May Lennart Meri conference looks to future policy making

The 2019 Lennart Meri Conference is taking place May 17-19, 2019.
The 2019 Lennart Meri Conference is taking place May 17-19, 2019. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

This year's Lennart Meri conference takes place in Tallinn on 17-19 May, focussing on foreign, defence and security policy and assembling key players from the world of politics, policy making, research, academia and more.

Organised jointly, by the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS) and the Lennart Meri European Foundation, the 2019 event is the 13th of its kind and includes internationally noteworthy speakers from Estonia and beyond, according to an ICDS press release.

The venue of the invite-only conference is the same as last year, the Radisson Blu Sky Hotel in central Tallinn.

Lennart Meri, the first president of Estonia after the restoration of independence in 1991, would have been 90 this year, and the conference title references one of his many quotes, namely "One Past, Many Futures". The various conference panels will similarly be named after other Meri-isms, it is reported.

The roster of speakers firmed up at the time of writing includes:

  • President of Estonia, Kersti Kaljulaid, 
  • Former President of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves,
  • President of Georgia, Salome Zurabishvili,
  • German Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen,
  • Slovak Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miroslav Lajčák,
  • Head of the Levada Centre, Alexey Levinson,
  • Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, and former Finnish Prime Minister, Alexander Stubb,
  • Founder of the Boris Nemstov Foundation for Freedom and Mr Nemstov's daughter, Zhanna Nemstova, and others.

Conference director Eeva Eek-Pajusta noted a focus on the newer generation of policy-makers.

"Young thinkers of today will be shaping policy in 10-15 years, their values, attitudes and beliefs are developing now. It is wise to listen to them in order to grasp the new trends taking shape in the society", Ms Eek-Pajuste said.

The timing of the conference, a week before the EU parliamentary elections, the rise of populist parties in Europe, the 70th anniversary of the founding of NATO and the continued backdrop of cyber-space, all serve to give the conference extra focus.

For more information and any subsequent updates, see the conference website, which should also carry live streams of panel discussions on the day(s), here.

Media accreditation can be obtained here, giving access to public panel discussions; the deadline is 6 May.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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