More than 200 participants - 25 delegations from Armenia, Germany, Cyprus, China, India, Slovakia, Slovenia, the USA and 10 regions of Russia gathered in Volgograd on October 31 and November 1, 2017 at the IV International Forum of Public Diplomacy "Dialogue on the Volga: Peace and Mutual Understanding in the 21st century. " Vice-President of IAPMC, Mayor of Morphou, Cyprus, Mr. Victor Hadjiavraam and Executive Secretary-General of the IAPMC, Dušan Stojanovič from Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia, have participated on behalf of the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities.

  • 9 November 2017
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The participants of the forum were welcomed by the head of Volgograd, Andrey Kosolapov, the chairman of the board of the German-Russian Forum Matthias Platzek (Germany, Berlin), the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Rostov-on-Don Artem Bobrov.

The forum started in the format of meetings between sister cities and partners of Volgograd, but today the problems discussed, and the range of its participants are much wider. I am convinced that cities can and should contribute to the consolidation of peace on earth through public diplomacy! - said Andrey Kosolapov

Matthias Platzek recalled that in the 60s of the last century the USSR and Germany also experienced a tense phase of relations, but the politicians of the countries found a way out of this situation. He expressed hope that this time as well, the search for ways out of the crisis will continue.

The first day of the Forum on October 31 continued with two consecutive podium discussions, the first of which was called "International Relations in an Age of Instability: Threats and Opportunities".

Its participants presented their vision of how to solve the main political problems, and outlined the factors that prevent Russia and its foreign partners from establishing effective cooperation in various fields. According to international experts, to ensure that world leaders succeed in establishing a dialogue, it is necessary to increase contacts at the level of municipalities. After all, people's diplomacy is based on inter-municipal cooperation. 

The moderator of the discussion platform was the head of the department of international relations, political science and regional studies of the VolSU Sergey Pankratov. From the stage, Chairman of the German-Russian Forum Mathias Platzeck, Honorary Chairman of the Board of Directors of the United Towns Association of America Bill Boerum, Chairman of the Federal Union of German Societies "West-East" Peter Franke, Head of Volgograd Andrey Kosolapov, twice Olympic Champion, member of the International Olympic Committee Elena Isinbayeva.

The topic of the second discussion is "Russia and Europe: the prospects for relations in a changing world". The moderators were the executive vice-president of the International Association "Pure cities" Sergey Paramonov and Deputy Secretary-General of the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities of the United NationsDušan Stojanovič of Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia.

Deputy Chairman of the German-Russian Forum Wilfried Bergmann, deputy of the Bundestag, leader of the Left Party Dietmar Bartch, member of the Board of Trustees of the Pan-European University in Bratislava, expert of the Valdai Discussion Club Ian Czarnogursky, president of the Volgograd Regional Branch of the All-Russian Public Foundation " Russian Peace Foundation ", honorary citizen of the city-hero of Volgograd Yuri Starovatykh.

The main issues were the issues of cultural exchange, interaction in the sphere of education, as well as the need to eat in the fight against world threats. 

As it was mentioned, the majority of the participants of the international forum were the representatives of Germany, therefore a significant part of the questions concerned the need to search for common ground between the two countries.

Honorary citizen of the city-hero of Volgograd, Yuri Starovatykh urged foreign participants of the meeting to convey to their governments, deputies, including representatives in the European Parliament the truth about today's Russia. "You are our friends, and we expect that you will share real impressions of the trip to Volgograd. Tell simple Germans, Americans, Slovaks that here live the most ordinary people, like them who are preparing for the World Cup, build schools, museums and stadiums and dream of a good future for their children, " he addressed the delegates.

The forum continued its work on November 1 at the sites of five round tables.


At the Volgograd State University, participants and experts were immediately offered four topics for discussion: "Diplomacy of municipalities: mechanisms and forms of interaction", "Modern challenges and security threats: how to confront them together?", "The future of German-Russian relations: new horizons" "Youth diplomacy: development prospects".

In the work of the round table "Diplomacy of municipalities: mechanisms and forms of interaction", held within the project office "International Relations" of the Union of Russian Cities (AWG), attended the head of Volgograd, Andrei Kosolapov, who spoke about possible mechanisms for cooperation in the field of inter-municipal diplomacy. "The format of the project office allows us to work on the coordination and management of projects, actively develop international cooperation and positioning of Russian cities on foreign sites," he said. Dušan Stojanovič, Deputy Secretary General of the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities of the United Nations, Honorary Chairman of the Board of Directors of the United Towns Association of America Bill Boerum, Head of the German-Russian Forum on Inter-Municipal Partnership Jürgen Rothers spoke in favor of active participation of cities in the work of international organizations. Moderator Alexandra Ignatieva, Director-General of the JWG and Permanent Rapporteur of the Forum, summed up the work, urging participants to make more active use of the already available resource of associations and associations.

Participants of the round table "Modern challenges and security threats: how to confront them together" met under the moderator Igor Chernov, head of the Information Security Center. Associate Professor of the Department of International Relations of Political Science and Regional Studies of the Volgograd State University Elena Efanova presented a current overview of problems related to terrorism and extremism and possible measures to counter these threats. Her Chinese colleague Chen She (director of the Chengdu City Academy of Social Sciences) prepared a detailed action plan for the municipality on the prevention and prevention of terrorism on its territory. The subsequent session of questions and answers with the participation of the expert of the Valdai Discussion Club, Jan Czarnogursky (Slovakia), aroused the keen interest of the invited students.There was also raised the issue of rationality of discussion at this forum of issues that are not within the competence of municipal authorities. Former Mayor of Cologne Andreas Voltaire presented the report "Integration as a long-term prevention of crime and terror", related to the experience of the municipality in integrating migrants, where he stressed the importance of the participation of local governments in building and strengthening international cooperation.

In general, the relations between Russia and Germany are not going through the best phase, but we agreed that there are prospects. One example is the presentation of the book "Russia and Germany: What Next?" - said Alexander Shovgenin, Head of the Department of International Cooperation of VolSU, who moderated the round table "The Future of German-Russian Relations: New Horizons". - In general, the leitmotif of the meeting was the phrase "we should be friends."
Such a result of the work is not surprising: this meeting was held under the powerful civil support of the members of the Cologne-Volgograd Friendship Society (Cologne) and the leaders of the Cultural Initiatives Association "Colorit" (Chemnitz), and Michael Schlick, the spokesman for the Left, a well-known friendly attitude to Russia. 
Yuri Starovatykh, President of the Volgograd Regional Branch of the All-Russian Public Fund "The Russian Peace Foundation", and Peter Franke, Chairman of the Federal Union of German Societies "West-East", who have vast experience in building the cooperation of the two states, spoke on the topic "Memory culture in the dialogue between partner cities".

One of the most popular tables was "Youth diplomacy: development prospects" under the moderation of Sergei Gavrilov - coordinator of the Volgograd International Model UN and head of the Volgograd youth department "Russian Society of Political Scientists". Members of the Youth Parliament of Volgograd Region, organizers and participants of the Volgograd International Model of the United Nations and experts who knew firsthand about cultural and educational strategies of interaction between youth of different countries, the activities of youth parliaments and the "model movement" in the system of youth diplomacy gathered at it.
Among the speakers were co-chairman of the International Council of Youth Parliaments "Eurasian Dialogue" Arman Karapetyan (Armenia), coordinator of the International Model G20 in Russia Azamat Tomayev, head of the regional development department of the youth branch "Russian Society of Political Scientists" Andrey Bodrov and head of the Academy of Youth Diplomacy of the Republic of Tatarstan Dilbar Sadykova. The main emphasis was on a live, direct discussion and exchange of experience.

"It was noticeable that those in the audience who were really interested in it, gathered here," said Ksenia Kuzmina, program coordinator of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs (Moscow). 

The work of the fifth round table - "70 years of diplomatic relations between Russia and India: success stories" - was organized on the basis of Volgograd Medical University, where a lot of students from India are currently studying. The moderator was the dean for work with foreign students VolgGMU Associate Professor Dmitry Emelyanov, and one of the reports was devoted to the adaptation of Indian students to living and teaching in Russia. Its authors were Tatyana Fomina, doctor of sociological sciences, head of the department of Russian language and socio-cultural adaptation of VolgGMU, and associate professor of the same department Natalya Goncharenko. The candidate of historical sciences Artem Harinin from the Volgograd State University diluted the cultural theme with a message on the topic "Military and Technical Cooperation between Russia and India since 1992", and moved to VolgGMU from the fourth round table Ksenia Kuzmina of the Russian Council on Foreign Affairs spoke about the work of the INF Treaty in Indian direction. 

The participants presented their conclusions, proposals and recommendations to the final meeting of the IV International Forum of Public Diplomacy "Dialogue on the Volga: Peace and Mutual Understanding in the 21st Century", in which the resolution was also adopted.

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