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On October 18, 2017, the fourth session of the XIV Valdai Discussion Club took place focusing on the issues of universalism and self-identity. The participants discussed globalization processes that started after the end of the Cold War, and the reaction towards them in the form of activation of identity politics and determination to strengthen the unique self-identification.

Andrey Kortunov, RIAC Director General, Alexander Iskandaryan, Director, Caucasus Institute, Wole Soyinka, Playwright, poet and novelist, Nobel Prize laureate 1986, Wolfgang Schussel, Chairman, DER-Dialog-Europe-Russia, and Ivan Krastev, Chairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies, took part in the discussion. Piotr Dutkiewicz, Director and Professor, Center for Governance and Public Policy, Carleton University, moderated the session.

On October 18, 2017, the fourth session of the XIV Valdai Discussion Club took place focusing on the issues of universalism and self-identity. The participants discussed globalization processes that started after the end of the Cold War, and the reaction towards them in the form of activation of identity politics and determination to strengthen the unique self-identification.

Andrey Kortunov, RIAC Director General, Alexander Iskandaryan, Director, Caucasus Institute, Wole Soyinka, Playwright, poet and novelist, Nobel Prize laureate 1986, Wolfgang Schussel, Chairman, DER-Dialog-Europe-Russia, and Ivan Krastev, Chairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies, took part in the discussion. Piotr Dutkiewicz, Director and Professor, Center for Governance and Public Policy, Carleton University, moderated the session.

Andrey Kortunov underscored the ungrounded opposing of universalism to self-identification. According to his words, the history of international relations proves that the two things are quite compatible with each other. For instance, the Concert of Europe system in the XIXth century was mainly based on social and economic diversity of the European member states. On the other hand, the «common traits» among the great totalitarian systems of the first half of the XX century have not prevented them from clashing with each other.

Almost all the panelists spoke about the idea that universalism and identity are inextricably linked, and their opposition is fictitious. It was suggested to address not the conflict, but the dialectics of universalism and identity.

As one of the experts noted, the phenomena, similar to modern globalization, have existed since ancient times. And there were several waves of globalization in the world, one of the first and most large-scale was the spread of Hellenistic culture. At the same time, the attempts to mitigate local differences always led to a greater emphasis on them. Consequently, there is no contradiction between globalization and localization as trends, since the first naturally leads to the second. Two of these tendencies create a state of equilibrium when global phenomena have local implications. One can talk about synthesis, in which greater diversity leads to greater stability.

Having discussed the challenges associated with universalism and identity policy, experts came to the conclusion that today more than ever there is a need not for politicians who think by electoral cycles, but for statesmen capable of thinking in a decade-wise perspective.

Information about the session is on Valdai International Discussion Club website.

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