Second Joint Conference of MGIMO University and The Fletcher School

On May 21-25, 2018, an American delegation headed by  Steven Block, Academic Dean of  The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and Diana Chigas, Senior International Officer and Associate Provost of  Tufts University, visited MGIMO University.

The visit took place in the framework of a larger partnership program, which the two institutions are implementing with the support of the Carnegie Corporation of  New York. The Fletcher School is the oldest center for the study of international relations in the United States and one of the most authoritative in the world. During the 2017-2018 academic year, two video-linked courses were organized between MGIMO and The Fletcher School. In November 2017, the first conference between MGIMO and The Fletcher School on Russia-U.S. relations took place in Boston. In March 2018, an educational module was held at MGIMO, during which students from two schools prepared team reports on security issues related to information and communication technologies as well as on the Korean nuclear issue. In April 2018, Professor Alan Henrikson of The Fletcher School, a well-known expert in diplomacy and international negotiations, gave a series of  lectures at MGIMO.

The May visit concluded a series of joint events in the current academic year. During the latest visit to MGIMO, Professors Daniel Drezner, Joel Trachtman and Diana Chigas of The Fletcher School delivered three short courses to MGIMO students. In addition, a series of meetings with faculty representatives, events at partner organizations, and an extensive cultural program were organized for the members of the American delegation.

The main event during their stay in Moscow was the second joint conference on Russia-U.S. relations, which was held on May 24. The objective of  the discussion was to consider ways to improve relations between our two countries or at least to reduce tensions. The organizing committee for the event was headed by Andrey Baykov, Vice-President for Graduate and International Programs at MGIMO, and Professor Daniel Drezner of The Fletcher School. At their invitation, leading experts from Russia and the United States on international relations, jurisprudence, history, and economics took part in the conference.

During the opening ceremony of the conference, Georgy Borisenko, Director of  the Department of North America at the Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Thomas Leary, Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, delivered speeches.

The range of issues touched upon during the conference included nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, combating terrorism and non-state threats, management of common spaces, and the development of integration processes in Eurasia. Separate sections were devoted to differences between Russian and American approaches to the interpretation of international law as well as the value of relations between the two states. During the final discussion, participants tried to understand the prospects for limiting inter-state competition in the modern world.

The conference, as well as other events within the framework of the partnership program between MGIMO and The Fletcher School, made it possible to clarify the range and depth of contradictions between the parties. At the same time, it also contributed to deepening mutual understanding and further development of joint research. The discussions among representatives of the expert community were built on the basis of mutual respect and a sincere desire to better understand  position of their counterparts. There features are often lacking in the official dialogue between the two countries.

This piece was translated and republished from the MGIMO website.

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