GLOBSEC City Talks 2016 Programme


Thrusday/Štvrtok                    City Talks 2016 Banská Bystrica 

16:30 – 17:30           Oil: Puppet Master of the Geopolitics

In the last 150 years, oil has been quietly, and somewhat sneakily, pulling strings behind the scenes of all the most important historical milestones. As a result, geopolitics of the Middle East, Americas, Europe and Russia has been tied together. The widespread instability in oil prices consistently reflects not only the world’s economy but also all significant social, political and technological developments. Whilst China and South America are able to benefit from the collapse in prices of black gold, Russia struggles to stand on its feet when oil prices keep falling. What is the impact of military involvement in Syria, or quite the opposite, of the reluctance to get involved in such conflict, on the energy interests of the USA, Russia and of course, the countries in the Middle East? How is world market going to develop and what consequences are we facing internationally?


Lívia Vašáková, Economic Counsellor, Representative of the European Commission, Bratislava    

Kristián Takáč, Public Affairs Officer, RWE Slovakia, Bratislava    

Igor Kosír, Professor, Faculty of Political Studies and International Relations, University of Matej Bel, Banská Bystrica    

Led by: Michal Hudec, CEO, Energy Analytics; Co-Founder,, Bratislava    


17:30 – 17:45           Break


17:45 – 19:15           Far Right on the March Across Europe

Financial crisis, migration, split in the EU, war in Ukraine, spreading propaganda and conspiracies. Those are only some of the factors which have caused radical growth of far-right political parties across Europe. Simple slogans, addressing voters from marginalized regions, emphasis on traditional values, resistance against the European Union and NATO and sympathetic stance towards Russia are signs which unite majority of the neo-fascist political forces. 71 years after the demise of fascist Slovak state a party got into the parliament, whose values and rhetoric are identical with those of Slovak state. Opinions attacking minorities, defending holocaust, condemning euro-atlantic values and democracy as such, gained momentum even among first time voters. Does nationalism and extremism have a chance to become majoritarian political stream in Europe? Why does this ideology gain more support? Are extremist forces unanimous and cooperate? Are voters of these parties really fascists? 

Radovan Bránik, Crisis Manager, Bratislava       

Stanislav Mičev, Director, Museum of Slovak National Uprising, Banská Bystrica    

Juraj Smatana, Teacher, Activist, Považská Bystrica    

Led by: Tomáš Gális, Commentator, DenníkN, Bratislava    



Thrusday/Štvrtok                       City Talks 2016 Košice

16:00 – 17:15           War Correspondents: Tales from the Red Zones

War in Afghanistan, invasion of Iraq, Bosnian war, conflict in Chechnya, Arab Spring, Crimea, Syrian Civil War and many more. War correspondents live in the red zones, cover stories from the inside of the war scenes and risk their lives to report their first-hand experience. Around 1200 journalists were killed since 1992, 250 of them died directly in the combat while 790 were murdered. Especially Iraq and Syria became two most dangerous countries where altogether 270 correspondents have died in last 24 years. What drives the war correspondents to travel to the middle of the blood-bath conflicts? How is their view different from distant media reports? How does the war reality look like beyond the picture frames? What is role of war correspondents in fighting propaganda from the front?


Laura Kasinof, Freelance Journalist, Berlin    

Pierre Sautreuil, Freelance Journalist, Paris     

Oleksii Hodzenko, Correspondent, 24Kanal, Kiev    

Led by: Andrej Matišák, Deputy Head, Foreign Desk,, Bratislava        


17:15 – 17:30    Break


17:40 – 19:00           GLOBSEC v Lampe: Russian Bear on the Move

The happenings between Russia and Europe in the past two years have unlocked the, as we thought stable, post-89 order. As a wake-up call, we have witnessed the invasion of Crimea, cross-border hostilities, intrusion of airspace and waters of European states or even seizing a security service officer on the ground of the EU. US-Russia and EU-Russia relations are at its lowest point, despite being economically and energetically intertwined. Today’s trade, travel, diplomacy and security in Europe takes place in the context of a divided continent. The current situation is unsustainable and unpredictable as the international players lack long-term strategies and solutions. But what is the exact scope of Kremlin’s revisionist aims? How do we provide future stability and security of Europe? Is playing tit for tat really the best way to fight terrorism, immigration crisis and economic decline? Could the cooperation between the West and East in Syria develop to the improvement of EU-Russia relations? How do we untangle the ravels of this dangerous game without being dragged into a wider conflict? Is this an image of the 21st century Cold War?


Karel Hirman, Energy Analyst, Košice    

Ivan Timofeev, Director of Programs, Russian International Affairs Council, Moscow    

Myroslava Lendel, Director, Research and Scientific Institute of Central Europe, Uzhgorod National University, Uzhgorod                        

 Led by: Štefan Hríb, Editor-in-Chief, .týždeň, Bratislava     



City Talks 2016 Bratislava 


16:45 – 17:00           Official Welcome

Róbert Vass, Executive Vice-President; CEO, Central European Strategy Council; Founder of GLOBSEC, Bratislava Ivo Nesrovnal, Mayor of Bratislava


17:00 – 18:30           To Brexit or Bremain?

That is the question British voters will have to answer in just couple of weeks. Whilst the rest of European members underlined they wanted the UK to stay, British leadership and public likewise remain equally divided on the desired outcome of the referendum. But which is more harmful to the British economy, Brussels’ rigid regulations or sacrificing access to the European single market? Would Britain’s status in the world suffer without the support of the EU or would it flourish? Won’t major businesses leave Britain when the country shuts its door on the EU? If history is the best teacher, have we witnessed any positive results from the EU exit on Greenland, the only country to ever leave the EU? Even if Greenlandic industry, economy and standard of living benefited from exiting the Union, can we compare it with the UK? Is British voting public really that Eurosceptic, that it will vote itself right out and risk it all? And vice versa, what would be the impact on the EU if it loses one of its most influential members? 


Motion: The UK will be better off outside the EU.


Hon. Aleqa Hammond, Former Prime Minister of Greenland; Member of Parliament of the Kingdom of Denmark, Nuuk         

Robin Shepherd, Publisher, The Commentator, London        

Amb. Michael Žantovský, President, Aspen Institute, Prague    

Phillip Blond, Director, ResPublica, London    

Led by: Nik Gowing, International Broadcaster, London    


18:30 – 18:45           Break


18:45 – 19:45           Clicking Likes on Lies

Being considered as a liberalizing technology and having accelerated change movements from Arab Spring to Maidan, hopes aimed high that social digital media could bring flourishing of democracy across the world. Sadly, as the social platforms possess the political power to inform, engage or mobilize, they equally hold the power to misinform, manipulate or control. Used to organize demonstrations globally, carefully censored in China, exploited as a propaganda machine by Russia, abused for spreading neo-fascist and racist ideology, or utilized as recruitment tool by Daesh, social media can be easily transformed into political weapons. Whilst the public becomes lost in the amount of misleading information, nationalists, populists and conspirators pave their way across, corrupting reliable sources from its heart. Is democracy equipped enough to survive the turbulent times of the information era? How can modern and traditional media prevent the spread of unreliable information among the public? What strategy should the traditional media adopt to create information security in the 21st century? How can we bring back the ability of citizens to gather enough trustworthy information so they can participate meaningfully in society?


Amb. Rastislav Káčer, Honorary President, Central European Strategy Council;

Honorary Chairman, Slovak Atlantic Commission, Bratislava    

Walter Quattrociocchi, Head of the Laboratory of Computational Social Science, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies, Lucca            

Jessikka Aro, Investigative Reporter, YLE, Helsinki    

Led by: Kathleen Koch, Author, Journalist & Founder, LeadersLink, Washington D.C.    




14:00 – 15:30           Migration: Burning Bridges, Building Walls

After 18 months of massive waves of refugees entering Europe from the war-torn Middle East not only did European borders slam shut, but the deal with Turkey promises that everyone, who crosses the sea to reach Greek islands, will be send straight back. Barriers and fences have gone up from Macedonia to Austria turning Greek borders into cram-full “warehouse of souls”. Mingling among crowds of desperate refugees, terrorists mock European borderless area and bind greatest migration and security crises Europe has witnessed since the end of WWII. As civilians will certainly not stop fleeing from conflict zones, will European national border controls be permanently restored? Will Europe lose one of its most successful and unique projects? Is this the end of free-travel area? How do we protect the continent and keep enjoying the benefits of Schengen as we used to? Can Turkey bear the masses of migrants as agreed, or shall Europe open its arms again?


Motion: The EU should reimpose national border controls to deal with the migration crisis. 


H.E. Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary    

Hon. Martin Lidegaard, Member of Parliament of the Kingdom of Denmark; former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark     

Angeliki Dimitriadi, Research Fellow, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, Athens    

Hon. Yaşar Yakiş, Chair, European Union Harmonization Committee, Grand National Assembly of Turkey; former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey    

Led by: Nik Gowing, International Broadcaster, London     


15:30 – 15:45    Break


15:45 – 17:15           Syria: Enemy of my Enemy Is…

Diplomacy has so far been an utter failure on the ground of Syrian war, that divided masses, killed hundreds thousands of people, forced ten million to run from their homes and left vast lands of ruined country in the brutal hands of Daesh radicals and equally cruel President Assad. Not only did their threads spread overall Middle East up to Tripoli and Kabul, Islamic radicals battered their dreadful powers directly in cradles of Western Europe. In the entangled game of Syrian government, Hezbollah, Iran, Kurds, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Russia and the Allies, the only somewhat shared aim is the defeat of Daesh though the means are miles apart. Whilst West is searching for a politically and morally acceptable solution, terrorists will not be beaten anytime soon. Which players are able to lead the charge against Daesh on the ground? Should the allied nations broker a deal with Russia and Assad to defeat common enemy? Is it feasible to deal with terrorists and get rid of Assad at the same time? Or should the Allied powers make peace with Assad at least for a transitional period? 


Motion: To defeat Daesh, West will have to cooperate with Bashar Al Assad.


Falah Mustafa Bakir, Head, Department of Foreign Relations, Kurdistan Regional Government, Erbil

Manal Omar, Acting Vice President, Centre for Middle East and Africa, United States Institute of Peace, Washington D.C.    

Ayman Mhanna, Execitive Director, Samir Kassir Foundation, Beirut

Amb. Alexandr Aksenenok, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary; Expert, Committe onInternational Affairs, Federation Council of the Russian Federation, Moscow    

Led by: Baria Alamuddin, Foreign Editor, Al Hayat, London   


17:15 – 17:30           Break


17:30 – 18:30           Destination Space

The discovery of water on Mars might inspire the new generation of explorers but it may also spark a new space race and fuel the potential commercialisation and militarisation of space. Already the early Cold War exploration of space, as the launch of the first satellite, first humans in space and landing on the Moon, had among others a military motivation and was used as an opportunity to demonstrate technological powers above the ground. Decades later with China launching satellites into space, Russia planning to land on the Moon and the US envisaging first manned mission to Mars, the competition freshly escalates. As the conflicts down on the Earth intensify, will the space arms race become the reflection of geopolitical rivalries once again? Which great power will dominate the outer space? Could the space contest eventually have security implications for us? Can we be sending people to Mars anytime soon? And how much further in space will we be able to travel?


Kai-Uwe Schrögl, Head of Policies Department, European Space Agency, Paris    

Dumitru Prunariu, Astronaut; Chairman, Association of Space Explorers-Europe, Strasbourg      

Mazlan Othman, Former Director, UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, Kuala Lumpur    

Led by: Daniel Šagath, PhD Candidate, VU University of Amsterdam