15th YES Annual Meeting: the headlines from day one

15th YES Annual Meeting: the headlines from day one
14 September 2018

President Poroshenko and Victor Pinchuk open the day’s discussion – calling for Ukraine and the West to carefully assess all the risks and opportunities the future brings.

600 Heads of State, politicians, economists, thinkers, and business leaders gathered at the historic Mystetlyk Arsenal in Kyiv, to attend the milestone 15th Yalta European Strategy Annual Meeting.

The theme of this year’s event, organised by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, is “The Next Generation of Everything”.

Making the opening remarks Mr Pinchuk said, “The future cannot be lenient towards those who do not care about it”. As he discussed the big issues facing Ukraine today Mr Pinchuk, who believes passionately in the power of art to connect people with the problems the word faces, unveiled a diptych painted by  Japanese artist Takashi Murakami especially for Ukraine entitled ‘Ukraine: The War and Peace’.

In unveiling the new work, Mr Pinchuk said that artists often see the future better than politicians, but made the point that although they are good at seeing it, those who map the way to it are the scientists, analysts, politicians and participants of this conference.

Making the keynote speech, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko affirmed once again that his vision of UKraine is as the eastern stronghold of NATO’s common security system. “Our European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations should be considered in a broader international and European context”, he said. “It is not that we need just the EU, we also need NATO. In the same way, they need us.”

Poroshenko went on to say that the united Europe project may only be completed with Ukraine. “Ukraine is a euro-optimistic nation, it’s people have a unique belief in Europe.”

Turning to the internal issues the country faces the President called on all Ukrainian politicians to drop the promise of populism for the sake of a stable future.

He told them, “My personal experience taught me that it is important to be very careful and responsible about what you promise people. Over four years ago, I said that the antiterrorist operation (ATO) would take hours, not months. I would like to say this once again, I am sorry for creating inflated expectations….I am calling for real action programmes, not fantastic promises of manna from heaven, promises of the moon, sunshine and rainbows.

Some other headlines coming out of the first day’s debate include:

“NATO’s primary task in cooperation with Ukraine is to support and assist with the implementation of fundamental reforms.”

Alejandro Alvargonzález, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, NATO

“The US Founding Fathers – and this will be a good lesson to young democrats in Ukraine – were very cautious about the executive power.”

Condoleezza Rice, 66th US Secretary of State, 2005-2009

“The current US administration has made a strategic mistake in lowering corporation tax, instead of encouraging the global community to come together to agree a an internationally recognised tax system that would not force the race to the bottom.”

Larry Summers, Charles W Eliot University, Professor, Harvard University

“Reducing inequality in people’s personal income is an effective measure to fight the “wave of populism”. It is incumbent on politician’s in Europe to make sure that Europe’s six year streak of economic growth is reflected in the income of all layers of society.”

European Commission’s Vice President of the Euro and Social Dialogue, Valdis Dombrovkis

“I believe the ability of human beings to own and profit from their own data as a fundamental human right.”

Vitalik Buterin, Co-Founder Ethereum

“Putin is not only the Commander in Chief of Russia, he is the Historian in Chief”,

Bernard-Henri Levy, Philosopher

“The problem of disinformation will get worse before it gets better.”

John Gibson, Director, ASI Data Science

“We haven’t frightened ourselves enough yet (with the use of cyberwarfare) to come up with an international accord, as we did in the case of nuclear.”

Condoleezza Rice, 66th US Secretary of State, 2005-2009

“Nothing will be done to the US or other Western countries elections that won’t be done to Ukraine first”.

Jared Cohen, Founder & CEO, Jigsaw

“Now that we see the Brexit promises will not be delivered, the sensible thing to do is to put the question back to the electorate, revoke Article 50 and not leave the EU at all”.

“In the next ten years we will be faced with three giants, India, CHina, and the US, and it will be better for medium sized companies to stick together. The EU is now less about peace and more about power”.

Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, 1997-2005

The official Twitter handle of the 15th YES Annual Meeting is @yes_ukraine, and participants and followers can include the hash tag: #YESUkraine2018

Partners of 15th YES Annual Meeting:
Arawak Energy, Hillmont Partners, lifecell, International Renaissance Foundation, Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF).

Media partners of 15th YES Annual Meeting:
Dzerkalo Tyzhnya (DT.UA), European Pravda, ICTV, Liga.net, Novoye Vremya Strany (NV), PRYAMIY Channel, Radio NV, The Kyiv Post.

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Yuval Harari
Yuval Harari
Professor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 16th YES Annual Meeting, 2019
«We are already in the midst of an AI arms race, with the USA and China leading the race, while most countries are being left far behind.»