2015 Conference Program

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28th Annual Camden Conference – Russia Resurgent – February 20-22, 2015

The 2015 Camden Conference will examine Russia’s role in the world, including both the risks and opportunities Russia faces as it strives to remain a world power. Additionally, the Conference will consider what current and potential Russian policies the United States should counter and what it should encourage — and how.

Ambassador Nicholas Burns, Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School will moderate the Conference and guide the proceedings through three thematic areas: current domestic challenges and the political responses of Russian leaders, Russia’s interests and engagements with the former states of the Soviet Union, such as the Ukraine and Georgia, its relations with Middle East, Europe and Asia, and, thirdly, diplomatic and strategic challenges in U.S. – Russia relations.

We hope, in addition, to provide historic and economic perspectives on this huge, resource-rich, yet often politically and socially troubled country. Its hydrocarbon resource base and its arctic potential are both enormous but pose equally large threats to the global climate. What should our attitude be? Some 15% of Russia’s population is Muslim. How are Russia’s Muslims treated and how big a threat do they pose, inside Russia and beyond, including to the US?

Much has changed since Russia was last a Camden Conference topic in 1994. Then, America’s adversary through four decades of Cold War was humiliated by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Its energy and mineral resources were being privatized in a breakneck fashion that mainly created a few phenomenally wealthy oligarchs and a culture of criminality. Its population was in decline and it had few friends and admirers on the global stage.

Today, Russia’s population is slowly rebounding. It’s economy grew by 7% on average through 1998-2008 — helping to explain the continued popularity of President Vladimir Putin. Rapid growth resumed after 2008-09, but has slowed recently, and the economy remains heavily resource-dependent. But Russia is again a force to be reckoned with globally — and a topic we’re looking forward to exploring in Camden!