Day 1 (September 28th)

  • 13:00 - 14:00
  • 14:00 - 14:20
    Welcoming remarks by H.E. Mr Raimonds Vējonis , President of the Republic of Latvia 
  • 14:20 - 15:45

    After WWI countries like Austria, Czechoslovakia, Finland, and the Baltic states appeared on Europe’s map. After WWII the Baltic States disappeared from the European map, only to reappear in the 1990s following the breakup of the Soviet Union, together with countries like the Ukraine and Georgia. The security of small states has too often been threatened in the last 100 year. What are the lessons learned from Europe’s violent past and the painful experiences of states struggling for their independence? How can the sovereignty of small states be secured in a hostile environment?

    Video address by Prof. Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies at the University of Oxford University, United Kingdom

    Dr.  Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga , President of the Club de Madrid and former President of the Republic of Latvia 
    Mr Antoni Macierewicz Former Minister of National Defence, Poland 
    Moderator: Dr. Vita Matiss , Visiting Professor at the Riga Graduate School of Law, Latvia 

  • 15:45 - 16:15

    Ukraine faces two crucial elections in 2019, the presidential in March 2019 and parliamentary in late autumn 2019. The high number of undecided voters and the low ratings of all candidates makes predictions ever harder, while makes the elections very competitive. What may these elections bring to the European and Transatlantic integration? Is population still as committed to the strategic directions of the Orange revolution?


    Mr Balázs Jarábik , Non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 
    Moderator: Ms Mary Dejevsky , Columnist for The Guardian, United Kingdom
  • 16:15 - 17:45

    The founding of NATO is approaching its 70th anniversary. And in today’s political and military environment it is as relevant as it was in 1949. Enhanced Forward Presence is not only a catalyst for transforming Alliance operational effectiveness and interoperability, but also a tool to build brotherhood among soldiers. Strong solidarity among Allies is crucial, especially when responding to challenges the Alliance faces. What strategic decisions do we need to take now to ensure security in the region and a bright future for NATO?

    Mr Raimonds Bergmanis , Minister of Defense of the Republic of Latvia 
    Mr Raimundas Karoblis, Minister of Defense of the Republic of Lithuania 
    Lt.Gen (Ret.) Frederick Benjamin Hodges , Pershing Chair, CEPA and Partner, Berlin Global Advisors, United States 

    Prof. Dr Julian Lindley-French, Senior Fellow, Institute for Statecraft, London; Director of Europa Analytica, Netherlands; Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at National Defense University, Washington DC and Fellow at Canadian Global Affairs Institute
    Moderator: Dr. Claudia Major, International Security Senior Associate, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Germany 

  • 17:45 - 18:15

    While Trump’s request for all NATO member states to bring their defence spending to at least to 2% seems reasonable, his rhetoric and awkward relationship with Putin leaves many in Europe worried. With the rise of populism across the US and Europe are transatlantic relations as we knew them since NATO was founded still relevant? 

    Dr. Stefanie von Hlatky , associate professor of political studies at Queen’s University and the fellow of the Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy, Canada
    Mr Eric Povel , Program Officer, NATO Public Diplomacy Division
    Moderator: Mr Mārtiņš Hiršs , Researcher at the Centre for Security and Strategic Research, Latvia
  • 18:15 - 19:45

    Domestic consumer spending has been the main driver of EU economic recovery from 2013 until 2017. Economic growth is expected to continue in 2018 at a much slower rate. Policymakers should use the momentum of a favourable economic environment to enable future growth and push for needed reforms. However, European economic prospects are challenged by risks related to uncertain outcomes of the Brexit negotiations, the rise of protectionist policies, and global geopolitical tensions. On other hand many experts believe that the EU will have more bargaining power in free-trade talks with third countries, as the US might no longer be considered a first choice partner. What are the economic prospects for the EU and also for the United States?

    Mr Valdis Dombrovskis , Vice – President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, also in charge of Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union 
    Ms Dana Reizniece-Ozola , Minister of Finance of the Republic of Latvia 
    Mr Christian Whiton , Senior Vice President at Banner Public Affairs, United States of America
    Prof. Dr. Michael Eilfort, Director of the Market Economy Foundation
    Moderator: Ms Jill Dougherty , Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Affairs Council, United States 

  • 19:45 - 21:15OPENING DINNER
  • 19:45 - 20:30

    Is there a reason to think that traditional concept of state as we know it is to change? The decisions and political ideas that now travel far beyond the borders as we know them and based on digital technologies can (and do so) group people not based on geography, but rather around the shared idea, interest or values. Will we see the emergence of a new concept of a state that is no longer bound by borders, but rather ideas, values, and social contract – all fully digital? Can your group on your favourite social media account become your like-minded fellow citizens? Will this space still be a democracy of a kind?It is time to revisit the traditional concept of the nation state. Given the unprecedented speed and intensity of digital networks, political decisions and ideas can have repercussions far beyond state borders. Identity groups now form more easily around shared ideas, interests, or values, rather than being determined by geography. Will we see the emergence of a new concept of “statehood” that is no longer bounded by borders, but rather ideas, values, and social contract – all fully digital? And how will this, in turn, challenge our understanding of citizenship and democracy? 


    Mr Jānis Sārts , Director of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, Latvia
    Ms Beata Jonite , Social Media Influencer, Latvia
    Moderator: Mr Christophe Ginisty , Digital Strategist and Online Reputation Expert, Belgium
  • 21:30 - 23:00
    Sessions are held under "Chatham House Rule" and will not be broadcasted
    It is evident that a demand for change is growing in different social groups in Russia including political and business elites. There have been calls for reforms especially in the areas of economic and social welfare. Entrepreneurs require a more fertile business environment and the government has to adjust its policies to ensure the stability of the country. The narrative of Russia as a besieged fortress and the rhetoric of moral instruction is gradually losing appeal among the Russian public. It is high time for the Kremlin to change its tune. But can Russia reconcile the myth of Russia’s omnipotence with pressures arising from economic marginalization? What are the expectations of the people, and what are possible changes in Russia we might observe in the near future? What is the Kremlin’s strategy for Russia now? 

    Dr. Pavel E. Felgenhauer , Defense Analyst and Columnist in "Novaya Gazeta", Russia 
    Mr Arkady Moshes , Program Director, Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) 
    Dr. James Sherr, Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House, United Kingdom 

    Moderator: Ms Kadri Liik , Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations 

  • 21:30 - 23:00
    Sessions are held under "Chatham House Rule" and will not be broadcasted

    The metaphor of "cordon sanitaire" was coined by French Prime Minister George Clemenceau after WWI to describe a set of buffer states to contain Germany and the USSR. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a vision of “Europe Whole and Free” was implemented in the decade of historic enlargements of NATO and the European Union. Today Eastern European countries are caught in between frozen military conflicts, political dead-ends and international no-go situations. The breach of the Helsinki Final Act principles and violations of international law in the Eastern Neighbourhood cannot be accepted by the international community. The current state of affairs risks creating an area of buffer states in the Eastern Neighbourhood. What strategies and policy actions might prevent this development?


    Dr. Hanna Hopko , Head of Committee on Foreign Affairs, Parliament of Ukraine
    Mr. George Sharvashidze, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia
    Mr Tevan Poghosyan , Adviser to the President, Armenia 
    Mr Andris Pelšs , State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia 
    Mr Yauheni Preiherman , Head of Minsk Dialogue, Belarus 
    Moderator:  Mr Linas Kojala , Director of Eastern Europe Studies Center, Lithuania 
  • 21:30 - 23:00

    Sessions are held under "Chatham House Rule" and will not be broadcasted

    Trade wars are never a good idea. When a nation imposes tariffs on imports and other countries then retaliate with protectionist policies, this reduces international trade, costs jobs, slows down economic growth, and increases the prices of imported goods.  The US Administration’s initiative to impose tariffs on China or the EU will create adverse effects for consumers worldwide. It will also have negative consequences for Americans. What strategies should world-leaders follow to prevent or reverse such an economic showdown, which destabilizes global trade, and has a negative impact on economic growth and real income? 


    Mr Mitsunari Okamoto, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan 
    Dr. Roberts Zīle , Member of European Parliament, Latvia 
    Mr Mehdi Jomaa, former Prime Minister of Tunisia 
    Amb. Terry Miller, Director of Center for International Trade and Economics and Mark A. Kolokotrones Fellow in Economic Freedom, The Heritage Foundation, United States
    Moderator: Mr Steven J. Erlanger , Bureau Chief for The New York Times, Belgium 
  • 21:30 - 23:00
    Sessions are held under "Chatham House Rule" and will not be broadcasted

    Independent journalism is essential for maintaining a healthy democracy. The freedom of expression, thought, and conscience is exercised through the free press. It strengthens demands for accountability of governments and provides a pluralistic platform for public debate. But how can the fourth estate remain relevant, trusted, and strong in the era of social media, voter manipulation and fact resistance? It seems that trust in the free press is eroding, audiences inhabit increasingly polarized bubbles, and even the highest public officials refer to mainstream media as “fake news”. Does the fourth estate need a reboot? What key features should the fourth estate 2.0 have?


    Mr Ulrik Haagerup , Founder and CEO of Constructive Institute, Denmark 
    Mr Nils Muižnieks , Human Rights Activist and Political Scientist, Latvia 
    Mr Joop J. Daalmeijer , Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Free Press Unlimited,
    The Netherlands 
    Mr Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, former President of Mongolia 
    Moderator: Ms Rita Ruduša , Journalist and Editor, Latvia 

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