As you keep your eyes open
Powers the intellect, powers the soul,
Having no fear of depth to be trodden,
Treating your country as part of the Whole.
Poem by Irena Pavliuk
My Neighbour’s Problem Today –
Participation: invitation only
The 14th Lennart Meri Conference (LMC) was initially planned for May 2020 and then for May 14-16, 2021 in Tallinn, Estonia. We have been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and considering whether and how it would be possible to welcome our guests without risk to their health. Unfortunately, now we have reached the conclusion that we need to postpone the conference again.
The new dates of the LMC 2021 are September 3-5.
We are planning a physical event, although there may be some virtual elements. We will, of course, take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of participants.
The title of the conference was inspired by a saying of the poet, Horace – Nam tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet (You too are in danger, when your neighbour’s house is on fire).
The risks of isolationism were well understood in ancient Rome, but 2100 years later, its benefits and drawbacks are still debated. The urge to isolate in a small capsule—be that a nation, country, religion, or ideology—and to try to ignore the approaching fires outside, is more widespread than was perhaps expected in the more optimistic times when the Berlin Wall fell. COVID-19 has demonstrated that we tend to act instinctively, and not necessarily rationally, when facing a crisis.
The LMC 2021 title is thus even more relevant today than it was in 2020. The past year has highlighted that the boundaries between global, regional, and local issues are increasingly blurred and such distinctions are ever more artificial. It has also shown the need to broaden the definition of security, and the vital importance of cooperation and coordination. Although in our discussions we will aim to preserve the conference’s traditional exploration of the perspectives of individual actors, we will also enquire into the depth of their interdependence.
Estonia is contributing to fighting fires across the world in many fora, including NATO, the EU, and the UN Security Council, where Estonia has taken a seat in 2020. The LMC 2021 will thus debate subjects of utmost importance to the global security architecture, such as:
- the need to redefine and recalculate threats and risks, and to renew the principles of cooperation and management in the wider security domain;
- the fragile state of democracy and the rule of law;
- climate challenges and the search for new sustainable energy solutions;
- the role of the US in international relations;
- the EU27 amid unexpected crises;
- the future of NATO and the health of the transatlantic relationship;
- China’s growing aspirations and the possible ways to address them;
- the ever growing impact of the digital universe on politics and security;
- the aftermath of Brexit;
- the situation in the Middle East;
- the latest developments in Belarus, Ukraine and the Western Balkans;
- the means to avoid a new arms race;
- and, last but by no means least, Russia’s interests from Central Asia to the Arctic.
All these issues touch directly on our region.
About the Lennart Meri Conference
“We can never have too much security,” said President Lennart Meri. To mark his continuing legacy in foreign and security policy thinking, the annual Lennart Meri Conference aims to encourage curiosity and debate, highlight unity and diversity, and foster liberty and democracy.
The LMC was conceived in 2007 to ensure that Estonia continues to be seen as a country willing and able to play a proper part in the identification of solutions to Europe’s problems. It has since developed to become the one of the most prominent security policy conferences in the region. The President of Estonia, Ms Kersti Kaljulaid, is the patron of the conference and an active participant.
The LMC assembles distinguished policymakers, analysts, politicians, military personnel and academia from around the globe. In previous years, more than 100 speakers have participated in more than 20 panels and breakout sessions during the three days of the conference.
The breakout sessions have been held under the Chatham House Rule, while the main panels have been live streamed and on-the-record, to enable more people to take part. The total number of in-person participants has not exceeded 500, which experience has shown to be an optimal number to encourage the free, open, and intimate atmosphere for which the conference is best known.
The LMC starts on Friday evening with an opening session, followed by an invitation-only dinner hosted by the President, and concluding with a ’night owl’ session. The event continues on Saturday, with a two-hour break in the afternoon during which we offer participants the opportunity to take part in various side events and excursions. The LMC concludes on Sunday with a farewell lunch.
Curious about what to expect? Click here to read about the Lennart Meri Conference 2019, view photos and quotes, short video interviews, etc.
More detailed information and the programme will be published shortly before the conference.
Four caricatures from an exhibition created by Rein Pakk and Rainer Sarnet exclusively for the Lennart Meri Conference 2019. Lennart Meri (1929-2006) was a leader armed with a number of weapons, humour being one of them, at times the sharpest and most powerful. In this exhibition you will find many of Meri’s famous quotes put into a present-day context.