The conference convenes each year since 2006 and has become the primary venue in the Baltic Nordic region that brings together Heads of State and government, ministers, journalists, diplomats, academia and business leaders from both sides of the Atlantic for a discussion on global and regional trends and challenges. The Rīga Conference was inaugurated by the then President of the United States of America George W. Bush and has since hosted such distinguished speakers as Dr. Vaira Vīķe – Freiberga, Mr Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Mr Carl Bildt, Mr Donald Tusk, Mr Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Mr Anders – Fogh Rasmussen, Mr Alexander Vershbow and many more.

ASTOR RIGA HOTEL / NATIONAL LIBRARY OF LATVIA | September 28 – 30

PROGRAMME
Thursday, September 28, Astor Riga Hotel
9.30 – 10.00
Registration
10:00 – 10.15
Welcoming remarks by Mr Toms Baumanis, Chairman of the Board, Latvian Transatlantic Organisation

EUROPEAN SECURITY – Post BREXIT Error
The BREXIT has created one of the most complex challenges for the EU and its future. In addition, the negations on BREXIT are taking place during a time, when the EU is still facing several security challenges. How will BREXIT change both the EU `s and Europe’s security architecture? How will the EU improve border security and become more resilient to hybrid threats and international terrorism?

10.15 – 11.45
Opening discussion

Ms Sarah Harper, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the United Kingdom in Latvia
Mr Brooks Newmark, Researcher in Oxford University, United Kingdom
Mr Benjamin Haddad, Research Fellow at the Hudson Institute, USA

Moderator: Mr Simon Nixon, Chief European Commentator, The Wall Street Journal, United Kingdom

11.45 – 12.15
Coffee Break

NATO IN THE NORTH – Further Possible Cooperation
For more than 25 years since the collapse of the USSR, Northern Europe has been a space of peace and prosperity. The countries in this region have achieved a high degree of development and freedom, but in some cases, they have relaxed their attention to security. The events in Ukraine and an aggressive Russian policy in the Arctic, have posed new challenges to these countries as well as to NATO. What direction will Sweden and Finland take for their security policy, and how can both NATO and non-NATO members of northern Europe cooperate return their region to its previous stability?

12.15 – 13.45
Panel discussion

Dr Gerlinde Niehus, Head of the Engagements Section at the Public Diplomacy Division, NATO
Cdr Kurt Engelen, Staff Officer at the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the Military Committee of NATO, Belgium
Prof. Aurel Braun, Professor at the University of Toronto/Harvard, Canada

Moderator: Dr Žaneta Ozoliņa, Vice Chairman of the Latvian Transatlantic Organisation, Professor of the Department of Political Science, University of Latvia

13.45 – 15.00
Lunch

EUROPE’S SOUTHERN NEIGHBOURHOOD
The effort to deepen the defence co-ordination for Europe’s southern neighbourhood seeks to reinforce the EU’s security activities in the south. Currently, the EU is assisting in providing training opportunities, experience, and information exchange. However, is the current cooperation with southern-countries enough to promote safety and security in the South, should the EU seek further cooperation with Northern African countries?

15.00 – 16.30
Panel discussion

H.E. Mr Hayri Hayret Yalav, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Latvia
Ms Carmen Romero, Deputy Assistant Secretary General, for Public Diplomacy Division, NATO

Moderator: Mr Pawel Fleischer, President & CEO of the Institute for Forecasting and International Studies, Poland

16.30 – 17.00
Coffee Break

MODERN TERRORISM – How to Fight It?
Terrorism has been an ever-present threat in both European and other countries and it is still a preferred tool for radical individuals and groups. Now European and other countries are starting to face new waves of terrorist attacks that are being carried out not with explosives and guns, but with cars and knifes, as well as other unusual ways. How can European and NATO countries respond to these “low-cost” acts of terrorism and are we ready for new types of terrorism in the future?

17.00 – 18.30
Panel discussion

Mr Mark Andrew Pritchard MP, UK delegation to Council of Europe, Former Member of UK National Security Strategy Committee, founding Chairman of UK’s Cyber Security Parliamentary Group, United Kingdom
Mr Patrik Maldre, Senior Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst, FireEye iSIGHT Intelligence, USA
Dr Aigars Reinis, Assistant Professor at the Riga Stradiņš University, Latvia

Moderator: Dr Māris Andžāns, Researcher at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Latvia

19.00 – 21.00
Dinner
Venue: Restorāns “Niklāvs”, Mārstaļu iela 3

Friday, September 29, Astor Riga Hotel

ONE on ONE Debate

10.00 – 11.30
Discussion

Amb Alexander Vershbow, Distinguished Fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council

Moderator: Mr Steven Keil, Fellow and Senior Program Officer of the German Marshall Fund of the U.S.

11.30 – 12.00
Coffee Break
12.00 – 13.30
Working sessions
13.30 – 14.30
Lunch
14.30 – 16.30
Working sessions
16.30 – 17.00
Coffee Break
17.00 – 18.30
Presentations
18.45 – 20.30
Dinner
Venue: Railway Museum, Uzvaras bulvāris 2/4
20.45 – 22.15
Night Owl Sessions
Joining The Riga Conference 2017

DESCRIPTION OF THE WORKING SESSIONS

THE IMPORTANCE OF INFORMATION AND CYBERSECURITY – WHAT CAN EACH OF US DO

It’s not surprising that governments and businesses around the world are searching for better cyber defence strategies. Our daily life, economic vitality, and national security depend on a stable, safe, and resilient cyberspace. Information sharing is essential for the protection of society. We must all be well informed and aware of what we can do to increase the overall security awareness in our country. There is clearly still a lot of work left to be done; cyber security along with information security has become a matter of urgency.

Moderator: Mr Otto Tabuns, Senior Expert of the National Cybersecurity Policy Coordination Section, Ministry of Defence, Latvia

MIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

The EU and its Member States face several new and complex security threats, highlighting the need for further synergies and closer cooperation at all levels. Many of today’s security concerns originate from instability in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood. Increasing cross-border migration is one of the most discussed topics in the EU. What are the real challenges we face and what are the answers for the migration problems within the union?

Moderator: Mr Vlad Vernygora, NATO SPS Programme’s Project Director, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia

POPULISM – THE KEY TO SUCCESS IN A MODERN DAY WORLD?

Rising support for populist parties has disrupted the politics of many Western societies. Populist leaders like Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Norbert Hoffer, Nigel Farage, and Geert Wilders are prominent today in many countries. The impact of populist parties has been exaggerated, but these parties have gained votes and seats in many countries. Is populism the new key to success for gaining trust and love in the eyes of the public?

Moderator: Mr Benjamin Haddad, Research Fellow at the Hudson Institute, USA

Saturday, September 30, National Library of Latvia
Joining the second day of the Riga Conference 2017