Main Global Challenges and the Approach of Governance for Happiness Will be the Focus of 1st Day Plenary Sessions of the 16th YES Annual Meeting

10 September 2019

The plenary sessions of the 16th Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting will be opened on September, 13 with  statements from three presidents – President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid, and President of Finland Sauli Niinistö. The discussion will be moderated by Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations.

The 16th Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting – “Happiness Now. New Approaches for a World in Crisis” – will be held on September 12-14, 2019 in Kyiv. Over 400 leading politicians, diplomats, businessmen, civil activists and experts from 26 countries will take part in the conference organised by the international forum, YES, in partnership with the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

The forum’s first day will be devoted to understanding the global challenges of tomorrow and will look at the global political situation and what it means for Europe and Ukraine. The sessions will continue with discussions on the current global economic situation and the crisis of democracy. The concluding panel of the first day will focus on the situation in the Middle East.

New light will be shed on these topics by applying the approach of setting citizens’ happiness as a major goal of governments, going beyond traditional policy approaches. Speakers will look at happiness from the points of view of a historian, psychologist, and artist. Top international business leaders will discuss whether business and market economy still serve as enabler of the pursuit of happiness. Global experts will analyze the best practices and innovations of governments who set happiness as their countries’ main goal.

A new global survey on happiness and governance instructed and directed by businessman and philanthropist Victor Pinchuk will be presented at the YES meeting.   

YES nightcaps will be dedicated, to discussing the relationship between Ukraine and Russia, the Future of Europe, Ukraine’s Energy Independence, and Climate Change.

Speakers on the first plenary day of 16th YES Annual Meeting include: H.E. Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al-Thani, Prime Minister of Qatar (2007-2013), Foreign Minister of Qatar (1992-2013); Olafur Eliasson, artist; Niall Ferguson, Senior Fellow at Hoover Institution Stanford University; Jon Gnarr, Artist and Writer, former mayor of Reykjavík, Iceland; Yuval Harari, Professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University; Juhan Parts, Prime Minister of Estonia (2003-2005); David Rubenstein, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Chairman of The Carlyle Group; Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development; Robert Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO at Vista Equity Partners; and George Ward, Research Associate at the Centre for Economic Performance.

Among the speakers at the nightcap sessions will be: Anne Applebaum, Washington Post columnist; Carl Bildt, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden (2006-2014), Prime Minister of Sweden (1991-1994); Anna Bogushenko, Representative of Greta Thunberg’s youth movement “Fridays for Future” in Ukraine; Phil Breedlove, Distinguished Professor at Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Former Supreme Allied Commander Europe; Pat Cox, President of the European Parliament (2002-2004); Carrie Exton, Head of Measuring Well-being and Progress at OECD; Ben Hodges, Pershing Chair at Center for European Policy Analysis, Fmr. Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe; Andrey Illarionov, Senior Fellow at Cato Institute; Andrey Kobolev, CEO of Naftogaz; Aleksander Kwasniewski, President of Poland (1995–2005), Chairman of the YES Board; Jonathan Littell, Writer and Filmmaker; Osnat Lubrani, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine; Alain Pilloux, Vice President of EBRD; Ilya Ponomarev, CEO at Trident Acquisitions and Former Member of the Russian State Duma; Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Founder & Chairman at Rasmussen Global; Iryna Stavchuk, Executive director of the Centre for Environmental Initiatives “Ecodiya” (“Ecoaction”); John Tefft, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine (2009-2013) and Russia (2014-2017); Georg Zachmann, Senior Fellow at Bruegel and Project Leader of LowCarbonUkraine.

Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Fareed Zakaria, Host of Fareed Zakaria GPS and CNN will moderate the plenary sessions.

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Strobe Talbott
Strobe Talbott
President, Brookings Institution, 8th YES Annual Meeting, 2011
«The world must revise its approach to global governance »