A discussion with experts from IERI and IMEMO RAS took place in Belgium as part of the "Points of Contact

On the eve of Diplomat’s Day, the Russian Centre in Brussels hosted a discussion on "The Challenges of Diplomacy in the 21st Century" as part of the "Connecting Point" project on 4 February. The experts were Irnerio SEMINATORE, President of the European Institute of International Relations in Brussels - IERI, and Sergey UTKIN, Head of the Strategic Assessments Group, Leading Researcher at the Situation Analysis Center at the E.M. Primakov Institute of International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The discussion platform was opened by Vera BUNINA, Director of the Russian Centre. In her speech she spoke about the origins of the professional holiday of diplomats and outlined the main milestones in the history of Russian diplomacy. The Day of Diplomats, which has been celebrated in our country since February 10, 2002 under the Decree of the President, "witnesses to the high recognition of the diplomat profession". Vera Bunina reminded that the Russian diplomatic school is world famous, MGIMO and the Russian Diplomatic Academy graduated many excellent diplomats, acting ministers and presidents of foreign states. 

The experts talked about international systems and the function of diplomacy, the digitalization of international relations, what new areas diplomats should master, when to open a TikTok account and develop knowledge of the climate agenda and sustainable development, how to survive in the era of digital wars, the existence of "public diplomacy", Greta Thunberg, Josep Borrell's visit to Russia, and much more.

Irnerio Seminatore gave an overview of the development of diplomacy in the context of international relations and national interests. Speaking about the relationship between diplomacy and politics, he reminded that "a good diplomat is one who helps to make a political decision, and a politician makes it".

You can read I. Seminatore's report below.

Sergey UTKIN presented new challenges facing diplomacy: the digitalization of life, the need for new competences from diplomats, the "transparency" of the diplomatic environment and access to data, the changing role of heads of state, who are becoming "foreign ministers" themselves, based on their active international agenda, the increasing number of international negotiations and summits. Sergey Utkin stressed that "the world is changing, but diplomacy is adapting to these changes".

Looking into the future of Russian-European relations, Irnerio Seminatore concluded by saying that Europe and all the independent countries of Western Europe are interested in realizing the strategic autonomy, political independence of the continent, which is possible with the involvement of Russia in these processes.

Vera Bunina thanked for a very interesting discussion and the involvement of the audience. She paraphrased the words of the patron of Russian diplomacy, Prince Alexander Nevsky, whose 800th anniversary we celebrate in 2021: "Not in force diplomacy, but in truth" and wished success to all in their work, once again congratulated all concerned with the forthcoming professional holiday.

The topic chosen proved to be very popular and attracted a large number of participants, with a large number of participants from Belgium and other European countries joining the event. An important innovation of the meeting was the availability of simultaneous interpretation. The Russian Centre's events are now even more accessible. 

To see how it went, please watch on the website of the Russian Centre. We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming events of the Centre.

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