A meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Gorchakov Fund took place in Moscow

27 March 2019

On March 27, a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund was held in Moscow.

The meeting was opened by Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov, who said the following:

“Mr. Drachevsky,

Members of the Board of Trustees,

Colleagues,

We are holding a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund.

We have a packed agenda today; we need to review the previous year’s performance and outline our plans for the future.

We know that there is no need to go over and over how important it is to support public diplomacy, and contact between NGOs, and the academic and expert communities. Of course, the efforts that are being made in this area play an important role in maintaining trust and mutual understanding between nations, between civil societies. This is especially important when international tension is not subsiding, but continues to grow, primarily due to our American colleagues’ and their close allies’ persistent effort to impose their unilateral approaches, which grossly trample over international law, on everyone and everywhere.

The Gorchakov Fund is very active; its activities are recognisable not only in the Russian Federation, but also abroad. It can be noted with satisfaction that over the past years, the Fund has accumulated considerable experience in international cooperation, established strong stable partnerships with representatives from both domestic and foreign non-government circles.

I would especially note the Fund’s efforts to provide expert support for integration in the post-Soviet space, as well as to strengthen cooperation in BRICS and the SCO, and to increase humanitarian cooperation between Russia and many European countries. The projects it supports, such as the international youth forum Prospects for the Development of Youth Organisations in the EAEU, School of Economic Diplomacy for the Development of Eurasian Integration, and the School of BRICS international research and educational programme, deserve high appreciation.

Today, when relations between Russia and the European Union are experiencing hard times, to put it mildly, working with civil societies in Europe remains fully relevant. We can see that the Potsdam Meetings that have become an annual event are gaining wide recognition. The Russian-Slovak Dialogue has also proven effective.

It is important that the Fund does not stop at what has been achieved, but extends its work to more projects. Last year, Russian-Romanian expert meetings were held jointly with the Nicolae Titulescu European Foundation, a Romanian NGO, which I hope will also become a regular event. For the first time, the Russian-German-Polish Trialogue was organised in Kazan with the involvement of the German-Russian Youth Parliament Alumni Association. International youth media schools – an innovative format that brings together young journalists and bloggers – are also gaining popularity. These events, in particular, have been held in Kazan and Kaliningrad.

The Fund’s focus remains on interaction with youth. I have listed a number of related youth events. In addition, there are international contests for research and analytical works on Middle East issues and European security. Student organisations in Russia and North Korea have exchanged visits. Educational programmes for the younger generation have been implemented, such as Dialogue for the Future, the International Youth Diplomatic Seminar, the Central Asia School, and the Balkan Dialogue.

The Russian View and Expert Mobility projects have been expanded, encouraging the participation of Russian NGO representatives in key international events and our experts’ lectures for foreign student audiences. The open lectures project, organised by the Gorchakov Fund itself, has also been ongoing.

We support the Fund’s interaction with leading foreign research centres and universities. Last year, joint events were held in Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Germany, Switzerland and other countries.

The Yevgeny Primakov Georgian-Russian Public Centre is operating in Tbilisi. I think it expedient to consider the possibility of creating similar centres in other neighbouring states.

The Gorchakov Fund’s role in the financial support of Russian and foreign NGO projects as part of the so-called grant competition is as important is ever; it is one of the main purposes for which this Fund was created.

Today we must consider a list of priority activities for 2020. You have the list of proposals prepared by the Fund; they evidently take into account modern international realities and the multi-vector foreign policy of the Russian Federation. I hope that after the discussion, we will be able to make positive decisions. We are certainly ready and interested to hear the opinions of the Board of Trustees members.

In conclusion, I would like to note that the Fund’s work would have been impossible without the support of its sponsors. We are sincerely grateful to the members of the Board of Trustees Sergey Chemezov, Alexei Mordashov, Nikolai Tokarev and Mikhail Prokhorov, who sponsored the Fund in 2018”.

Executive Director of the Gorchakov Fund Leonid Drachevsky presented a summary report about activities of the Fund in 2018. Sergey Lavrov and other members of the Board of Trustees discussed the report.



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