Dates: 23 March: Arrival & informal icebreaker

24-25 March Conference

26 March Cultural Program

Venue: Gagarin Hotel

Rationale: As global tensions rise with terrorist threats and hybrid warfare afflicting Eurasia, The Middle East and Europe and with the Russian occupation of Crimea, the Black Sea Region is once again at the epicenter of centrifugal geopolitical forces. Particularly, the stability and development of the Ukrainian region of Odesa is determinant for the proliferation of international cooperation and peace in the future.

Cross-border and existential threats resulting from transnational organized crime, corruption and strategic separatism stand to hinder constructive cooperation aimed at international development and cooperation. In order to identify the best way forward it is necessary to identify the key threats facing the region – those emanating from it as well as external situations and forces affecting its stability. Simultaneously, it is equally important to address the positive developments taking place in the region, the investments being made as well as the opportunities for economic, socio-political improvements and growth which are ready for development and will promote international cooperation, stability and peace.

For this reason, a 2-day top-level international conference in Odesa is being organized for 24&25 March with a cultural component on the 26th.

Speakers: top-level international experts

Participants: members of the diplomatic community, politicians, business council representatives and scholars

23 March – Arrival – Informal icebreaker hotel lobby 1930

24 March: Hard and Soft Power Security

0700 – 08300700 – 0830 Breakfast & Registration

0845-09100845-0910 press conference for opening speakers –moderator Tetyana Pushnova General Producer of Ukraine Today

0910-1000 – opening words

moderator- Dr. Lada Roslycky Director of Strategic Communications, Ukraine Today

0910-0915 Dr. Sergei Konoplyov – Director Harvard Black Sea Security Program

0915 –0920 Anatoly Urbansky – Chairman of the Odesa Regional Council

0920- 0940 H.E. Geoffrey Pyatt Ambassador of the United States of America

0940-1000 H. E. Yönet C. Tezel - Ambassador Turkey

after official opening (journalists exit & Chatham house rules apply)

Panel One – Geopolitical Situation in the Black Sea Region – A centrifugal security crisis? Chair: Ambassador of Turkey H.E. Yönet Can Yezel - Ambassador Turkey

1000 – 1030

An international vision for Odesa in light of Crimean annexation – Gov. Mikhail Saakashvilli

Analysis of Russian Geostrategic Policy: The Black Sea to Venezuela – Hanna Shelest, Editor-in-Chief, UA: Ukraine Analytica, Marshall Memorial Fellow'16

European Common Foreign and Security Policy & Ukraine –Lt. Col. Johan Huovinen – EU Delegation to Ukraine

Leadership in Middle East, Turkey, Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan – Amb. Frederic C Hof Resident Senior Fellow Atlantic Council Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East

1030-1100 – Q&A Moderator Dr. Olin Oedekoven, President & CEO Peregrine Leadership Institute

1100-1130 coffee break

1130-1230 Panel Two – Security Cooperation in the Black Sea Region – successes & failures

Chair: Col. (ret) Colin Martin, Deputy Head of Ops. OSCE-SMM, SSR Consultant

Lithuanian Experience of NATO membership – Vice-Minister of Defence Marijus Velička

Security Sector Reform in time of Conflict – lessons learned Philipp Fluri Deputy Director DCAF and Executive Director of DCAF Brussels

New Europe – Mediterranean to Baltic – Ihor Smeshko Ambassador-at-Large Advisor to the President of Ukraine

NATO: cooperation or disintegration? - James Sherr Chatham House

1230-1330 – Q&A Moderator Dr. Gerlinde Niehus, Head, Engagements Section, NATO HQ Public Diplomacy Division


1330 – 1430 Panel Three - Communication Messaging, Media & Reality

Chair – Dr. Lada Roslycky Director Strategic Communications Ukraine Today

1430 – 1530

An alternate view on cinema and propaganda - H.E. Gerardo Bugallo Ottone Ambassador of Spain

(Social) Media an instrument of hybrid war Peter Pomerantsev senior fellow at the Legatum Institute in London and the author of Nothing is True and Everything is Possible

Effects of Russian soft power operations in Europe – Francisco de Borja Lasheras – European Council of Foreign Relations

Alliance StratCom – on target? Dr. Gerlinde Niehus, Head, Engagements Section, NATO HQ Public Diplomacy Division

‎Head, Engagements Section, PD

1530-1600 Q&A Moderator David Kramer Senior Director for Human Rights and Democracy at the McCain Institute for International Leadership

1600-1630 coffee break

Panel Four - Separatism & War

1630-1730 Chair: General Tad Oelstrom

Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine the way forward for the OSCE – Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Mr. Alexander Hug

The new type of "frozen" (conserved) conflict, aspects observed in Ukraine, comparative with other conflicts in the Black Sea area. Vladimir Socor Jamestown Foundation

Transdniestria – Alexander Stoianoglu, ex Head of National Security Committee of Moldovan Parliament

A view from Georgia –Gela Bezhuashvili, Former Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs Georgia

1730-1800 Q&A Moderator Dr. Gerlinde Niehus, Head, Engagements Section, NATO HQ Public Diplomacy Division

2000 Dinner (hotel ) Key Note Speaker – David Kramer Senior Director for Human Rights and Democracy at the McCain Institute for International Leadership

25 March International Economic Development & Cooperation

Panel One –International Economic Development & Cooperation

0900– 1000 Chair: George Woloshyn Inspector General, FHFB (ret.) Former Director of National Preparedness USA

Deputy Minister of Finance Deputy Minister Artem Shevalyev Keynote speaker

European Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement an instrument of hope and development from Odesa’s perspective - Dr. Péter P. BALÁS 
Conseiller Hors Classe Special Adviser to the Director General DG TRADE

Agriculture Ukraine’s #1 export? – the world’s needs and Ukraine’s capacity to deliver- Pavlo Zhovnirenko Chairman of the Center for Strategic Studies, Kyiv

1000-1030 – Q&A Moderator - James Lindley Sr. Commercial officer USA

1030-1100 coffee break

Panel Two – Infrastructure

1100 – 1200 Chair: James Sherr Chatham House

Port systems and water ways – Alexandr Urbansky Member of Ukrainian Parliament

Paving the way for a more secure common future in the Danube Region: EU Danube Strategy and Ukraine Igor Studennikov Executive Dir. Center for Regional Studies, Odessa

Roads and Railways – development routes that cannot be failed – Head of Odesa Regional Railways Hryhoriy Boiko

Public-Private Partnership Development – Tetiana Iefymenko President of Academy of Financial Management

1200-1230 – Q&A Moderator Ambassador of Lithuania H.E. Marius Janukonis


1230 – 1330

Panel Three – Energy, Security and Cooperation

1330 – 1430 Chair: Dr. Sergei Konoplyov, Director Harvard Black Sea Security Program

Energy – electricity, gas, oil and new ways forward Anatoliy Urbansky Chairman of Odesa Regional Council

Pre-Danube (Bessarabia) case study – Izmail Electricity dependence through Transdniestria Andrei Abramchenko Mayor of Izmail

Investments in energy security - a strategic imperative Dr. Cornelius Granig, Partner, K-Advisors

New energy solutions to old energy problems –TBD

1400-1430 Q&A Moderator: TBD

1430-1500 coffee break

Transnational Organized Crime and Cyberspace

1530-1630 Chair: Ihor Smeshko Ambassador at Large, Advisor to the President

The power of corruption – regional perspective local problems – George Woloshyn, Inspector General, FHFB (ret.) Former Director of National Preparedness USA

The effects of the post-Soviet Political-Criminal nexus in the United Kingdom – Ben Judah, Journalist, Author of Fragile Empire: How Russia fell in and out of love with Vladimir Putin

Cyber Espionage – Operation Armageddon and others – Lucas Kello Harvard Belfer Center Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Project on Technology, Security, and Conflict in the Cyber Age

E-governance as a problem solver – successes and challenges Jordanka Tomkova, PhD Swiss E-governance Advisor E-governance for Accountability & Participation Program

1600-1630 Q&A Moderator Ambassador of Switzerland H.E. Guillaume Scheurer

2000 Dinner with Key note speaker – Ben Judah & documentary film screening

26 March – Cultural Program Organized by Odesa City Council

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