On Friday, May 12th, Tallinn will host the 16th Lennart Meri Conference, where renowned experts in foreign and security policy will gather to discuss how the war in Ukraine has impacted the global balance of power.
The title of this year’s conference, “Incipit Vita Nova – So Begins New Life”, is a quote from the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. In the context of the conference, it refers to the new security situation emerging due to the war in Europe. “Russian aggression has thrown Europe back to the times we thought had ended after the Second World War,” said Eeva Eek-Pajuste, the Director of the Conference. “At the end of the Cold War, we prematurely thought the empire would crumble without much bloodshed. We are now witnessing the collapse of Europe’s last colonial power; it is brutal, bloody and revanchist. This is how the ‘Collective West’ sees it.” She added that this fairly unanimous understanding of the Russian aggression by these countries may not be self-evident in the Global South. “The war has torn open the wounds of the colonial past in the South, and Europe is hearing accusations of hypocrisy and indifference. Their validity can be debated, but the need for deeper dialogue and better mutual understanding is obvious, and the Lennart Meri Conference offers a platform for that.”
Lennart Meri once said: “Politics is a factory producing the future.” The quality of the produce and the world we will live in depends on us.
Among the speakers at the conference is Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who will speak at the opening session with Latvian Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, Executive Vice President of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager and historian Timothy Garton Ash. Constanze Stelzenmüller, Director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution will moderate the discussion. Among the guests at the conference are General Christopher G Cavoli, Commander of the US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Lieutenant General Karel Řehka, Chief of Defence of the Czech Republic, sociologist Greg Yudin, Russian expert Fiona Hill, Kenya President Advisor Monica Juma, Finnish MP Elina Valtonen, Akiko Fukushima, Senior Fellow at the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, Thomas Bagger, Ambassador of Germany in Poland, and many others.
In addition to the general political situation in the world, the topics include restrictions on freedom of the press, energy supply, secure connections, hybrid threats and issues in specific regions such as the Middle East and North Africa, South Caucasus and the Black Sea region.
The Lennart Meri Conference will take place from 12 to 14 May at the Radisson Collection Hotel in Tallinn, and the working language will be English. Only invited guests will be able to enter the conference area, but public discussions will be live streamed on the conference website at https://lmc.icds.ee/livestream/.
The patron of the conference is President Alar Karis.
For more information about the conference, including the speaker lineup and event schedule, please visit the official website at https://lmc.icds.ee/. The opening and closing sessions and the Lennart Meri Lecture will have written English translation.
The Lennart Meri Conference is organised by the International Centre for Defence and Security in cooperation with the Lennart Meri European Foundation. The 2023 conference is supported by the Estonian Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government Office, NATO Public Diplomacy Division, the National Endowment for Democracy, Open Society Foundation, Swedbank, Jaan Tõnisson Postimees Foundation, Baltic-American Freedom Foundation, the US Embassy in Estonia, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the City of Tallinn, European Commission Representation in Estonia, BLRT Group, Infortar, Milrem Robotics, Tallinn Airport, Hyundai Estonia, Iris Janvier and Tohi Distillery. The research partner for the event is Elering.