On September 7-8, 2015, The McCain Institute for International Leadership, in partnership with the Economic Policy Research Center, will host a major international conference in Tbilisi, Georgia: Europe’s New Geopolitical Landscape: Security, Economic Opportunity, Freedom and Human Dignity for The Frontline States. The two-day conference will take place at the Tbilisi Rooms Hotel (Rooms Garden).
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The Tbilisi International Conference will provide a unique platform to bring together experienced political and security leaders from the United States, Europe, Georgia and the wider Euro-Atlantic community to discuss the vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace, the challenges facing Europe’s eastern nations and strategies to move forward.
The McCain Institute for International Leadership will be represented by Executive Director Ambassador Kurt Volker and Senior Director for Democracy and Human Rights David J. Kramer.
The President and the Prime Minister of Georgia, along with other senior officials and members of the opposition, will take part. Experienced politicians, diplomats, academicians and experts from the United States, Western Europe, and Central Europe will participate in the conference and contribute their own perspectives to the discussion.
Confirmed speakers include:
• Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili;
• Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili;
• Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili;
• Minister of Defense Tinatin Khidasheli.
• Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius;
• U.S. Army Europe Commander LTG Ben Hodges;
• former EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule;
• Deputy Foreign Minister of Latvia Andrejs Pildegovics;
• former UK Ambassador to Latvia Ian Bond;
• former Diplomatic Advisor to the Italian President Ambassador Stefano Stefanini;
• former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights David Kramer;
• former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker; and
• Russian renowned Russian democracy scholar Lilia Shevtsova.
After the end of the Cold War, a new European security architecture was built on an inclusive vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace. In documents such as the Charter of Paris, the Budapest Memorandum, the NATO-Russia Founding Act, the CFE Treaty, European nations including Russia agreed to a series of principles including support for democracy and human rights, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all European states, refraining from the threat or use of force, and the right of all states to determine their own security orientation.
Twenty-five years later, this European architecture has been severely damaged, and for many in Europe’s east, the realization of a Europe whole, free and at peace seems more remote than ever. Russia has invaded Georgia and Ukraine, and still occupies parts of those nations, as well as Moldova. It has annexed Crimea and recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, marking the first changing of European borders by force since World War II.
Likewise, the commitment of Western nations to the successful processes of EU and NATO enlargement – which have been critical to the security and prosperity of Central European states – has diminished. Within many EU nations, far-right and far-left political forces challenge many of the pillars of post-Cold-War European integration.
The 2015 Tbilisi International Conference is an effort to discuss these growing challenges, and to put forward concrete proposals for renewing progress toward the vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace. By bringing together political leaders and experts from Georgia with prominent American and European thinkers and policy practitioners, the conference will create an opportunity for sharing diverse perceptions on the shifting security, economic and political landscape of Europe. The Conference will also publish a recommended plan of action to support emerging democracies in moving closer to the transatlantic institutions and to secure a peaceful and prosperous future based on the values of freedom and human dignity.
This two-day conference is supported by the Open Society Georgia Foundation and the Embassies of the United States and the United Kingdom to Georgia. For press inquiries and additional information, contact Nino Evgenidze at [email protected]