Lennart Meri Conference 2024 to kick off Thursday

  • 2024-05-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - This year's Lennart Meri Conference, titled "Let us not despair, but act", will start in Tallinn on Thursday, bringing foreign and defense policy experts together to discuss how to move forward in the current era of complex global politics while standing up for one's values and security.

"This year's conference takes place at an interesting and difficult time in terms of foreign policy," conference director Helga Kalm said. "More than two years have passed since the start of Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine. Tensions are rising in the Middle East and the Caucasus, and the situation in Asia remains tense. Pandemics and wars have created uncertainty for many people around the world."

According to Kalm, in the context of continuous conflicts, war fatigue and unwillingness to intervene in problems in other parts of the world may prevail.

"However, the terrible war in Ukraine has made us work harder and given impetus to the development of both the European Union and NATO. This war is too important from the point of view of European security and the current world order for us to allow ourselves to get tired. I am glad that at the Lennart Meri Conference there are so many people who care about European security and who are ready to think about new solutions that would help us win," she added.

The opening discussion of the conference, titled "Brave new world -- building a stronger Europe?" and taking place at 5 p.m. on Thursday, will feature the event's patron Estonian President Alar Karis, Icelandic President Gudni Thorlacius Johannesson, Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova and analyst Michal Baranowski. The moderator is Financial Times journalist Henry Foy.

The conference will conclude with the panel discussion "Keeping up support to Ukraine -- defining as long as it takes?", which will take place at noon on Saturday and include Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, Albanian Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Igli Hasani, Observer Research Foundation president Samir Saran and historian Timothy Snyder. The moderator is CNN journalist Jim Sciutto.

Other speakers of the 17th Lennart Meri Conference include Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur, Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson, Japan's Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary and Deputy National Security Adviser Keiichi Ichikawa, Kazakhstan's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Roman Vassilenko, speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech parliament Marketa Pekarova Adamova, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Estonian parliament Marko Mihkelson, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations Ulrike Franke, former US permanent representative to NATO Ivo Daalder and many others. The full list of speakers is available on the website https://lmc.icds.ee/conference-2024/speakers

Other topics to be discussed at the conference include the Middle East conflict, the state of the world economy and the future of the European Union and NATO. Russian and Belarusian opposition, threats of conflict in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, the future of the Caucasus, and information warfare and influence on elections will also be discussed.

The Lennart Meri Conference taking place from May 16 to 18 at Radisson Collection Hotel in Tallinn is an invitation only event. The conference language is English. Discussions can be followed live on the website https://lmc.icds.ee/livestream/.

The Lennart Meri Conference is organized by the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) in conjunction with the Lennart Meri Foundation. The organization of the 2024 conference is also supported by the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government Office, DefSecIntel, NATO, National Endowment for Democracy, Open Society Foundations, Swedbank, the Jaan Tonisson Postimees Fund, the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation, the US embassy in Estonia, the Konrad Adenauer Fund, AS Infortar, the City of Tallinn, the European Commission representation in Estonia, BLRT Grupp, Milrem Robotics, Tallinn Airport, Hyundai Estonia, GoBus and Tohi Distillery. The research partner of the conference is Elering.