Thursday, March 31, 2016

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a meeting of the Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund Board of Trustees
March 29, 2016
Mr Drachevsky, colleagues, friends,
We are happy to welcome you to the regular meeting of the Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund Board of Trustees. As usual, we will discuss the Fund’s performance last year and its priority goals for the near future.
Under current conditions, I don’t think I need to remind you about our interest in the broadest possible involvement of citizen diplomacy, civil society organisations, experts and the academic community in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This interaction helps produce full and objective information about the situation in Russia and its foreign policy.
We note with satisfaction that one of the key spheres of the Gorchakov Fund’s activity is the provision of financial assistance to civic initiatives in international relations. If memory serves, the Fund receives about 200 applications from Russian and foreign NGOs. This is evidence of its growing prestige, including as a grant provider.
The Fund also conducts special events, such as research and education programmes, including the Diplomatic Seminar of Young Experts, the CSTO Academy, the Caspian Dialogue, the Balkans Dialogue, the Baltic Dialogue, the Caucasus Dialogue, the School on Central Asia and the Dialogue in the Name of the Future, as well as various themed conferences and seminars.
The Club of Friends of the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund, established in 2013, has made a name for itself.
The Fund’s experts prepare useful information and analytical materials. We hope that the Gorchakov Fund will continue to expand the list of national and foreign NGOs with which it cooperates, thereby promoting interaction between experts on this level.
Today, we will discuss the list of the Fund’s priority areas of activity for 2017. Like many others present, I have read it. I think that during our discussion today we will note that the Fund’s programmes are focused on promoting the efficient management of Russia’s foreign policy in the media and on strengthening cooperation with media outlets. I consider this a very important and correct direction.
We see that the Fund plans to give priority attention to relations with the CIS states, primarily within the framework of the CSTO, the EAEU, BRICS and the SCO, in light of the importance of the organisations in shaping a new polycentric world architecture. Undoubtedly, we would like the Fund’s programmes and projects to also cover other areas of our multidirectional foreign policy. In this respect, we welcome any efforts to maintain and even grow interest in the issues associated with the Asia Pacific region and the development of equal relations with the EU countries and the United States based on mutual respect.
Terrorism, without exception, is probably one of the major problems facing all countries. We definitely support research projects aimed at finding solutions to conflicts, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa.
I believe that issues related to combating the falsification of history, including the history of World War II, the glorification of Nazism and the propaganda of extremist ideas and values will not lose their relevance. I think they deserve to be given the closest possible attention under current conditions.
Before concluding my remarks, I’d like to express my sincere gratitude for cooperation to many members of the Board of Trustees present here (and not), who have been providing assistance to the Gorchakov Fund. In particular, we are grateful to Sergey Chemezov, Suleiman Kerimov, Fattakh Shodiyev, Mikhail Prokhorov, Alexei Mordashov, Nikolai Tokarev and Ruben Vardanyan for their financial support of those programmes that the Fund implements as part of its mandate.
I hope we will carry on this public-private partnership in the coming period.

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