. Can we, or should we protect history from political, commercial or other kinds of instrumentalisation?

Yuri Slezkine, Jane K. Sather Professor of History, University of Cailfornia Berkeley, Russia
Marek Tamm, Professor of Cultural History, Tallinn University, Estonia
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, Former Foreign Minister of Denmark
Moderated by: Natalie Nougayrède, Editorial Board member and Columnist, The Guardian
18:45 Transfer to the Dinner
19.00 Dinner, hosted by the President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid
(by invitation only)
21.30 Transfer to the hotel & conference venue
22:00 Night owl session
Chatham House Rule
Russia and the West: Crossroads or Dead End?

Robert Karem, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, US Department of Defense

Dmitri Trenin, Director, Expert Council Chair, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Russia

Carl Bildt, Former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden

Sergei Utkin, Head, Department of Strategic Assessment, Centre for Situation Analysis, Russian Academy of Sciences


Moderated by: Kadri Liik, Senior Fellow, ECFR, London

Saturday, June 02
08:00-09:10 Breakfast sessions
Chatham House Rule
Eastern Partnership: Strategic Vision or Wishful Thinking?

Jana Kobzova, Head of Policy, Rasmussen Global

Riina Kionka, Chief Foreign Policy Adviser of European Council President, Donald Tusk

Tengiz Pkhakaladze, Advisor to the President of Georgia, Foreign Relations Secretary

Balazs Jarabik, Nonresident Scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, USA


Moderated by: Jan Techau, Senior Fellow and Director, Europe Program, GMF, Berlin


When All News is “Fake”: Strategies for a Confused Age 

Jakub Kalensky, East StratCom Task Force Member at European External Action Service

Ia Meurmishvili, International Broadcaster, /TV Anchor at Voice of America, Georgia Service

Alina Polyakova, David M. Rubenstein Fellow, Foreign Policy Center on the United States and Europe, The Brookings Institution

Anton Shekhovtsov, Visiting Fellow, Institute for Human Sciences, Ukraine


Moderated by:  Christian Caryl, Editor, The Washington Post


Challenges from the South: Firefighting vs Strategy

Giuseppe Perrone, Ambassador of Italy to Libya

Mustafa Aydin, Rector of Kadir Has University, President of the International Relations Council of Turkey

Michael Köhler, Director for Neighbourhood South at the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission

Elisabeth Millard, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs


Moderated by: Tom Nuttall, Charlemagne columnist, The Economist


European Defence: Where’s the Beef?

Jana Puglierin, Head of Programme, Alfred von Oppenheim Centre for European Policy Studies, DGAP, Germany

Adam Thomson, Director of the European Leadership Network, UK

Etienne De Durand, Deputy for Defence Policy and Strategic Foresight, Directorate General for International Relations and Strategy, Ministry of Defence, France

Anna Wieslander, Director for Northern Europe, Atlantic Council, Sweden


Moderated by: Barbara Kunz, Research fellow, French Institute of International Relations, France

09:15-10:45 Panel discussion
Geography and Threat: Should NATO Mind the East/South Gap?

NATO faces risks to its east and to its south. To the east, Russia continues its military build-up and looks for opportunities to confront Western cohesion. To the south, instability and conflict bring the challenges of migration and terrorism to our borders. NATO’s recent summits in Wales and Warsaw have focused largely on those risks emanating from the east. But the individual Allies’ geographical location and strategic culture inevitably shape their perceptions of where and how NATO should deploy its scarce resources. Is there more still to be done on the eastern flank, or should NATO now turn greater attention to the south? Where should the balance of attention and means lie? Can the differing perspectives of the Allies be reconciled and single strategic approach found? Does NATO need a new Strategic Concept?

Colonel David Pendall, Deputy Chief of Staff, US Army Europe

Jüri Luik, Minister of Defence, Estonia

José Alberto de Azeredo Lopes, Minister of Defence, Portugal

Claudia Major, International Security Division, SWP, Berlin


Moderated by: Constanze Stelzenmüller, Robert Bosch Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution



11:15-12:45 Panel discussion
Democracy and Digital Misdeeds: Fighting Foreign Manipulation

Openness, diversity and tolerance are among the greatest strengths of the world’s liberal democracies. But to autocratic regimes, these same attributes are vulnerabilities ripe for exploitation. Attacks based on deceit, anonymity and the leaking of stolen and distorted information are potent. Without the courage and the tools to face up to the threat posed by the subversive efforts of illiberal countries or interest groups, we are contributing to the erosion of our own values. How do we defend democracies against adversaries who exploit our trust and openness? Can we defend ourselves without sacrificing the principles that make our societies worth defending?


Mark Galeotti, Director, Mayak Intelligence

Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven, Assistant Secretary General for Intelligence and Security, NATO

Andrey Soldatov, Editor,, Russia

Daniel Moore, PhD candidate, King’s College London, and Security Principal, Accenture iDefense


Moderated by: Edward Lucas, Senior Vice President, CEPA

12:45-13:45 Lunch
14:00-16:00 Optional events – visits and excursions (please check the conference website for the full list of options)
16:00-17:30 Panel discussion
How Great is Europe?

In spite of the rise of populist, Eurosceptic political parties in many European countries over recent years, a solid majority of EU citizens continues to see EU membership as a positive thing. Brexit was not the start of a domino effect. On the contrary, it led to a renewed recognition of the positive aspects of integration. The new leadership of France and Germany is expected to steer the EU towards strengthening the Eurozone and enhancing the EU´s contribution to security and defence. On the other hand, cleavages between East and West, and North and South, make it hard to agree on the steps ahead. Solidarity among member states and citizens has been weakened by the many crises that the EU has experienced in the past decade. Even common values can no longer be taken for granted. What will be the main challenges for the EU during the institutional cycle that will follow the European Parliament elections in 2019? What is it that holds us Europeans together? Are we simply afraid of the unknown consequences of disintegration? Or do we really believe that the EU is great?


Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister of Estonia

Lolita Čigāne, Chairperson of the European Affairs Committee, Latvian Saeima

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, Vice President and Executive Director, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, Berlin Office

Konrad Szymański, Secretary of State for European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Poland


Moderated by: Ali Aslan, TV Presenter and Journalist, DW

17:30-18.15 Panel discussion
Thinking the Unthinkable: Why Has Leadership Failed?

FaceBook’s data catastrophe; MeToo; Populism; Nationalism; Trump; Putin, Russia and the nerve agent attack; the impact of AI on work and skills; Brexit.

Why are disruption and unthinkables creating ever-greater uncertainty for corporate and political leaders? Why do they have trouble thinking unthinkables then leading as voters, consumers and citizens expect?

Thinking the Unthinkable reveals the private fears of top leaders during candid one-to-one conversations. Many are ‘scared’ and ‘overwhelmed’ by the new disruptions.  Findings and implications for policymakers out of new data from hundreds of interviews with world leaders.


Presenter: Nik Gowing, Co-Author, Thinking the Unthinkable, UK

Commentator: Carl Bildt, Former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden



18.45-20.15 Panel discussion
Eighteen Months of Trump Foreign Policy:  Right Direction Wrong Track?

U.S. Foreign Policy under President Trump seems to have two defining characteristics:   One is the proliferation of sensationalist tweets:  Rocket-Man, Animal Assad, Witch Hunt, Fake News, etc.   The other has been some serious policymaking, including reinforcing European security, supporting Ukraine, negotiating with North Korea, defeating ISIS, and pushing back on China.  Where do we stand after 18-months of President Trump?  Are we seeing a necessary and welcome reversal of President’ Obama’s retreat from American leadership?   Or are we seeing a dangerous and provocative America-First belligerence? The McCain Institute presents a structured debate on this critical topic — are we heading in the right direction, or are we on the wrong track?


Daniel Vajdich, Senior Fellow Atlantic Council

Randy Scheunemann, President, Orion Strategies, US

Marie Mendras, Professor, Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po, Research Fellow, CNRS

Constanze Stelzenmüller, Robert Bosch Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution


Moderated by: Susan Glasser, Staff Writer of The New Yorker Magazine and Author of a Weekly Column, ‘Letter From Washington’

20.30 Networking dinner in the conference hotel
22.00 Night owl sessions
Chatham House Rule

Putin’s Grand Finale: What will Putin’s Last Term Mean for Russia?

Vladimir Kara-Murza, Vice Chairman, Open Russia Movement, Russia

Alexey Levinson, Head of Department, Levada Center, Russia

Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow, The Atlantic Council, USA


Moderated by: David Kramer, Senior Fellow in the Vaclav Havel Program for Human Rights and Diplomacy, Florida International University, USA


Afghanistan: Will This Time be Different?

Ahmed Rashid, Journalist and Author, Pakistan

Gen. (Ret.) David H. Petraeus, Chairman, KKR Global Institute,

KKR New York

Mariam Wardak, Advisor, Office of the National Security Council, Afghanistan

Olga Oliker, Senior Adviser and Director, Russia and Eurasia Programme, CSIS


Moderated by: Steven Erlanger, Journalist, The New York Times


Brave New World: Utopia or Dystopia?

Technology is a pillar of human civilisation. It has often defined entire eras of human history — ranging from the industrial revolution to the nuclear era to today’s information age. Accelerating advances in information technology, robotics, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and synthetic biology are producing or promise to produce massive social and political impact. These disruptive trends raise many issues affecting national security and global stability. They also have profound implications for the fundamental legal, moral and ethical aspects of social organisation and welfare provision. What are those threats and opportunities? Which of our fundamental values and principles will come under pressure in the next technological era? What aspects of liberal democratic societies, their alliances and international order generally will new technology most challenge? How can we best prepare ourselves for a future whose technological contours are only beginning to emerge, while still managing the ongoing disruption driven by the rapid pace of technological change?


Lucas Kello, University of Oxford, Senior Lecturer in International Relations

Ulrike Franke, Policy Fellow, ECFR, Berlin

Tomáš Valášek, Director, Carnegie Europe, Brussels

Vivian Loonela, Member of Cabinet of Vice-President Andrus Ansip (responsible for Digital Single Market), European Commission


Moderated by: Jill Dougherty, Global Fellow, Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center


Ukraine: Proxy War of the New Cold War?

Kurt Volker, Executive Director of the McCain Institute, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations

Anna Arutunyan, Senior Analyst, International Crisis Group, Russia

James Sherr, Associate Fellow, Chatham House

Hanna Hopko, Chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Ukrainian Parliament


Moderated by: Quentin Peel, Associate Fellow, Chatham House

Sunday, June 03
09:00-10:00 Breakfast sessions
Chatham House Rule


Somewhere in the Arctic: Security Challenges in the High North

Pavel Baev, Research Professor, PRIO, Norway

Robert Huebert, Associate Professor, University of Calgary, Canada

Caroline Kennedy-Pipe, Professor of International Security, University of Loughborough, UK

Niklas Granholm, Deputy Director of Studies, Swedish Defence Research Agency


Moderated by: Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Senior Research Fellow, Finnish Institute of International Affairs


Sea-Blind and Air-Blind?: Does Baltic Defence need Re-calibration?

Alexander Vershbow, US Ambassador (retired), Distinguished Fellow, The Atlantic Council of the United States

Sir Chris Harper, Air Marshal, CH4C Global Ltd, UK

Jonatan Vseviov, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Estonia

Andrew Michta, Dean, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Germany


Moderated by: Sven Sakkov, Director of the ICDS, Estonia    


The Western Balkans and the EU: Compromising Values for Security?

Daniel Mitov, Director Eurasia, NDI, Former Foreign Minister of Bulgaria

Jelena Milic, Director of the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Studies, Serbia

Matti Maasikas, Undersecretary for European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Estonia

François Lafond, Special Adviser to Deputy Prime Minister of European Affairs, Government of Macedonia


Moderated by: Isabelle Lasserre, International Affairs Editor, Le Figaro


Nord Stream 2: Piping Hot Politics?

Mikhail Korchemkin, Founder and Executive Director of East European Gas Analysis

Brenda Shaffer, Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council

Jean-Arnold Vinois, Advisor of European Energy Policy, Jacque Delors Institute

Benjamin L. Schmitt, European Energy Security Advisor, Bureau of Energy Resources, U.S. Department of State


Moderated by: Damien McGuinness, BBC, Berlin Correspondent

10:15-11:45 Panel discussion
China’s Game in Europe: What Rules, What Stakes?

China’s foreign direct investments have been growing fast globally. Many Chinese investors have looked for more than a decade for opportunities to buy European assets. Their investments may have helped Eurozone countries ride out the 2008 financial crisis, but are likely to have broader consequences in the medium- to long-term – Chinese investments are state led and China uses investments in infrastructure and public utilities to create political leverage. At the same time, China maintains very significant barriers to foreign investors aiming to access its markets. How much investment is safe for good relations? How will European leaders deal with a massive influx of cheap Chinese money? Would the EU and the US win by cooperating against Chinese expansion?


Maria Martin-Prat, Director in the European Commission Directorate General for Trade where she is responsible for Services, Investment, Intellectual Property and Public Procurement

Roland Freudenstein, Policy Director, Marten’s Centre, Brussels

Jerker Hellström, Head of the Asia and Middle East Programme, Division of Defence Analysis, Swedish Defence Research Agency

Alan Riley, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council, UK


Moderated by: Theresa Fallon, Director, Center for Russia, Europe, Asia Studies, Brussels



12:15-13.45 Panel discussion
The UN: Fit for Purpose?

The UN was born in 1945 from a desperate need to prevent the horrors of the Second World War ever recurring. Almost eight decades later, while global-scale conflict has been avoided, the world is still not a safe place. New crises continue to emerge and unforeseen security challenges, forms of warfare and battlegrounds challenge the peace. Yet the UN is largely unchanged. Is the Security Council fit to deal with questions such as international law in cyberspace, hybrid warfare and fake news? Can the UN reconcile the interests of its small and large member states? Is this organisation fit for purpose and, if not, what might the alternatives be?

Sven Mikser, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Estonia

Espen Barth Eide, Member of the Parliament, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway

Lamberto Zannier, The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities

Nathalie Goulet, Member of the French Senate


Moderated by: Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia

13:45-14:00 Final words
14:00 Farewell lunch