President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga’s Speech at the Conference “Remaking Ukraine – Toward an Age of Global Enlightenment”

Thank you, Governor Dukakis, Chair of BGF. Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I shall be as brief as I can, because it’s been a long session. To start with, may I really congratulate the Boston Global Forum and the Michael Dukakis Institute, and all those who participate in presenting this prize, this recognition to president Zelensky and the Ukrainian people for their extraordinary, superhuman bravery in the face of an enormous aggression by a far superior military power.

The question of resisting was an existential one for Ukraine, because president Putin has had his delusional and paranoia imperialistic ideas, and his narrative about it, not quite openly but certainly in private, ever since he came to power in the year 2000. And when I had my farewell visit with the French president Jacques Chirac, and we had a friendly lunch together, towards the end of that lunch the president started telling me how—I don’t know how the question came up—but how Ukraine really was not a separate nation; they never had had a separate state of their own, so that they weren’t really a legitimate political entity, that they were sort of a second class sort of Russians who spoke something that pretended to be a different language but really wasn’t. And I think the president was already manifesting some symptoms of a brain disease that later became quite evident, but he had told me frankly and openly what president Putin had been telling to his friends, to the “Putin-Versteher” (Putin’s sympathizers), starting with chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schröder and many others, his vision of reconstructing a sort of Frankenstein monster where he himself, as the supreme leader of a monster race of Russians, with their special culture and their unique existence, would lead a heritage to history which would sort of be a collage of putting together of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, without the skirts of course, since he’s so macho, and Stalin, an absolute Frankenstein monster construction but with the idea of the greatness of Russia, which must be reconstructed, and with all these countries that became independent at the periphery of what is now the Russian federation really should not exist. The best thing that could happen to them and President Chirac, the late president actually—I’m revealing this now because it’s important at this juncture in history—the best thing that could happen to them is to be governed by the Russians, who would do a better job. Now this is very serious, and we have now come in 2022 with President Putin saying exactly the same things openly as an excuse for his war, and there are people in the world who have said what is happening now—the atrocities that’s being committed, and the crimes of war, and the destruction—it’s the fault of the Ukrainians who were existing. If they had just simply laid down and accepted this domination, they wouldn’t have to suffer. I think this is something that has to be acknowledged: the right of a nation to its existence, to its sovereignty, to its ability to take its own decisions not to be a vassal, a client state, or a colony, just because some neighbor happens to be larger and have more military power. And [Ukraine] had with full goodwill given up nuclear weapons way back in 1994, which now almost looks like a mistaken time.

So before Ukraine can be built back better, which absolutely needs to be done, it needs to establish control over its territory. It needs to resist. And thanks to everybody here present, who has expressed support to this important idea, because their right to existence, when it’s threatened or harmed, really the the same intent is directed to the other countries that had been under the dominion, either direct or indirect, of the Kremlin and its rulers, be their collectives or singular or whatever, a communist or otherwise or capitalist or oligarchic. So before building better, Ukraine needs arms. It needs heavy armament. It needs moral support. It needs support for all the things that we just heard, so well expressed by doctor Silbersweig, in terms of humanitarian needs. I myself is a former refugee child, a wartime refugee, and somebody who started her schooling in a very improvised, very primitive public school, in a refugee camp in the British occupied zone of Germany. May I emphasize that in this before we come to reconstruction, we have to think about the transition, what happens to the refugees right now, and here again thank you to Dr. Silbersweig for thinking about the many multiple needs that refugees have. May I from my personal experience emphasize the importance of having schools for these children, so many of whom now with their mothers and without their fathers, who have become exiles, that they should have the ability to have schooling in their native language, in addition to going to local schools where they could learn a new language. Children do that very easily. I can testify to that as well but for keeping their identity the children need the ability to have some instruction in their native language, and their parents or in this case their mothers, their grandmothers, and aunts, and the other fellow citizens around them. They need an ability to have a social media, to have an interaction. And here I think the Boston Global Forum, with its emphasis on the digital possibilities of the new world, I think this sort of connectivity is something that will have to be considered in building up, either real, which is always the best thing, but also virtual communities of exiles.

I’ve spent much of my life among Latvian communities in exile on practically every continent except Antarctica, and it obviously prepared me sufficiently well and helped me preserve my Latvian identity, that I was able to return when Latvia did become free, even if it did take half a century to wait for it. And I could take on being president, and there was no problem of transition because of that. And finally about rebuilding, when cities are getting rebuilt, hospitals and so on, I think the greatest advances in everywhere in the world in terms of hospitals certainly will have to be taken into account. And it is a great news to hear from Greece for instance that they have already a vision for concrete places where what kind of hospital they’re going to build back in Mariupol. But may I just add one note of caution, is that the people who leave their homes are those who do it reluctantly. They suffer for it. I remember the pain of losing everything that you love, not just the people you are with, your grandma, your aunts, and your uncles, and so on, but the street on which you live, the tree outside the window, and all that sort of thing. So when cities get to rebuild, please, city planners and those who will be offering international aid, do not forget to consult the former inhabitants who live there, because there they will have an emotional need for something that will remind them of the city that has been destroyed, and something that they held dear, and something that they can hang on to so that the continuity of their identity can be built on upon it.

But ladies and gentlemen, may I as a former refugee, thank you all, and as the former president of a country that waited 15 years to recover its independence, thank you all and everyone for the help you are giving to this country, which is under brutal, unmotivated, and completely irrational attack by a totally delusional man who has brings with him a delusional ideology and sadly seems to have influenced his nation as well. Thank you all.

AIWS Government for Ukraine will be presented at the MIT Digital Bretton Woods Conference

The Building the Foundation for the Global Digital Economy Conference (Digital Bretton Woods) is organized by Boston Global Forum, EY, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Connection Science, Prosperity Collaborative, and the World Bank on June 27-29, 2022 at MIT.

Global opportunities and challenges call for global action. The world is far past the Washington-consensus, in search of a new development paradigm. A paradigm that must reconcile national strategies for prosperity with the deepening integration of the world’s economies, driven by the digitalization of communication, commerce, and knowledge. This calls for renewed international cooperation and stronger global institutions.

The Digital Bretton Woods conference responds to this challenge through four themes of reinvention:

  • Developing a Growth Strategy in the Digital Economy
  • Investing in Digital Infrastructure
  • Managing Disruptive Technologies
  • Strengthening the Governance of Digital Systems

These themes are part of a single continuum of reinvention.

The first theme on growth strategies aims to reconceptualize growth in the digital era, recognizing that the systems of value creation are rapidly evolving, the product cycles shorter, and the policy handles changing. Importantly, digitalization calls for a stronger treasury role in coordinating public investments in digital platforms, leveraging big data for evidence-based policy making, and rethinking the government’s role in promoting innovation.

The second theme recognizes that governments play a critical role in regulating and investing in digital infrastructure, including taxation, trade, digital identity, and payment systems. These foundational systems improve how services are delivered to citizens and enable the creation of new markets and ecosystems in which private-sector firms and other players can compete and collaborate.

The third theme explores the opportunities and risks created by emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, quantum computing, and the Internet of Things. These innovations can impact critical infrastructure, transform industries, and redefine the way in which governments interact with their citizens. Consequently, the technologies need to be carefully assessed in terms of their economic and society impacts.

Finally, the development of new digital infrastructure and disruptive technologies call for strengthening governance frameworks to ensure that technology design and implementation, and multi-stakeholder collaboration around technology, are equitable and responsible. These governance challenges go beyond improving information security and privacy control. Core issues center around the delegation of decision making to autonomous systems on economic, legal, and administrative matters; reallocating the ownership of data to individuals and local communities; and the creation of trusted, decentralized information systems that respect privacy while promoting transparency and value creation.

This is a very significant event recognized by the Global Alliance for Digital Governance. At this conference, AIWS Government for Ukraine and AIWS City for Ukraine, as parts of the Rebuilding Ukraine program, will be presented and discussed as a pilot project for these reinventions.


The Speech of President of Club de Madrid Danilo Turk at the Conference “Remaking Ukraine – Toward an Age of Global Enlightenment”

Distinguished participants, it is an honor to join you this morning on this important and solemn occasion. I thank Boston Global Forum and Latvian Transatlantic Organization for inviting me to deliver some remarks on the issue that brings us together today. On the issue of Ukraine, on behalf of the club of Madrid, I wish to express our most sincere solidarity with the people of Ukraine and its heroic president Volodymyr Zelensky. Mr. Zelensky’s leadership is inspiring his people, as it is inspiring the world. We wish him the best to bring peace to people of Ukraine, to people he serves, and we fully support the basic principles and values for the people of Ukraine. What the people of Ukraine are fighting for, peace, self-determination, democracy, as well as political independence and territorial integrity, must prevail and will prevail. We in the Club de Madrid support and will continue to support the people of Ukraine in their struggle. The armed conflict in Ukraine is of global significance, and we can clearly see evidence of global support in the United Nations and elsewhere. This was clearly expressed in a series of resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, and that support is going to continue. These resolutions are also evidence of commitment of the international community to the cause of peace and peaceful cooperation among nations.

Ladies and gentlemen, today you will discuss all aspects of the situation in Ukraine, including the international assistance to the rebuilding of the country when peace returns. It is hard to say that this aspect of your discussion is not timely. The war is going on, but it is timely to start discussing about the need to rebuild the country and to bring full normalcy to the country. One of the most important humanitarian and political tasks will be the return of many refugees who have left Ukraine and who will want to go back to their homes. It is very important that the questions relating to the rebuilding of the country and creating conditions for the return are discussed now, and this particular aspect will be of particular relevance for the future. I wish you in your deliberations all success, and let me once again state, we members of the Club de Madrid World Leadership Alliance fully support and are fully in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

The Speech of UK Consul General Peter Abbott OBE at the Conference “Remaking Ukraine – Toward an Age of Global Enlightenment”

Professor Ozolina, thank you very much indeed for those kind words of welcome. Professor Thomas Patterson, co-founder of the Boston Global Forum, governor Dukakis in absentia, the Dukakis Institute, President Levitz the president of Latvia, ambassador Makarova, fellow consuls general, distinguished speakers, and thank you very much indeed for having me here today. Before I start, I just wanted to pay tribute, as many have done before me, to president Zelensky and to the extraordinary bravery, tenacity, and commitment that the Ukrainian people have shown over the last two months. It is truly extraordinary, and I think an example to all of us. So, my name is Peter Abbott. I’m the British consul general to new England. I have something of a graveyard slot; I see people already leaving to get coffee, so I hope I can give you a sort of a reasonably entertaining next five or six minutes before we break. I want to talk this morning about two things: firstly, what the UK has done to support Ukraine, and secondly what we think the lessons might be for the conflict and further future conflicts in the in the coming months and years.

Firstly, as others have said, the international community has shown remarkable strength and unity in response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and the UK has worked closely with those allies, particularly in the G7, NATO, and the United Nations to impose an unprecedented package of sanctions and other economic measures. In fact, the UK has imposed sanctions on more individuals and more organizations in Russia than any other nation, starving them of their access to finance with asset freezes on 18 banks, with global assets of over a trillion US dollars, removal of selected Russian banks from the SWIFT system, and ending all our new outward investment to Russia. We’ve also taken decisive action on trade, stripping Russia of most favored nation status at the WTO, and stopping Russian aircraft from flying or landing in the UK, and banning their vessels from our ports by the end of this year. The UK will end all dependency on Russian coal and oil, and end imports of gas as soon as possible thereafter. We’ve also worked to isolate Russia diplomatically, using our presidency of the UN security council to lead the push to suspend Russia from the UN human rights council and to expose Russian war crimes, including the appalling rape and sexual violence that we have seen systematically used in Ukraine. Last month, alongside Nobel peace prize laureate Nadia Murad, the UK launched a new global code of conduct to gather information from survivors of sexual violence in war more safely and more effectively to improve the chance of justice, and we have also worked with our allies to refer Russia to the international criminal court. Perhaps like no other conflict before, the past two months have been something of a battle of truth, as much as a battle for territory, and as professor Ozolina mentioned, the UK has played its part here too in helping to counter Russian disinformation. For the first time ever, the UK ministry of defense is posting twice daily on social media our latest military intelligence about the state of play on the Ukrainian battlefield, where Russian troops are, what moves they’re making, and which regions are most under threat. Some of you might know that the UK intelligence services are some of the most secretive in the world, so it really is a remarkable change of culture to see that intelligence being posted on a daily basis, and this has helped the UK and our allies dominate the information space and counter Russian narratives. the UK has also helped give president Zelensky the extraordinary international platform that he has built so quickly. His address to the British parliament on the 8th of march was one of his first and received a prolonged and standing ovation from MPs and peers. My prime minister’s visit to Kyiv on 9th of April was the first by a G7 leader, and we are delighted that thanks to the bravery and fortitude of the Ukrainian people, we’re able to join our allies in reopening our embassy in the capital. Finally, we have provided desperately needed military and other practical support to Ukraine. The UK in fact was the first European country to provide lethal aid. We have already supplied 6000 anti-tank weapons, 10000 missiles, and 120 armored fighting vehicles, as well as ammunition body armor and other weapons. We have provided maritime support and trained more than twenty thousand Ukrainian soldiers via joint exercises. The UK has also committed nearly half a billion US dollars of aid, urgent humanitarian support, and donated more than 500 mobile generators, and earlier this week, two convoys of more than 40 fire engines arrived in Ukraine, packed with rescue equipment. This follows the donation of more than 20 ambulances equipped with paramedic kits and medical grab bags, and overall, the UK’s package of humanitarian economic and military support is worth more than two billion us dollars.

Collectively though, we need to go further. We need to bring even tougher sanctions and cut off oil and gas imports entirely from Russia. We must also put in place, as many have said, a robust humanitarian response to support the Ukrainian people, including with the involvement of the United Nations, and this is the second and final point I want to come to. What lessons have we learned? The primary lesson that we’ve learned is, I think, don’t mess with Ukraine. Secondly, the lesson that we’ve learned is that the economic and security structures developed after World War II have failed, as my German and French colleagues have said, Russia’s invasion has destroyed the idea that economic integration alone can drive political change.

So I think we need three things in a new approach based on military strength, economic security, and deeper global alliances. First, we need to strengthen our defense. There is no substitute for hard military power, backed by intelligence and diplomacy. That means a stronger NATO, with a sacrosanct open-door policy and a more global outlook. It means investing in both traditional defense and modern capabilities, and it means greater collective spending on defense, correcting a generation of under investment. NATO’s target of spending two percent on GDP must be a floor and not a ceiling. Second, we need to recognize and respond to the growing role that the economy plays in our collective security. We must take an assertive approach to economic policy to reduce strategic dependency on authoritarian regimes. We should expand trade investment and science and technology ties with countries who play by the rules, pursuing what the Dutch have described as open autonomy, and we need a better, more coordinated approach on international development, including in this case helping vulnerable countries whether the storm of rising food and energy prices. Third and finally, we must broaden our network of partnerships to promote collective security partnerships that stand up for sovereignty and self-determination, and are built on shared prosperity. What my foreign secretary has described as a network of liberty. The UK will continue to invest in existing partnerships and alliances, such as NATO, the G7, and the five eyes intelligence sharing network, and we will build new ones as well, such as the strategic defense alliance that the UK formed with the United States and Australia last year, illustrating our joint commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, and I hope this crisis will give greater impetus to deepening and strengthening UK cooperation on foreign policy and defense issues with our friends and neighbors in the European Union.

There is a Ukrainian expression which says that the church is near but the way is icy. I say victory is near for Ukraine, but the way will be tough, and the UK will be with you every step of that way with our prayers, and yes with our weapons too. Thank you very much.

Speech of Consul General of France, Arnaud Mentré, at the Conference “Remaking Ukraine – Toward an Age of Global Enlightenment”

Dear chairs of the Boston Global Forum, Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, dear fellow councils general and distinguished member of the audience, as the french consul general in Boston, let me express my deep appreciation for the initiative taken by the Boston Global Forum and the Dukakis Institute for leadership and innovation to focus on the dreadful war in Ukraine and award president Zelensky, an inspiring leader for Europe and the world, its leadership prize for peace and security. As you mentioned, professor [Zaneta] Ozolina, France is now holding the chair of the EU council and as such can speak for the EU and condemn the military invasion launched by Russia on Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. This invasion constitutes a brutal violation of international law, and we demand that Russia immediately cease its military operation, and that a total unconditional ceasefire is established. As it was said earlier, this is an unprecedented situation. It’s a turning point in the history of Europe and our countries. It will have profound lasting consequences for the geopolitics of our continent and beyond, and we will respond. This crisis seriously calls into question the international order. Ukraine brave resistance has inspired us all, and France and its partners are not at war with Russia, but we support free and sovereign Ukraine to respond and create the conditions so that Russia realizes the inanity of its war and negotiate.

This crisis has seen the EU emerge as a major foreign policy actor, both in terms of sanctions financial support and defense capabilities. The European union has never responded to a crisis with such strength and agility. Within 48 hours, the 27 EU member states adopted an extensive package of sanctions against Russia, a systemic actor and permanent member of the UN Security Council. Since then, we have constantly increased these sanctions with major decisions taken by all EU member states on SWIFT, North Stream 2, and against Vladimir Putin himself. Our sanctions are currently targeting 70 percent of Russia’s banking system including the Russian central bank with a ban on transaction involving the management of its reserves and assets with regards to defense. For the first time the 27 member states financed a European legal defensive weapons budget, worth a total of 1.5 billion euros for Ukraine. Sweden has called into question its principle of neutrality. Germany has increased its defense budget, and Denmark is preparing a referendum on this issue. The strategic compass has been approved, and following the Versailles summit on 10th and 11th March, the commission is expected to propose significant reinvestment in defense industries. And with a view to European energy independence, the european union is also committed to provide support to the Ukrainian government for its immediate needs. And once the Russian onslaught has seized for the reconstruction of a democratic Ukraine, the EU has now set up an international fund to help finance the reconstruction of Ukraine, and we look forward to the May 5th donors conference to provide concrete resources.

Finally, let us think of the millions of Ukrainian families impacted by Russia’s war. As of March 22nd, 10 million Ukrainians have had to leave their homes. 3.4 million are already in the European union. Under the French presidency of the EU, we have jointly decided to activate the temporary protection directive for the first time in our history. It will allow all Ukrainians and Ukrainian residents who are fleeing their country to be welcomed on the territories of the 27 member states, and to benefit from immediate protection, which can now be renewed to last up to three years. Ladies and gentlemen, I hope I have demonstrated to you how committed the EU is in this crisis. We will be on Ukraine’s side, and we support president Zelensky’s ambitious vision for Ukraine, modern, prosperous, forward-looking, and part of our European family. Thank you very much.

Speech of professor Nazli Choucri at the Conference “Remaking Ukraine – Toward an Age of Global Enlightenment”

Loeb House, Harvard University, April 29, 2022


Good morning, and I will be brief. Okay, straight to the point, and allow me to start with the obvious. These are difficult times, very difficult times, and they are very dangerous times. This is not the first time that a major power has invaded a neighbor that is smaller and weaker, as we are reminded by a statement made by the head of the WHO, but it is the first time, and this adds to the complexity of the current situation, that the world’s second largest nuclear power invades the world’s third nuclear power. So far we have seen, or we have heard of, we have assumed that the nuclear domain is in the background. It will never be touched, may that be the case. So far, the present aggression has been undertaken by traditional means, not pleasant means, but traditional ones we may see, and we may see the deployment of cyber capabilities, which are now still in the background. We may also see the deployment of cyber capabilities by Russia in other directions, directions that are intended to depress, reduce the support for Ukraine. Unfortunately, I do have to remind you that a number of states of countries have selected not to condemn Russia. Now that is a fact that has to be taken into account as we proceed, and that does not help. So what must be done, what are some essentials have already been mentioned, and I will just highlight a couple of them. They are all in one of your written papers, that have been circulated. And as a previous speaker noted, we have a short run, and we have a longer run. We can envisage what is needed in the short run, and there is very little disagreement among analysts, and there will probably be little disagreement among ourselves here as to what is needed to support Ukraine in the very very short run, meaning today, tomorrow, as needed. We know that humanitarian assistance is essential. In fact we keep repeating that, but we also know that regretfully the delivery accelerated, the delivery of advanced weapons, is also essential. We know that the current sanctions on the Russian system, Russian leadership, etc. must be continued. And we also know that there are movements for trying to organize a high level conference to bring the parties together.

To articulate conditions for maintaining the security and integrity of Ukraine, some of these issues will come back again today. There cannot be much disagreement, and other than what is required is certainly much a longer list than what I’ve just mentioned. Let me turn to the longer term, which is highly complex and may carry its own dynamics.

We would like to make sure that the message has becomes clear that compromising with excessive behaviors on dictators or authoritarian regimes creates backlashes and will not be tolerated. We have previously talked about the formation of an analogous type of program for the reconstruction of Ukraine, analogous to the martial plan that’s already has been mentioned, and we also know that for the long run we have to revisit what we consider our ethics, and our humanitarian perspectives, and the legal foundations for the robustness of the international system. And in that context, allow me to draw your attention or to publicize the book that the group has put together on remaking the world. It tries to be both ethical and pragmatic, and may have good ideas. Now I will conclude with some questions or issues for us all to think about, and that is we are in a transition. We are unfortunately in a transition, and we don’t see clearly what the past might be. We have a bifurcated world, which makes a cold war look really very pleasant in comparison with what we have now. There is some talk about encouraging the formation of mechanisms for a more robust alliance to support an easy transition, but as far as I can tell, so far they’re really just concepts and words. But what is very important is the evidence we have that Sweden and Finland may actually make an effort to apply for membership in NATO. Now in the broader context, this is quite an extraordinary set of moves, for it to happen. In the narrower context, short run, it signals how critical the present situation is, and how ways of dealing with the unpleasantness that we had in the past. At least these two countries recognize fully that they cannot walk the line in the middle, that they may have to take some kind of a position.

And to conclude, let me just say or ask you to think about what this might mean at the global level in the context of the fact that some countries, i don’t really know what their number is, or I don’t want to know what the number is, have not condemned the Russian move. So with this, I thank you for your attention.

Speech of Prime Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija at the BGF Conference “Rebuilding Ukraine”

Thank you, thank you very much. I’m really honored and privileged to be with you, and of course I want to thank to Michael Dukakis and Boston Global Forum for remaining such impressive group of people there in your premises in Boston. And of course us who are able to be with you, not share the floor but share the screen at least, along with such a very important topic of course, it’s my very honor and privilege also to its entire time to speak after my multiple president, president Danilo Turk, who is my president very many times, usually before as a president of Club de Madrid, and now as the Co-Chair  and president of the international center, which now I again very easily call my dear friend as my president Vaira. Of course after her speech about Ukraine especially about having in mind and her experience, her knowledge, her wisdom, and her passion about people who are going through such a terrible terrible terrible challenges like Ukraine people do, because as she mentioned obviously a very tough experience in her lifetime as refugees, running away from a similar type of evil that is chasing Ukrainian people today. Of course at the same time I have also actually shared with you a few of my personal experiences with a recent one and not so recently recent one is as a member of the NGIC team that and the leadership of Moldova we put together in the last month. First we want to visit refugees. Refugee acceptance in Moldova, in Romania, and in Poland, and that experience is in order to take some kind of let’s say make anything which is possible to somehow you know to help the people who just not so long time ago had normal lives that suddenly just fell apart. I was in, as i said in Moldova, at least in one few refugee center, and just to give you the feeling of it, Moldova is one of the smallest countries in Europe, but countries show that they’re a small nation but with enormously great heart. People have enormously great heart especially having in mind that they may be the next Ukraine. Moldova may be the next victim of Putin. Putin army but people over there trying to do their best in order to accept uh accept refugees from Ukraine. When you take a look, just from the perspective of Moldova, [which] is the country that today in schools one out of seven children in schools are refugees coming from Ukraine. Poland is a country that is accepting the biggest number of refugees and helping enormously, and this is something which, when I was there, I was seeing the same very same pictures go through in front of my eyes. That I saw 30 years ago, when i was Deputy Prime Minister and first independent republican Bosnian to governor government of the independence, where we were attacked by Regional Putin of that time, […]. The same type of mindset, the very same scenario, everything is déja vu. Everything that we are seeing today in Ukraine, from military perspective, propaganda perspective, brutality, the myths, the grandeurs as Vaira likes to say, I mean about great Russia or great Serbia 30 years ago. We saw all those things. And I remember 30 years ago it was first time when I met refugees just 30, 40 kilometers from my home city. There were people that looked exactly the same and they went exactly to the same things that people are going right now in Ukraine. Those are the people that just some months ago, or maybe not years but months ago, they had normal life. They were planning to have their summer vacation sometimes with graphic cards or some place in Spain, or you know just having normal life. Suddenly their lives were simply destroyed.

What I’m trying to say is that what was happening to us 30 years ago, it’s happening in Ukraine right now. And this has to be very clear signal to all of us that 20 or 30 years ago, it was in Bosnia or in Croatia or some place in western Baltimore. Today it is in Ukraine. Tomorrow it can be any place in Europe. I don’t want to go outside of Europe. I’ll just stay to Europe, so these are the things: if we do not confront them together, with force, with wisdom, with solidarity, then it can happen to any one of us. Next point is something which I want to share with you, is I think it is very important today. We are talking about rebuilding Ukraine, but first we have to talk and focus on defending Ukraine, defending Ukraine and helping people who are defending themselves, because today over in Ukraine they’re defending Ukraine, but they are not [just] defending Ukraine; they’re defending all of us; they’re defending Europe; they’re defending western Balkan, because after Ukraine, Georgia. After Georgia, maybe western Balkan, Baltic countries, Poland of course, Moldova, Bulgaria, who knows who can be the next. So it is very important that we do everything that’s in our power to show that we are standing up for Ukraine, that Ukraine has to be defended, and they will be rebuilt. And what is important to understand, that I think is very important: it is of crucial importance that we start showing today, that we are thinking together how we can rebuild Ukraine, rebuild Ukraine in economic sense, in the sense of not only economy, but the life way of Ukraine, which is educational facilities, healthcare facilities, cultural facilities, everything that actually is giving the substance to the life that will be happening. Of course connectivity as I said is one of the things that may help today, which was not available, because when my country was on the process of reconstruction 25 years ago. That connectivity, with that context, I think is most important in reconstruction, when it comes to technology, when it comes to information, when it comes to education, special education. That is part of our overall activities, about the social contract for the age of partitioning facial intelligence. We have to see how we can tackle and penetrate through these different layers of reconstruction of the country.

And the last point, it looks to me that I have mentioned very precisely, this troika: Peter the Great, Tataria the Great, and of course Putin. [They all try to be the first person to make a great Russia…] but Putin needs to be rebuilding, so to say, make Russia great again. And who knows, it feels like a joke, but frankly speaking, it’s not a joke [inaudible…]. In order to recreate a Great Serbia, Putin exterminated everyone who does not fit in great Serbia. Everyone who is not Serb and everyone who does not support Great Serbia is someone that has to be exterminated. But it’s kind of, you know, it was kind of strange to us, but you know last Communist leader is filling the myths of the past and trying to make a great nationalistic state, which basically speaking looks like kind of contradiction between […] strategy and nationalistic nations [inaudible…]

mindset that wants to use everything that is possible in order to put the people under its own mind: Great Serbia, Great Communist Country, Great Russia, great whatever, great. But the point is that our Putin is the fourth one. It’s kind of paradoxical that Stalin was not Russian. Katarina the Great, she was also not Russian. of course Peter the great was Russian. And listen, it looks like Putin would be the, let’s say he would make an even fight between Russians and non-Russians, are trying to make Great Russia. So this brings me back to my original point. Everything is understanding because we understand everything, and what we have to do is we have to show that we are together, and the world understands, everywhere in the world, that today fight for defending and rebuilding Ukraine is not quite the fight to defend only Ukraine, but this is the fight to defend the free world, world of moral [inaudible]. Today that we will do everything in our power to help Ukraine, help Ukraine to be, I won’t say great, just be normal, just be normal part of the free world.

So thank you thank you for the privilege to be with you today, and I really do hope that we will show that it is possible to stand after Ukrainian people, and to show to Putin that definitely sooner or later, his effort will come to nothing.

Professor Alex Pentland’s speech at the BGF Conference “Rebuilding Ukraine”

I’ll be very short here. I’m struck with the fact that in 1991 Estonia left the Soviet Union, and one of the things it did first is, it renovated its governance and its internal systems and deployed the first general blockchain system in the world because they were concerned about security. They needed a system that was distributed so the expected cyber-attack wouldn’t wipe them out. And I believe they’re the only country in the world that actually had a full-on national cyber-attack and survived it because of this infrastructure that they built. Now this is long before bitcoin and NFTs and all that sort of craziness. What they discovered is that the citizens loved this because it was greater transparency; you could see what was happening to your payments, what the government was doing, and it was enormously important in promoting the growth of the economy. McKinsey estimates that it’s somewhere perhaps around eight percent per year in adding to the rate of growth. And since then, other people have taken a page from that book. China for instance has put hundreds of millions of dollars into building their system which-I have seen over the past five years-has been deployed. Almost 200 million people use it today, and it’s being deployed because it makes for a better more secure trade. So, there’s a trillion dollars of investment moving into these things which are popularly called web 3.0 platforms, but really what they are is a new way of handling data and interacting with the government. Not to be outdone, Singapore along with JP Morgan has invested something north of 100 million dollars in developing their program for their trade investments, drove about a half a trillion dollars in the Indo-Pacific. We at MIT are helping countries like Switzerland build their own and Australia build their own, not out of any sense of goodness but because this allows them to be more secure in this age of attack and to be more transparent and more efficient. And recently we put together an alliance with the World Bank who is committed to bringing these sorts of advantages to mid-income and poor countries around the world which will result in much greater stability for many things including better tax, better commerce. EY is one of our core partners in this, and I think we are to make Estonia the poster child of doing this to make their internal systems hardened for the inevitable cyber-attacks and other things that are going to happen and also to promote their recovery of trade.

And that brings me to the final thing I want to mention which is the most important thing that has been destroyed in Ukraine are not the buildings. It’s the fact that the people are now dispersed. You have a refugee crisis where all the education, the social ties, all of the infrastructure, human infrastructure, are now scattered throughout that area of Europe, and you can use some of the same things to have them stay in touch with each other to rebuild their lives to make better decisions. And we have done initial examples of this for instance in Turkey with the Syrian refugees, in Colombia with the Venezuelan refugees. And I think it behooves us to do this sort of effort even better for the Ukrainian refugees, so that they can stay in touch with each other, so that they can know what is happening to them on the ground where they are, so that they can rebuild their lives, and hopefully also so that they can go back and rebuild Ukraine. So I’d love to talk to you about how we can go about doing this. So we and my team; we’re here where we wanted to be able to actually put things on the ground. So thank you.

Speech of German Consul General Nicole Menzenbach at the BGF Conference “Rebuilding Ukraine”

Good morning, everyone. I would like to start with a huge thank you to the Boston Global Forum for putting on this conference together. I would like to start with the fact that the horrors of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine mark a turning point in German foreign policy. This turning point, or Zeitenwende, as chancellor Olaf Scholz called it, is truly a sea change a sea change in foreign policy, a sea change in security and defense policy, and a sea change in energy and energy policy in Germany. For the first time, the German government is supplying weapons to a warring party, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced a plan to spend more than one billion euro to modernize our military force.

The approval is brought not only in the German parliament but also in the German population. The German government has announced on Tuesday that it will always also deliver tanks to the Ukraine. Kiev is only two hours away from berlin by plane the war crimes committed by the Nazi regime against the people of Eastern Europe are part of our collective memory. Those historical memories and seeing that an outside aggressor is bringing death and suffering to the people of Ukraine once again are the reason why Germany fundamentally changed its course of its foreign policy. The German people are doing everything they can to support refugees from Ukraine. So far more than 330,000 refugees have arrived, and the German people are welcoming with open arms.

Putin’s war of aggression also marked the end of an illusion for Germany. The assumption that we can achieve change within Russia and its government through diplomatic engagement and trade has failed. In January 2022, Germany took over the presidency of the G7. We understand that G7 is a group of democracies based on common values and global responsibility. During its one year of G7 presidency, Germany aims to tackle global challenges in a multilateral way together with our partners. We are working towards a global energy transition, a strong post-COVID economy recovery, and the prevention of the next pandemic. The war in Ukraine has dramatically shifted the attention of the G7 in the light of Russia’s unjustifiable unprovoked and illegal aggression against an independent and sovereign Ukraine. Our main objective has become to strengthen and the coordinated action of G7 along with our allies and partners in the world. The G7 nations are bringing together their collective economic weight in order to end the war in Ukraine as quickly as possible. As a result the G7 in coordination with the EU has implemented and is implementing unprecedented sanctions against Russia and Belarus. My colleague, the consul general of France Arnaud Mentré already spoke about this. And of course at the G7 level we also coordinate arms deliveries to Ukraine.

Let me end by saying it has been two months since Russia launched its unprovoked attack against its people and its peaceful neighbor. Faced by the horrifying war crimes committed by Russian troops, the people of Ukraine are fighting back heroically. This war affects the world, the whole world, whether you go along with the sanctions or not, whether you believe in international rule-based order or not.

As one of the largest industrial countries in the world, Germany has a responsibility to Ukraine. Two months after the start of the war, the crimes committed by Russia continue to dominate every headline in Germany. The German people are watching, and we are horrified by the suffering inflicted on the Ukrainian people. We are determined to work with our partners and allies to end this war as quickly as possible by imposing the heaviest possible sanctions on Russia and sending civilian and military aid to Ukraine. At the same time, Germany is addressing the humanitarian crisis by welcoming Ukrainians that needed to flee their own country. We will remain in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, and we are taking a long-term perspective on assisting Ukraine with military defense. I can also assure you that Germany will take a leading role in rebuilding Ukraine. Thank you.

Former Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s Speech at the BGF Conference “Rebuilding Ukraine”

April 29, 2022

Hello everyone. So pleasured, and I am really honored to address your forum. You know frankly I didn’t expect that we are to discuss the one of the biggest; actually, this is the biggest war after the Second World War in Ukraine, but it happened. Whether I expected that Russia is to invade Ukraine? Yes I do, but whether I expected that Russia will commit this  kind of atrocities and despicable crime in Ukraine? Frankly, no. Because, you know, you can’t have it in your mind; you can’t believe that this could happen in the 21st century. But I believe that we need to diagnose what really happened, and to find the root causes, and to find how to actually rebuild Ukraine, and how to make Ukraine stronger and how to save the free world. So why it happened? The only explanation I have is an absolute ideology of President Putin to restore the Russian empire or even the Soviet empire, an ugly copy of the Soviet empire. You know what happened with Russia and actually with Vladimir Putin, at the heart of this new ideology, which is nuanced? Russia. This is a copycat of Nazi ideology, but Putin already launched this ideology, and this is the bedrock of his ideology and of his country that he imagines. So what Putin wants to achieve?  No doubt that he wants to take over the entire Ukraine. This was his goal in 2004, in 2014, and 2022. He never reached this goal, and he will never reach this goal, but his ultimate goal was to take over Kiev, to take over Ukraine. He failed. What kind of next goals he has already? Actually, Putin wants next Belarus. He wants to exert a special influence over Kazakhstan, and if he wants, Putin he will move further in order to conquer both Georgia and Moldova and to pose a threat to the entire NATO, including Baltic states. So, he wants the collapse of NATO, and he wants to see the decline of the United States and of the free world.  Who is responsible for this kind of war and the atrocities? One can name only Putin. No doubt that Putin is a Nazi style leader, and he personally ordered this kind of aggression against the sovereign Ukraine, but Putin is not the only one. His military, his soldiers, these Russian soldiers that committed crimes against humanity, that committed war crimes, they tortured, raped, killed, kidnapped. So Putin, his cronies, his military, his soldiers, and I want to be very clear even the Russian people, because an overwhelming majority of Russian people support military aggression against Ukraine. Could you just imagine that around 70 percent of Russians, they actually underpin and back Putin’s atrocities against civilians in Ukraine?

Is there any kind of failures on our side? I would say yes. There are, and let me put it blunt, the diplomacy policies of the last two decades actually paved the way for Putin to invade Georgia, to commit war crimes in Syria, to illegally annex Crimea and to invade Ukraine. All this idea how to deter Russia with a new tool of economic and energy integration with the European union, they  failed, and we actually neglected the threats that Putin was very vocal about, in for  example during Munich Security  Conference, when he said about the Soviet  Union, and he was very open, actually saying that he wants to restore the Soviet Union. What kind of goals do we have right now? I mean we as the free world and we as Ukrainians, the most important goal and the crucial  one  is to save Ukraine and to save Ukrainians. Could you imagine that we already have around 12 million of those who fled the country and internally displaced persons?  It is two times the population of Massachusetts. Could you imagine that they are killing innocent people, innocent Ukrainians kids? What is happening right now on the ground is just unbelievable, unimaginable, so the biggest priority and the most  important task is to save Ukraine and to restore charitable integrity of the Ukrainian state. The next priority we have on the table is actually to defend the freedoms in the world and to protect NATO countries, to protect every single EU member state, and to protect every single countryman of the free world, where we are right now.

Ukrainians are fighting like hell. This this is a relentless fight, courageous fight, and the entire world commend men and women in the uniform, those Ukrainians who are fighting and who are actually much stronger than the Russian military. Putin didn’t expect this kind of unity among the Western worlds. The United States already marshaled a kind of strong anti-Putin alliance. It’s similar to anti-Hitler alliance, so we have already an anti-Putin coalition. NATO became stronger and is likely to expand. What we see, we see that Russian military is much weaker than expected. It is completely corrupted, and what we see at the battlefield is that the Ukrainian military, even despite being outnumbered, having less armored vehicles, less heavy weaponry, is stronger. There are some kind of minor territorial gains made by the Russian military, but what is needed, a large-scale counter-offensive of Ukrainian military in order to take back the territories that have been seized by Russia. What needs to be done, no doubt you are well aware of the action plan, that is needed for Ukraine, the most important issue is weaponry, both defensive and offensive heavy weaponry. And once again I command the United States, every single EU membrane state, Baltic states, Czech Republic, everyone, United Kingdom, in the strong and staunch support of Ukrainian people. Sanctions, those are preliminary and secondary sanctions, and we expect that the secondary sanctions will be imposed, and the current sanctions will be registered. We have very plenty of deliberations over the energy embargo. Yeah, I know that some folks project a huge GDP decline, for example in Germany due to energy embargo. Maybe this is to happen in the short run, but in the long run Europe has to realize that you need  to get off the Russian energy hook  because  energy is no longer energy in Russia. This is the weapon and we realized this in 2014, and I was the prime minister who decided to get rid of dependence on the Russian gas problem, and we actually reached the goal. What is needed for Ukraine now, a large-scale financial support. I will give you the numbers. Could you imagine that we are to have around 70 billion US dollars of the budget deficit till the end of this year, so we are running a huge budget deficit, and as for now in order to survive financially and economically, Ukraine needs  to get a very strong financial support  from the free world. The data shows that we already received around 5.2 billion US dollars, but the problem is that only 221 million out of this 5.2 billion dollars are in grants. The rest are the loans that have to be repaid. Ukraine is in a very dire financial situation, so we are not ready to repay this debt in the short run and in the medium run.

In order to offset and to compensate all these losses, I believe that the world has to realize  that we need to craft a new global order, a new global order which allows the  world  to seize and to liquidate Russian assets, an overall amount of Russian assets that  have been frozen by the wealthy is about one trillion dollars, so we urgently need to pass the  legislation which is needed in the  United States, in EU member states, in the United Kingdom, all around the world, in  Switzerland, in order both to seize and  to liquidate these Russian assets and to  send them to Ukraine in order to rebuild  Ukraine. The second very important issue is how to bring to justice those responsible, the current legal system of international criminal court and the international court of justice which is in place is not really effective. So what is needed is a new kind of legal process against Putin, and this is to be one of the primary targets of the free world. This is completely unacceptable to have the P5 member which is Russia that commits atrocities and crimes against humanity in the United Nations, and the UN has urgently to advance itself, to revamp itself, in order to save the global peace and order. And the most important, I would tell you that I believe that Ukraine is to win and to prevail. I am strongly confident, and we will build new Ukraine stronger, Ukraine which is the member of the European Union and NATO, Ukraine with the vibrant democracy, Ukraine with the liberal and effective economic system, Ukraine with no corruption, Ukraine which is a strong member of the free world.

Once again, thank you for a chance to address you, and I want to commend and to tell thank you to every single country that supports Ukraine. This is our joint fight, and we’re going to win this fight. Thank you.