XX Anniversary PIR Center International School on Global Security finished in Zvenigorod


ZVENIGOROD, NOVEMBER 6, 2020. PIR-PRESS. “The International School of PIR-Center is distinguished by its high-quality events as well by its thought out approach to the educational program. The fact that the School was held outside Moscow significantly helped us to get to know each other better and become a strong team. Moreover, since the participants are working and studying in different places, the School could considerably improve the efficiency of interagency interaction” ‒ participant of the International School, Master’s graduate of the Faculty of International Relations, MGIMO University, Darya Pakhomova.  

On September 26 - October 4, 2020, the XX Anniversary PIR Center International School on Global Security was held in Zvenigorod.

Twenty-three participants, three of whom joined the School remotely, attended the event. They were representatives of diplomatic and military departments, research organizations, and universities of Kazakhstan, Russia, and Montenegro. 

The students of the School studied several thematic blocks dedicated to key issues of Russian foreign policy and international relations, nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, peaceful nuclear energy, the development of information security, and the future of security in Eurasia. The program consisted of lectures, seminars, thematic master classes and business cases, foresight sessions, excursions, meetings with Russian and foreign diplomats.

Dmitry Nilov, head of the MGIMO Debate Club, opened the School with a master class on the art of debate held. He shared with the participants his professional knowledge of conducting a successful debate, effective communication strategies, and tactics of negotiation.

The discussion between Professor of the Department of Integrated Communications at the Higher School of Economics Dmitry Evstafiev and Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council Andrey Kortunov on the topic "What should be Russia's foreign policy in the era of strategic instability?" was of special interest for the participants.

Within the framework of a special seminar, the School participants discussed the issues of BRICS expansion with PIR-Center's Coordinator of the “Nuclear Nonproliferation & Russia” Program Sergey Semenov, who presented an advance version of the PIR-Center's report, which compares Argentina, Mexico, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, and Indonesia as a potential sixth member of the organization.

The first Timerbaev debates on the topic "Will the world be more secure without nuclear weapons?" took place during the School. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Viktor Slipchenko, who personally knew Roland M. Timerbaev, took part in the debates as an expert, and Vladislav Chernavskikh, MGIMO-MIIS-PIR Dual Degree Master Program “WMD Nonproliferation, Nuclear Policy and Global Security” graduate, took on the role of mentor of the debating teams.

For the first time, a meeting of the International Club Trialog was held during the International School. It was dedicated to the following topic: “National interests and foreign policy of Russia”. The main report was delivered by Oleg Stepanov, Director of the Foreign Policy Planning Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Within the framework of the block on peaceful nuclear energy, Vladimir Artisyuk, Advisor to the General Director of State Corporation Rosatom, shared his experience with the participants. Then, during his speech on the topic “The Future of the World Nuclear Energy: Commerce and International Politics,” General Director of JSC “International Uranium Enrichment Center” Gleb Efremov suggested the students of the School to solve a business case - calculate the cost of the enriched uranium taking into account the price dynamics of the past six months.

Vladimir Orlov, Founder and Director of the PIR-Center, Head of the Center for Global Studies and International Organizations of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, held a lecture on the international regimes for the nonproliferation of WMD and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the current state and challenges to the nuclear nonproliferation regime. A lecture on topical issues of chemical and biological threats was delivered by Vladimir Ladanov, Head of the South Pacific Division of the Third Asia Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

As part of the block on digital transformation and cybersecurity, a member of the PIR-Center's Advisory board, Mikhail Yakushev, delivered two lectures on digital transformation and identification problems on the Internet. Elena Chernenko, Deputy Head of the Foreign Policy Department of the “Kommersant” newspaper, discussed with the students of the School the issue of responsible behavior in cyberspace.

Speaking about arms control, Vadim Kozyulin, Director of the PIR Center's Emerging Technologies and Global Security Program, gave a lecture on new technologies in the military: the development of artificial intelligence, robots, hypersonic weapons, and deadly autonomous systems. Additionally, Evgeny Buzhinsky, Chairman of the PIR Center Executive Board, lectured on the current issues of arms control.

As part of the module on regional security, Vitaly Naumkin, Scientific Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, spoke about the current situation in the Middle East, and Ivan Safranchuk, a Leading Researcher at the Center for the Study of Central Asia and Afghanistan, MGIMO-University, discussed with the participants security issues in Central Asia and its neighbouring territories. Ekaterina Stepanova, a leading researcher at IMEMO RAN, told the participants about the main trends in the conduct of armed conflicts. The delegation of the Embassy of the Swiss Confederation in Russia represented by Deputy Ambassador Tobias Privitelli and Defense Attaché Bruno Russi presented their special view of the geopolitical situation in Eurasia.

Sergey Ryabkov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, also met with the participants of the School. He made a presentation on the topic "The future of global security: challenges for Russia and the world" and actively discussed with the audience the current state of international affairs.

On the closing days of the School, under the leadership of PIR Center Executive Board Member Dmitry Polikanov, the participants discussed the future of security in Eurasia in the format of extended foresight sessions, which included interactive games and general discussions. Then the participants were divided into four thematic groups and within two days developed their own projects.

Several experts were invited to supervise the working groups and give a professional assessment of the ideas of the participants: Andrey Baklitskiy, PIR Center Consultant, Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Euro-Atlantic Security at the MGIMO University, Vadim Kozyulin, Director of the PIR Center's Emerging Technologies and Global Security Program, Alexey Ubeev, PIR Center Advisory Board Member, and PIR Center Consultant Oleg Shakirov.

During the final foresight session, which was held in a round table format, the students of the School presented their group projects, as well as a general foresight map, taking into account the forecasts proposed by four groups after two days of work.

“For me, the main distinguishing feature of the School is face-to-face communication with experts and the opportunity to hear their opinions on various aspects of security,” said Ilya Storchilov, a graduate of the School, student of Master's program “Strategic Studies”, Faculty of International Relations, St. Petersburg State University.

Elena Karnaukhova, postgraduate student of MSU, Daria Pakhomova, a graduate student of MGIMO University, and attaché of the Department of European Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Victoria Silaeva gained the highest number of points during the School. The School ended with an informal reception and an alumni meeting of various PIR Center programs and projects.

“First of all, I would like to express my warmest thanks to the organizers for the opportunity to take part in this wonderful event. I believe that in this rapidly changing world such platforms are of major significance as here you can exchange opinions, listen to the ideas and opinions of experts and graduates of the School. I wish all the graduates good luck and all the best”, ‒ participant of the School, Head of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan Asylkhan Kosdauletov.

Intensive classes were balanced by a rich and extensive cultural program. The participants visited a unique monument of Russian culture the Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery. In addition, an excursion to the Park “Patriot” was organized, where the School participants visited the Main Temple of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the “Memory Road” museum complex. According to school participant Nikita Degtyarev, the park is a very special and patriotic place, and all of its symbols remind of the Great Patriotic War and of heroes who sacrificed their lives for their homeland. On the last day of the School, students visited the Central Museum of the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.

The XX Anniversary International School on Global Security was organized with the support of the Presidential Grants Fund, the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund, and "Russkiy Mir" Foundation.

Information about the School, participants and lecturers, program and partners is available on the PIR Center website.

All questions about the School could be addressed to the Director of Educational Program Yulia Sych: [email protected] or +7 (499) 940 09 83.