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<strong>57</strong><br />




President<br />

European<br />

Council<br />



PRINCE<br />




AL SAUD<br />

H.E.<br />

DILYOR<br />


Ambassador<br />

of Uzbekistan<br />

H.E.<br />



Ambassador<br />

of Georgia<br />

H.E.<br />

MARINA<br />


Ambassador<br />

of the<br />

Republic<br />

of Serbia<br />

HON.<br />



Deputy Foreign<br />

Minister<br />

of Uzbekistan<br />

HON.<br />



Lao PDR,<br />

Minister / President,<br />

Lao Women’s<br />

Union<br />

H.E.<br />

KIM<br />


Ambassador of<br />

South Korea<br />

H.E.<br />

JUSTIN<br />

BROWN<br />

Ambassador<br />

of Australia<br />

Summer 2018 www.diplomatic-world.com Quarterly edition<br />

P409937 - v.u. Barbara Dietrich, Beiaardlaan 25b, 1850 Grimbergen, Afgiftekantoor Mechelen X<br />








Sheer<br />

Driving Pleasure<br />

Sheer<br />

Driving Pleasure<br />


Environmental information (RD 19/03/04): www.bmw.be<br />

1.9-7.4 L/100 KM • 44-164 G/KM CO2 (NEDC)<br />

Environmental information (RD 19/03/04): www.bmw.be<br />

1.9-7.4 L/100 KM • 44-164 G/KM CO2 (NEDC)<br />

Jean-Michel Martin West<br />

Boulevard Industriel 125<br />

1070 Jean-Michel Brussels Martin West<br />

Tel. Boulevard 02 521 Industriel 17 17 125<br />

www.jmmartin.bmw.be<br />

1070 Brussels<br />

Tel. 02 521 17 17<br />

www.jmmartin.bmw.be<br />

Ginion Overijse<br />

Brusselsesteenweg 403<br />

3090 Ginion Overijse<br />

Tel. Brusselsesteenweg 02 687 91 40 403<br />

www.ginion.bmw.be<br />

3090 Overijse<br />

Tel. 02 687 91 40<br />

www.ginion.bmw.be<br />

BMW Brussels<br />

Branch of BMW Belux<br />

Chaussée BMW Brussels de Louvain 864<br />

1140 Branch Brussels of BMW Belux<br />

Tel. Chaussée 02 730 de 49 Louvain 11 864<br />

www.bmwbrussels.be<br />

1140 Brussels<br />

Tel. 02 730 49 11<br />

Davo<br />

www.bmwbrussels.be<br />

Tongeren bvba<br />

Maastrichtersteenweg 529<br />

Exit Davo 32 Tongeren - E313 bvba<br />

3700 Maastrichtersteenweg Tongeren 529<br />

Tel. Exit 012 32 - 23 E313 71 55<br />

www.davo.bmw.be<br />

3700 Tongeren<br />

Tel. 012 23 71 55<br />

www.davo.bmw.be<br />

Jean-Michel Martin East<br />

Rue François Desmedt 96<br />

1150 Jean-Michel Brussels Martin East<br />

Tel. Rue 02 François 772 08 Desmedt 20 96<br />

www.jmmartin.bmw.be<br />

1150 Brussels<br />

Tel. 02 772 08 20<br />

www.jmmartin.bmw.be<br />

Bilia-Emond Arlon<br />

Route de Bastogne 394<br />

6700 Bilia-Emond Arlon Arlon<br />

Tel. Route 063 de 23 Bastogne 05 60 394<br />

www.bilia-emond.bmw.be<br />

6700 Arlon<br />

Tel. 063 23 05 60<br />

www.bilia-emond.bmw.be<br />

Ginion Waterloo<br />

Chaussée de Bruxelles 54<br />

1410 Ginion Waterloo<br />

Tel. Chaussée 02 352 de 03 Bruxelles 30 54<br />

www.ginion.bmw.be<br />

1410 Waterloo<br />

Tel. 02 352 03 30<br />

www.ginion.bmw.be<br />

Louyet Mons<br />

Rue des Sandrinettes 48<br />

Louyet 7033 Mons-Cuesmes<br />

Tel. Rue 065 des 40 Sandrinettes 02 00 48<br />

www.louyet.bmw.be<br />

7033 Mons-Cuesmes<br />

Tel. 065 40 02 00<br />

www.louyet.bmw.be<br />

2<br />

BMD1800215 - <strong>Diplomatic</strong> sales_2017 - Serie 5_270x210_BEUK.indd 1 14/02/18 16:55<br />

BMD1800215 - <strong>Diplomatic</strong> sales_2017 - Serie 5_270x210_BEUK.indd 1 14/02/18 16:55







Address: Beiaardlaan 25<br />

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T +32 2 770 03 06<br />

www.diplomatic-world.com<br />


Barbara Dietrich<br />

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ir. Marc Kintaert<br />

CEO<br />

Barbara Dietrich<br />


Bruno Devos I Philippe Billiet I Marc Kintaert<br />

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©2018 <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> Magazine<br />




Pursuing its humanitarian mission of peace for all,<br />

the Universal Council for the Peace of the Nations<br />

and Continents, "CULPAC" – international nongovernmental<br />

organization existing since 1979 – realizes<br />

the Universal Conference for the Peace from the<br />

5 to 6 September 2018 in the European Parliament<br />

in Brussels.<br />

The Conference will be attended by well-known<br />

international figures, European, American,<br />

Asian and African deputies, as well as<br />

world-renowned non-governmental organizations.<br />

Being always enterprising by her remarkable actions<br />

for peace in the world, Mrs. Barbara Dietrich, CEO<br />

of <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> will take an active part in the<br />

organization of this universal conference for peace.<br />


INDEX DIPLOMATIC WORLD <strong>57</strong><br />

4<br />


President of the<br />

European Council<br />

10th anniversary<br />

of Polonicus!<br />

36<br />

H.E. KIM<br />


Ambassador of<br />

South Korea<br />

58<br />





Former Ambassador<br />

in North Korea<br />

NEOM<br />



His Royal Highness<br />

Prince Mohammed bin<br />

Salman bin Abdulaziz<br />

Al Saud<br />

8<br />


AND THE 55TH<br />


OF THE<br />

EU-KOREA<br />


BHUTAN<br />




38 60<br />


12<br />

H.E.<br />



Ambassador<br />

of Georgia<br />




WORLD ?<br />

40 62<br />

With Irene Natividad<br />



AROUND<br />


H.E. MARINA<br />



H.E. DR. SERGIO<br />


Ambassador<br />

of Serbia<br />

16<br />

Ambassador<br />

of Australia<br />

Ambassador of<br />

43 66<br />

Colombia<br />

20<br />

H.E. Z. LEVENT<br />


Ambassador of the<br />

Republic of Turkey<br />



46 68<br />

Ambassador of Laos<br />



‘THE LIGHT<br />

OF SPIRIT’<br />





Deputy Foreign<br />

Minister<br />

of Uzbekistan<br />

24<br />


IN AWEN<br />



52<br />




70<br />

2<br />

30<br />

H.E. DILYOR<br />


Ambassador<br />

of Uzbekistan<br />

55<br />






79<br />






SUMMER 2018<br />

80<br />


WORLD<br />


Meta-Morphosis<br />



114 140<br />










HUMAN<br />


& AI<br />

Prof Dr.<br />





90 116 144<br />

Jan De Maere<br />

BETTER<br />

98<br />




OUT OF THE<br />


120<br />




IN PORT OF<br />



OPERA<br />

148<br />



Former Dean,<br />

University of Ghana<br />

Medical School<br />


President of<br />


at the Association’s<br />

60th anniversary<br />

celebration<br />







102 124<br />


‘AS-SALAM<br />

ALAYKOM’ …<br />

‘WA ALYKOM<br />

AS-SLAM’<br />

154<br />


MOSCOW 2030<br />

WHERE<br />

104 126<br />


LA<br />


158<br />




Tribute to the first<br />

1911 Saint Petersburg<br />

Monaco Rally<br />








108<br />







128<br />


GEMA<br />

SPIEF'18<br />




160<br />

112<br />

ZURICH'S<br />




OLD MONEY,<br />


IN FRONT<br />

138<br />







164<br />








“History happens just before our very eyes” –<br />

this holds true for the spirit and atmosphere<br />

of the Polonicus ceremony which had its 10th<br />

anniversary in the beautiful Aachen Coronation<br />

Hall of Charlemagne. These ten years are now part<br />

of Poland's history and of Polish and European<br />

politicians.<br />

The 2018 ceremony recalls that for the last ten years<br />

the annual “Polonicus” prize has been awarded by the<br />

European Institute for Culture and Media Polonicus to<br />

honor “the conduct and attitude to improve the German<br />

and Polish dialogue in Europe and the development of the<br />

Polish culture in Europe.” The Polonicus statue represents<br />

a dynamic, brave, winged human figure.<br />

Among the previous winners of the Polonicus prize are<br />

renowned people like Professor Władysław Bartoszewski,<br />

Professor Jerzy Buzek, Professor Norman Davies,<br />

Professor Karl Dedecius, Krystyna Janda, Archbishop<br />

Alfons Nossol, film director Andrzej Wajda, Professor Jan<br />

Miodek, Professor Leszek Balcerowicz, and the winner of<br />

the Nobel Peace Prize Lech Wałęsa.<br />

in Germany. They are the founders of the Chorus<br />

Benedictus. This choir was established as a part of the<br />

Polish Catholic Mission in Wuppertal in 1989 and is now<br />

well known in Europe.<br />

The Polonicus awardee Jerzy Owsiak was honored for<br />

his outstanding engagement for the development of<br />

the civil society. Mr. Owsiak has organized important<br />

contributions for many Children’s Hospitals in the past.<br />

The recent ceremony was of special importance not only<br />

because it was the 10th anniversary but also because of its<br />

awardees.<br />

Prof. Rita Süssmuth was one of this year’s awardees. She<br />

served many years as President of the German Bundestag<br />

and was among the first politicians to visit Poland after the<br />

historical free election in 1989. She received the Polonicus<br />

prize for her longstanding support of the German-Polish<br />

dialogue. Prof. Süssmuth has served as chair of the Deutsch-<br />

Polnische Wissenschaftsstiftung (DPWS) and as president of<br />

the Deutsches Polen-Institut (DPI) for many years.<br />

Roza and Benedikt Frąckiewicz got the Polonicus award<br />

4<br />

to honor their support of Polish culture and organization<br />

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council<br />

© Dariusz Manka

Wiesław Lewicki, Jerzy Owsiak, Armin Laschet, Donald Tusk, Roza and Benedikt Frąckiewicz<br />

© Dariusz Manka<br />

All the guests of the prize ceremony in the Coronation<br />

Hall of Charlemagne awaited the awardee of this year’s<br />

special Polonicus prize. This honorary prize was awarded<br />

to Donald Tusk who has been the President of the<br />

European Council since 2014. Formerly he served as<br />

Prime Minister of Poland from 2007 to 2014. Donald<br />

Tusk has already received the important Charlemagne<br />

Prize in the Aachen Coronation Hall in 2010 to honor<br />

his service for the European unification.<br />

The president of the Polonicus Prize Jury, Wiesław<br />

Lewicki, recalled the important role of Poland in Europe.<br />

Poland is proud that among those who carried forward<br />

the historical project of the European unification several<br />

outstanding people came from Poland, including Donald<br />

Tusk, the former President of European Council Jerzy<br />

Buzek and of course the Polish Pope John Paul II.<br />

It is always a special moment to reward a prize for<br />

European understanding and unification in Aachen,<br />

the place where Charlemagne ruled and united<br />

much of western and central Europe in the early<br />

middle ages.<br />

Wiesław Lewicki<br />

© Dariusz Manka<br />


In his acceptance speech Donald Tusk emphasized the<br />

fundamental importance of the European project which<br />

has been carried forward since the end of the disastrous<br />

Second <strong>World</strong> War. He also recalled that the end of the<br />

First <strong>World</strong> War and the reconstitution of the Republic<br />

of Poland happened 100 years ago. He reminded us that<br />

it took a long time to rebuild a spirit of reconciliation<br />

between the people of the various European countries.<br />

Such spirit should not be destroyed by thoughtless and<br />

imprudent actions and actors. We need to identify and<br />

oppose such irresponsible people in order to stay firmly,<br />

proudly and positively committed to work for unity and<br />

peace in Europe.<br />

Robert Nawrat and Wiesław Kutz<br />

Armin Laschet <br />

Minister President Nordrhein-Westfalen<br />

© Dariusz Manka<br />

6<br />

Armin Laschet - Minister President Nordrhein-Westfalen, Ulrike Bolenz, Artist with Portrait of Donald Tusk, Donald Tusk - President of the European Council<br />

and Barbara Dietrich - CEO <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> Magazine <br />

© Dariusz Manka

Donald Tusk and Iwona Nawrat <br />

© Dariusz Manka<br />

Donald Tusk and Robert Nawrat<br />

© Dariusz Manka<br />

<br />

© Dariusz Manka<br />


NEOM<br />



His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman<br />

bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy<br />

Prime Minister and Chairman of the Public<br />

Investment Fund (PIF), announced on 24 October<br />

2017 the launch of NEOM.<br />

The city will be built in Saudi Arabia from scratch and will<br />

span 26.500 square kilometers (more than 33 times the<br />

land area of New York City). It will have more robots than<br />

humans. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz<br />

Al Saud envisions it as a “civilizational leap for humanity”.<br />

NEOM is born from the ambition of Saudi Arabia’s Vision<br />

2030 to see the country develop into a pioneering and<br />

thriving model of excellence in various and important areas<br />

of life. NEOM aims to drive the transformation of the<br />

Kingdom into a leading global hub through the introduction<br />

of value chains of industry and technology.<br />

“We want the main robot and the first robot in Neom<br />

to be Neom, robot number one,” the crown prince said.<br />

“Everything will have a link with artificial intelligence, with<br />

the Internet of Things – everything.”<br />

“NEOM will focus on 9 specialized investment sectors<br />

and living conditions that will drive the future of human<br />

civilization, energy, water, mobility, biotech, food,<br />

technological & digital sciences, advanced manufacturing,<br />

media and entertainment with livability as its foundation.<br />

The focus on these sectors will stimulate economic growth<br />

and diversification by nurturing international innovation<br />

and manufacturing, to drive local industry, job creation<br />

8<br />

NEOM CEO Dr. Klaus Kleinfeld and His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud<br />

and GDP growth in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. NEOM<br />

will attract private as well as public investments and<br />

partnerships. It will be backed by more than $500 billion<br />

over the coming years by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the<br />

local Saudi Public Investment Fund as well as international<br />

investors.”<br />

NEOM commands a unique location to bring together the<br />

best of Arabia, Asia, Africa, Europe and America. It resides<br />

in the Northwestern region of Saudi Arabia, and spans over<br />

26.500 km 2 . By overlooking the waterfront of the Red Sea to<br />

the South, the West and the Gulf of Aqaba, NEOM enjoys<br />

an uninterrupted coastline stretching over 468 km, with a<br />

dramatic mountain backdrop rising to 2.500 m to the east.<br />

A constant breeze leads to mild temperatures. The wind and<br />

sun will allow NEOM to be powered solely and entirely by<br />

regenerative energy.<br />

Africa, which will add to the zone’s economic significance.<br />

NEOM’s land mass will extend across the Egyptian and<br />

Jordanian borders, rendering NEOM the first private zone<br />

to span 3 countries.<br />

Investments and financing will play a vital role in NEOM,<br />

set to be spearheaded by the Kingdom’s economy and<br />

supported by PIF – a major global fund with access to a<br />

worldwide network of investors and major companies – set<br />

to be brought onboard to drive its success.<br />

With the ambition of becoming one of the world’s future<br />

economic and scientific capitals, in addition to being the<br />

future commerce capital of Saudi Arabia, NEOM is set to<br />

attract new foreign direct investment that will contribute to<br />

PIF’s long-term growth strategy, aimed at strengthening the<br />

Saudi Arabian economy.<br />

NEOM is situated on one of the world’s most prominent<br />

economic arteries, through which nearly a tenth of the<br />

world’s trade flows. Its strategic location will also facilitate<br />

the zone’s rapid emergence as a global hub that connects<br />

Asia, Europe and Africa, enabling 70% of the world’s<br />

population to reach it in under 8 hours, which brings the<br />

potential to combine the best of major global regions<br />

in terms of knowledge, technology, research, teaching,<br />

learning, living and working. The site will also become the<br />

main entrance to the King Salman Bridge, linking Asia and<br />

NEOM is developed to be independent of the Kingdom’s<br />

existing governmental framework, excluding sovereignty. It<br />

will adopt a regulatory framework that fosters technological<br />

as well as societal innovation and entrepreneurship in<br />

accordance with international best practices. Investors,<br />

businesses, and innovators will be consulted at every step<br />

of the development in how best to create the economic<br />

framework, design the urban plans and attract top quality<br />

talent that will drive the growth of this zone and its resident<br />

population.<br />


“NEOM will be constructed from the ground up, on<br />

Greenfield sites, allowing it a unique opportunity to be<br />

distinguished from all other places that have been developed<br />

and constructed over hundreds of years. We will use this<br />

opportunity to build a new way of life with excellent economic<br />

prospects. Future technologies form the cornerstone for<br />

NEOM’s development: disruptive solutions for transportation<br />

from automated driving to passenger drones, new ways of<br />


growing and processing food, healthcare centered around<br />

the patient for their holistic well-being, wireless high speed<br />

internet as a free good called “digital air”, free world-class<br />

continuous online education, full scale e-governance putting<br />

city services at your fingertips, building codes that make netzero<br />

carbon houses the standard, a city layout that encourages<br />

walking and cycling and all solely powered by renewable<br />

energy, just to name a few. All of this will allow for a new<br />

way of life to emerge that takes into account the ambitions<br />

and outlooks of humankind paired with the best future<br />

technologies and outstanding economic prospects.”<br />

NEOM will achieve its ambitious goals of becoming among the<br />

top secure areas in the world – if not the most – by adopting<br />

the future technologies in the fields of security and safety. This<br />

will raise the standards of public life activities and ensure the<br />

safety and protection of residents, visitors and investors.<br />

All services and processes in NEOM will be 100% fully<br />

automated, with the goal of becoming the most efficient<br />

destination in the world, and in turn be implemented in<br />

all activities such as legal, government, and investment<br />

procedures among others. Additionally, it will be subject<br />

to the highest sustainability standards, and will provide all<br />

transactions, procedures, and claims through paperless and<br />

electronic means.<br />

A new concept for the workforce will be implemented, based<br />

on attracting high-caliber human resources with unique<br />

competencies for full-time innovation, decision making and<br />

business leadership. Repetitive and arduous tasks will be<br />

fully automated and handled by robots, which may exceed<br />

the population, likely making the NEOM’s GDP per capita<br />

the highest in the world. All these elements will put NEOM<br />

at the world’s forefront in terms of efficiency which will<br />

make it the best destination in the world to live in.<br />

“This place is not for conventional people or conventional<br />

companies, this will be a place for the dreamers of the<br />

world,” the crown prince said. “The strong political will and<br />

the desire of a nation. All the success factors are there to<br />

create something big in Saudi Arabia.”<br />

For further information on NEOM please visit<br />

http://www.discoverneom.com<br />

Article by H.E. Abdulrahman<br />

Bin Suleiman Al Ahmed,<br />

Ambassador of the Custodian<br />

of the two Holy Mosques to the<br />

Kingdom of Belgium and the<br />

Grand Duchy of Luxembourg<br />






As a double-hatted Ambassador to Belgium and<br />

Luxembourg as well as Head of Mission to the European<br />

Union, I have an enormous task which is both challenging<br />

and inspiring. Georgia is a country of ancient civilization,<br />

with a long and tumultuous history but with the drive and<br />

determination to succeed of a young nation. Yet it is a<br />

country not very well known in this part of Europe. Belgians<br />

are slowly discovering Georgia as the number of tourists<br />

increase and attention grows to the ‘old new’ destination.<br />

I wish to make Georgia better known in Brussels and I<br />

wish to show its creative, dynamic, cultural side which<br />

rarely makes it to the news headlines. For these purposes<br />

economic and cultural diplomacy are among the most<br />

effective tools for promoting one’s country, strengthening<br />

bilateral ties and establishing friendship between people.<br />

The term often used is people to people contact, which I do<br />

not like as it sounds so devoid of emotion. It is more than<br />

contact, it is about connection. I am convinced that culture,<br />

arts and education is the only way to forge deep, longlasting<br />

connections and this in turn will make Georgia’s case of<br />

becoming part of the European family of nations stronger<br />

in the eyes of the public here. Cultural and economic<br />

diplomacy in my experience are not secondary to the<br />

pursuit of state interests, to the contrary they are effective<br />

means to this end.<br />

the friendships I have made with Belgians through cultural<br />

cooperation. I have an academic background and<br />

I enjoy being a guest lecturer at various Belgian universities,<br />

meeting students and talking to them about Georgia, its<br />

past, its current challenges and its hopes. More and more<br />

Georgian students are studying in Belgium, becoming an<br />

integral part of the fabric of our bilateral ties.<br />

12<br />

In the last five years of my being in Brussels, we have<br />

established a very close cooperation with the Bozar<br />

Museum. There is a memorandum of cooperation signed<br />

between Bozar and the Georgian Ministry of Culture and<br />

almost every season, there are Georgian artists presenting<br />

their work in Brussels. We have organized concerts,<br />

exhibitions, film festivals and we enjoy this collaboration<br />

immensely. I often say that most memorable moments of<br />

my experience in Brussels, those that I will cherish long<br />

after being gone, are linked to those cultural events and to<br />

Natalie Sabanadze, ambassador of Georgia

Skyline of Tbilisi and Narikala Castle, Tbilisi, Georgia<br />

© Shutterstock<br />

Georgia has been gradually increasing its presence in<br />

Brussels. As a country aiming at eventual membership<br />

of the EU, we are slowly but surely bringing Georgia’s<br />

political, economic and legal standards closer to the<br />

norms established inside the EU. This is what Georgia’s<br />

Association Agreement with the EU is about, which<br />

was signed in 2014. We are deepening the scope of our<br />

cooperation in most of the sectors of economic life.<br />

Products made in Georgia are entering European markets.<br />

On the other hand, European businesses are more and<br />

more interested in expanding in Georgia, which is one of<br />

the easiest countries of the world for doing business. The<br />

<strong>World</strong> Bank ranks Georgia in the top ten countries for the<br />

ease of doing business, which is a remarkable achievement<br />

and which shows that Georgia is trying to compensate for<br />

the small size of its market with its efficient and corruption<br />

free institutions and administration in order to become<br />

a regional hub for business, logistics and transport. I<br />

hope that more and more Belgian companies will become<br />

interested in doing business in Georgia and we work closely<br />

with chambers of commerce, encouraging them to organise<br />

trade missions and look out for business opportunities in<br />

Georgia. Some Belgian companies are already present in<br />

Georgia such as Tractebel and Goslan.<br />

When it comes to bilateral political relations between<br />

Georgia and Belgium and Luxembourg, we are proud<br />

to have these two founding members of the European<br />

Union as our close partners and friends. We are all small<br />

countries that have faced similar challenges throughout<br />

the history but each one of us has found different ways<br />

of dealing with them. There is so much that Georgia can<br />

learn from Belgium especially in areas of managing ethnic<br />

and linguistic diversity, overcoming political divisions<br />

through constant dialogue and ability to cooperate and<br />

forge coalitions with political rivals. Last year we celebrated<br />

25 years of diplomatic relations between our countries.<br />

This year we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the<br />

foundation of the first Democratic Republic of Georgia. It<br />

is noteworthy that Belgo-Georgian friendship takes root in<br />

those turbulent years of post <strong>World</strong> War I, when Europe<br />

was in flux and young Georgian democracy, which escaped<br />

from the clutches of Tsarist Russia emerged as an appealing<br />

experiment in progressive social democracy to European,<br />

including Belgian, socialists.<br />

Despite being on the edge of Europe, at the crossroad of<br />

oriental and western Christian civilizations, Georgia has<br />

always considered itself culturally and politically European.<br />


What does this mean, however? Today there is much<br />

debate about what constitutes common European culture<br />

and identity and how it can serve as a unifying factor for<br />

the European Union. Much of European history is closely<br />

interconnected, however, it is a history of strife and war<br />

as well as peaceful cooperation. With the fall of large<br />

empires in Europe and the rise of nation-states, culture<br />

and identity became national and its character assisted<br />

with the democratization of political life and creation of a<br />

standardised system of education.<br />

It is therefore not surprising that people in Europe have<br />

first and foremost an attachment to their national identity.<br />

However, its presence does not exclude or contradict the<br />

existence of a European identity and it is becoming more<br />

developed with time and with the help of programs such<br />

as Erasmus and Creative Europe. Identities are multiple,<br />

layered, thick or thin. They are not normally mutually<br />

exclusive. It is precisely the perceived exclusivity of identity<br />

that has been and continues to be the cause of so many<br />

wars in the world. I see no contradiction in having a strong<br />

sense of belonging to the Georgian nation, to its culture<br />

and customs and at the same time, feeling that I am part of<br />

a bigger European cultural tradition. It is this diversity of<br />

national cultures that makes common European culture so<br />

rich and so real.<br />

There is a reason why Georgia, which freed itself from<br />

the Soviet empire only 25 years ago, is so eager to join<br />

the European Union in the future. We believe in this<br />

project which brought peace, stability and prosperity to<br />

the European continent and which is based on principles<br />

of sovereign equality and non-domination. It is a union<br />

of those who share the same values and to a large extent<br />

the same interests and who cherish their own diversity<br />

and pluralism. It is also a union of small to medium sized<br />

states, which have to stick together in order to increase<br />

their own security and political weight in the global affairs.<br />

The union driven by economic and political interests can<br />

only be strengthened by a common cultural framework. At<br />

times when resources are scarce, unfortunately, it is the<br />

cultural sphere that suffers first and becomes the target of<br />

cuts. It should be the opposite. Precisely at times of flux and<br />

uncertainty, art and culture offer us a much needed shelter,<br />

which we can all share.<br />

14<br />

View of the Ushguli village at the foot of Mt. Shkhara.<br />

© Shutterstock

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15<br />

MBS8041555_<strong>Diplomatic</strong> Solutions_E-Kl_297x225mm_01-2018.indd 3 19/01/2018 13:34





I was appointed the Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia<br />

to the Kingdom of Belgium in late August 2017. For Serbia,<br />

Belgium is one of the very important countries – it is one<br />

of the founders of the European Union, and seat of the<br />

European Union and NATO, as well as other international<br />

organizations. Due to its institutional setting, and its<br />

regional and European experience and role, Belgium is also<br />

a very interesting country from which we can learn a lot,<br />

primarily how to make compromises and base our solutions<br />

on dialogue and reconciliation, with mutual respect. For the<br />

region I come from, that is essential and Serbia is making<br />

huge efforts to work jointly on a better future and not to<br />

focus our discussions on the past.<br />

Bilateral relations with the Kingdom of Belgium have a long<br />

history and the two countries have had rich ties for years.<br />

They were first established in 1879 and in 1886, when the<br />

Kingdom of Serbia had a diplomatic envoy in Brussels.<br />

Also, Belgian investors were active in Serbia in the 19th<br />

century, in mining. In fact the first railway in Serbia, in<br />

Negotinska Krajina, was built on Belgian concession.<br />

Robermont in Liège for instance, there are Serbian graves of<br />

victims and the Serbian flag is raised with the flags of other<br />

countries, as we commemorate the Armistice Day together.<br />

Having in mind that the year of 2018 is devoted to the<br />

commemoration of the end of the First <strong>World</strong> War, I most<br />

certainly hope that our two countries will organize a joint<br />

event – both here, as also in Serbia.<br />

Bilateral cooperation and high-level dialogue are also much<br />

intensified. Just recently the Prime Minister of the Kingdom<br />

of Belgium, Mr. Charles Michel has visited the Republic of<br />

Serbia and had very useful and fruitful talks with Serbian<br />

President, Mr. Aleksandar Vučić and Serbian Prime<br />

Minister, Ms. Ana Brnabić on various topics. It was the<br />

first visit of a Belgian Prime Minister in more than 8 years,<br />

Furthermore on, the first privileged National Bank of<br />

Serbia, back in 1884, was developed with the support of<br />

skilled staff from the Belgian National Bank, and the first<br />

Serbian bank notes were even printed in Belgium. The<br />

appropriate exhibition was prepared some years ago to mark<br />

the fruitful cooperation among two national institutions,<br />

lasting over 100 years.<br />

16<br />

Last but not least, I should mention that the first democratic<br />

constitution in Serbia – Sretenje Constitution (1835) was<br />

made following, among others, the Belgian constitutional<br />

model from 1831.<br />

It is interesting to know that our two countries collaborated<br />

in the First <strong>World</strong> War, and that we were among the<br />

countries that suffered the most. On the Cemetery of<br />

H.E. Ms. Marina Jovićević, Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the<br />

Kingdom of Belgium

Belgrade, Serbia. Kalemegdan Fortress in the night, ancient Singidunum.<br />

© Shutterstock<br />

and I was truly pleased that we managed to realize it within<br />

a rather short period of my stay here as the ambassador.<br />

Parliamentary cooperation has also been intensified, and<br />

in December 2017 we organized a visit of the members of<br />

the Friendship group with the Kingdom of Belgium from<br />

the Serbian National Assembly, who came here and met<br />

with chairpersons from Belgian and Flemish Parliaments,<br />

and the chair of IPU for Serbia. I hope that by the end of<br />

this year, we will see more visits at the ministerial level –<br />

primarily in areas where dialogue is very intense – such as<br />

foreign affairs, security and internal affairs.<br />

Serbia is host to a number of investors from different parts<br />

of Belgium, and at the moment over 50 Belgian companies<br />

have successful businesses in Serbia. Having in mind<br />

Serbian potentials as the investment destination (favorable<br />

business climate, good geographic position, diversified and<br />

high qualified labor market, low wages, subsidies given<br />

to the investors, free zones, and wide scope of free trade<br />

agreements giving an access to the market of 1.3 billion<br />

population) I truly believe that during my mandate the<br />

other Belgian companies will establish their businesses in<br />

Serbia. In the last year, foreign trade exchange was over<br />

half billion euro. A total of 26 agreements in different areas<br />

have been signed between the two countries. One area<br />

where I see a lot of potential is tourism. In 2017 we have<br />

evidenced an increase of 38% in the number of tourists<br />

from Belgium visiting Serbia, but we need to work harder<br />

to attract Belgian people to come to Serbia and meet our<br />

people.<br />

Serbia has been negotiating with the European Union<br />

on the accession since January 2014 and so far we<br />

managed to open 12 negotiating chapters, close 2 chapters<br />

provisionally, and have 5 negotiating positions for chapters<br />

technically ready for opening but waiting for political and<br />

technical consent from EU member states. We certainly<br />

hope that in June, during the Bulgarian EU Presidency we<br />

will open at least 3 to 4 negotiating chapters. Our aim is<br />

to try to reach the indicative date – 2025 that was given<br />

in “A Credible Enlargement Perspective for an Enhanced<br />

EU Engagement with the Western Balkans” – presented<br />

on February 6, 2018. However, keeping in mind the<br />

not favorable situation in the EU when it comes to the<br />

perception of the enlargement, I truly believe that more<br />

people-to-people contacts would contribute to a better<br />

understanding and to the perception that the European<br />

Union is where we belong.<br />


Serbia has always been a part of Europe, and with the<br />

European Union we share not only geographic, historical or<br />

cultural space, but first and foremost, we share the values<br />

and principles. The best illustration might be our actions<br />

during the migration crisis, where Serbia has significantly<br />

contributed to the management of migratory movements<br />

via the Western Balkan route, proving to be a credible and<br />

responsible partner to the EU despite the huge migratory<br />

pressure it has been exposed to.<br />

Although Serbia has for centuries been the scene of<br />

frequent wars, devastation, fires and mass-migrations, as it<br />

was positioned on the turbulent roads connecting East and<br />

West, our rich cultural and historical legacy and diversity,<br />

as well as sites of natural beauty, make Serbia a country of<br />

great interest for tourism. We can say that this multicultural<br />

melting pot has led to a wonderful array of historical sites,<br />

attractions, cuisines, and traditions. Serbia is frequently<br />

considered to be Europe’s best kept secret, but in recent<br />

years it is increasingly discovered by tourists.<br />

Testaments to prehistoric life in our part of the region<br />

are the numerous archaeological sites, such as Lepenski<br />

Vir or Vinča that are globally known. There are also the<br />

important remains of Roman roads and towns which<br />

today bear witness to six centuries of the presence of the<br />

Roman Empire on the territory of Serbia, or the very many<br />

evidences of the Ottoman Empire that could attest to the<br />

several centuries’ long influence. Among the most important<br />

are the Christian cultural monuments – Serbian Orthodox<br />

monasteries, built between the 12th to 15th century,<br />

as for example, the Stari Ras and Sopoćani, Studenica<br />

monastery, as well as Visoki Dečani, together with the<br />

Patriarchate of Peć, Gračanica and the Our Lady of Ljeviš<br />

church in Prizren in Kosovo and Metohija that are listed on<br />

the UNESCO <strong>World</strong> Heritage List. Besides them, Slava, the<br />

celebration of the family saint patron day and Kolo, Serbian<br />

traditional folk dance were also inscribed to the UNESCO’s<br />

intangible cultural heritage list. Recently, during the Balkan<br />

trafik festival, Serbian kolo was presented in the Grand<br />

Place in Brussels.<br />

It is important to know that all those historic periods left<br />

certain characteristic marks on our history and that no<br />

monument is identical, each having its own peculiarities<br />

and traits. This is unique in Europe because the East was<br />

connecting with the West in our region, and there were<br />

also influences coming from the North and the South.<br />

This is also true of our customs and our cultural regions.<br />

Moreover, the Yugoslav socialist experiences in the fields of<br />

architecture and memorials are being researched in detail<br />

globally today and the Museum of Modern Art in New York<br />

will dedicate a big exhibition to this during the current<br />

year.<br />

18<br />

Majestic view of the River in eastern Serbia.<br />

© Shutterstock

Beautiful view of the historic center of Belgrade on the banks of the Sava River, Serbia<br />

© Shutterstock<br />

The EU has made 2018 the European Year of Cultural<br />

Heritage to highlight the diversity, shared history and<br />

rich cultures that make Europe today. Serbian cultural<br />

institutions are participating in the Europeana project and<br />

almost a million exhibits of Serbian cultural heritage are<br />

available on this European digital platform.<br />

I would like also to point out that Novi Sad – the<br />

administrative, economic, cultural, scientific and touristic<br />

centre of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, a<br />

multicultural region with 26 ethnic groups and six official<br />

languages – is the first non-EU city that will be the<br />

European Capital of Culture in 2021 and European Youth<br />

Capital in 2019.<br />

Serbia is also a country that has delivered some of the<br />

world’s greatest minds whose work has significantly<br />

changed the world we live in today. Everybody knows<br />

that the Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla was the “father of<br />

electricity”. Thanks to another famous Serbian scientist,<br />

Milutin Milanković, we now know that the Earth’s climate<br />

is predominantly influenced by factors coming from space,<br />

especially the Sun, and that this allows us to predict the<br />

changes and the arrival of the next ice age with great<br />

certainty. Serbian scientist Mihajlo Pupin participated in the<br />

very founding of NASA, he won the Pulitzer Prize and was<br />

the first Serb who was awarded with this prestigious award.<br />

He is most famous for inventing the “Pupin coils” that<br />

perfected the phone and allowed us to talk across large<br />

distances, and hear each other clearly while enjoying the<br />

connection without noise.<br />

At the very end, I would like to mention the Serbian Nobel<br />

Prize laureate for literature in 1961: Ivo Andrić. He was a<br />

truly European figure since he was educated, worked and<br />

lived in many European cities and was coherent with the<br />

value of over-national and over-confessional identity. He<br />

was even posted as a Yugoslav diplomat here, in Brussels,<br />

in 1929, and we decided to present his work primarily<br />

to students, such as those in Slavistic department in the<br />

University in Ghent, where there is a lector for Serbian<br />

language, but also to others in the European College in<br />

Bruges and in the University of Antwerp.<br />

I would like to finish this interview with one of the messages<br />

given by HR EU Ms. Federica Mogherini, in her address<br />

before the Serbian Parliament in 2017: “I believe our<br />

Union will not be complete as long as Serbia, and all the<br />

Western Balkans, will not join our family. This country and<br />

this region lie at the very heart of Europe. The history of<br />

Europe was written in these lands, throughout the centuries;<br />

it’s a history that needs to be honoured through a joint<br />

celebration of our European identity; it’s a history of arts,<br />

literature, of rights and liberties.”<br />









At the dawn of the 21st century, after decades of Cold<br />

War dividing the international community into ideological<br />

blocks, there was a strong sense of optimism and hope<br />

across the globe that the world would finally be a better and<br />

safer place to live. In other words, the end of the Cold War<br />

was expected to usher in a new era of peace, security and<br />

prosperity, ending the decades-long divisions and bringing<br />

all the people of the world together around certain universal<br />

values and ideals.<br />

However, almost 20 years into the third millennium,<br />

it is obvious that we have not yet been able to make<br />

much progress in fulfilling this vision. Indeed, despite<br />

unprecedented opportunities presented by the dynamics of<br />

globalization and advances in technology, the world today<br />

is unfortunately neither more secure nor more democratic<br />

than 20 years ago. In addition to the conventional conflicts<br />

which continue to undermine our security, we are now faced<br />

with new and evolving risks and threats, such as terrorism,<br />

WMD proliferation, organized crime, drug, human<br />

and weapons trafficking, cyber-attacks, hybrid warfare,<br />

environmental degradation and intercultural and interfaith<br />

tensions, to name a few.<br />

haven’t we learned this reality the hard way, first in 2001<br />

when the failure of the state in Afghanistan led to the 9/11<br />

bombings in the USA by Al-Qaeda or more recently in<br />

Syria when a repressive regime started a war against its own<br />

people which in turn led to the emergence of yet another<br />

ruthless terrorist organization, this time DEASH.<br />

This is why the need for true international cooperation<br />

against such common risks and threats facing us all has<br />

never been so acute and real. We will either work together<br />

in solidarity with each other and share the benefits of<br />

20<br />

Even more importantly, these risks and threats are no<br />

longer confined to certain geographies, which means that<br />

there is no country in the world today which can claim to<br />

be immune from the negative impact of these challenges.<br />

Neither geography, nor economic and political differences<br />

can be a shield any more. Indeed, in today’s globalized<br />

world, whatever happens in any part of the earth has direct<br />

ramifications on the entire international community. And<br />

H.E. Z. Levent Gümrükçü

Istanbul city bird view<br />

© Shutterstock<br />

globalization or fail to act in concert as a community and<br />

thus suffer together the consequences of our inability to<br />

do so. From climate change to migration, terrorism to<br />

humanitarian crises, cyber warfare to hate crimes, the<br />

international community should be able to think and act in<br />

a collective and coordinated manner so as to put in place<br />

the necessary measures that will help us tackle our common<br />

problems and take advantage of the existing and emerging<br />

opportunities.<br />

Given its geostrategic location at the confluence of all these<br />

threats and opportunities, Turkey is among those countries<br />

who feel that need maybe more than many others. Indeed,<br />

fighting against several terrorist organizations at the same<br />

time; bearing the brunt of the crisis in Syria including by<br />

hosting more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees; acting as a<br />

bridge between Europe and Asia not only in a geographic<br />

but political and economic sense too; constituting an energy<br />

hub between the Caspian and Middle Eastern oil and<br />

natural gas reserves and the Western markets; being the only<br />

member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)<br />

which is also a member of NATO and a candidate for EU<br />

membership, Turkey not only appreciates too well the need<br />

for true international cooperation, but is also well placed to<br />

contribute to it. In other words, international cooperation,<br />

for us, is not a choice but an obligation that we have to<br />

support with all the means available to us.<br />

However, international cooperation is not something that<br />

happens automatically or just by paying lip service to it.<br />

The key to successful international cooperation lies in<br />

meaningful dialogue among nations that will allow us to<br />

better understand each other and find the ways and means<br />

to jointly act upon our common objectives and ideals.<br />

Indeed, without true dialogue, a sense of joint ownership<br />

and mutual understanding, any project of cooperation is<br />

doomed to remain limited, failing to translate our words and<br />

promises to actual deeds and deliverables.<br />

This is exactly why Turkey has taken the lead in launching<br />

several initiatives aiming at providing a platform to different<br />

nations, organizations and private stakeholders to agree<br />

on a common vision vis-à-vis common challenges. The<br />

Alliance of Civilizations, for instance, which we have<br />

initiated with Spain to create an environment of better<br />

understanding and tolerance between different religions by<br />

stressing on what unites us rather than what separates us,<br />

is currently the second largest international organization<br />


after the United Nations. Likewise, the Mediation for<br />

Peace initiative, which we have launched with Finland is<br />

the only intergovernmental body within the United Nations<br />

promoting conflict prevention and crisis management<br />

through peaceful means of negotiation and mediation.<br />

In all these and many other initiatives, our goal is to deliver<br />

concrete results that will benefit us all. Subject to basic<br />

norms and principles of international law and conduct,<br />

we are not acting with prejudices against any party that<br />

can bring an added value to our common objectives. For,<br />

we know that the world is no longer ruled by a bipolar or<br />

unipolar system and that broad-based multilateralism is key<br />

to effectively addressing the manifold challenges facing us<br />

all. This is why, for instance, in the context of Syria, Turkey<br />

is the only country which can and does work with Russia,<br />

Iran, US and France at the same time to achieve a peaceful<br />

and lasting solution of the crisis. This is also why Turkey<br />

brings the members of the EU and the OIC together in a<br />

joint platform to discuss one of the most sensitive issues of<br />

the Middle East Peace Process, the status of Jerusalem.<br />

To sum up, the world today is at a crossroads with<br />

unprecedented opportunities and challenges, both a direct<br />

consequence of the globalization engulfing the whole planet.<br />

To remain on the right side of this historical and irresistible<br />

process depends on all nations of the world since we are all<br />

co-partners in this journey, irrespective of our geographic<br />

location, economic might or political orientation. In other<br />

words, no country is immune to the challenges facing us and<br />

no single country alone can steer the process in the right<br />

direction. We have to learn to work together and do so in<br />

the widest possible framework. Those who recognize this<br />

growing need for effective international cooperation through<br />

dialogue and understanding will always find a willing and<br />

able partner in Turkey.<br />



Date of Birth: 27 November 1968<br />

Place of Birth: Ankara, Turkey<br />

Marital status: Married, two children<br />

Foreign languages: English, French<br />


1986 – 1990 – Department of International Relations,<br />

Middle East Technical University, Faculty of<br />

Administrative and Economic Sciences, Ankara<br />

CAREER<br />

1990 - 1991 Third Secretary, Department of Human<br />

Rights and Council of Europe,<br />

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ankara<br />

1991 – 1993 Deputy Chief of Cabinet of the Minister<br />

of Foreign Affairs, Ankara<br />

1993 – 1996 Third Secretary, Embassy of the<br />

Republic of Turkey in Washington D.C.<br />

USA<br />

1996 – 1998 Second Secretary, Embassy of the<br />

Republic of Turkey in Tehran, Iran<br />

1998 – 2000 First Secretary, Policy Planning<br />

Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,<br />

Ankara<br />

2000 Senior Course Member, NATO Defense<br />

College, Rome<br />

2000 – 2004 Counsellor, Permanent Mission of<br />

Turkey to NATO, Brussels<br />

2004 – 2006 Head of Department at the Policy<br />

Planning Division,<br />

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ankara<br />

2006 – 2010 First Counsellor, Permanent Mission of<br />

Turkey to the United Nations,<br />

New-York<br />

2010 – 2013 Minister Counsellor, Deputy Director<br />

General of the Policy Planning Division,<br />

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ankara<br />

2013 – 2014 Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign<br />

Affairs, Ankara<br />

2014 – 2017 Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey<br />

to Georgia<br />

01.12.2017 Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey<br />

to the Kingdom of Belgium<br />










EGMONT<br />

The Royal Institute for International Relations.<br />

The last 1.5 years were very rich in political and socioeconomic<br />

news in Uzbekistan. People feel that they are<br />

standing on the threshold of great changes, they want to<br />

be a part of vast transformations and development, and are<br />

committed to create a modern, democratic and fair society<br />

where the main principle is simple and clear: “The human<br />

interests come first”.<br />

and accessible to the people would be the main goal of the<br />

Strategy. The key idea is that “the people must not serve the<br />

government bodies, but rather the government bodies must<br />

serve the people”.<br />

24<br />

After a smooth transit of power and conducting<br />

unprecedentedly open and transparent presidential<br />

elections, we have initiated a Strategy of Development of<br />

Uzbekistan, which was adopted as a result of extended<br />

public deliberations and learning the best international<br />

practices. While developing it, we tried to be introspective,<br />

not only to assess our strengths and capabilities but also<br />

to pay close attention to our miscalculations and mistakes<br />

in the past. The People’s Reception Centres under<br />

the President’s office as well as the President’s Virtual<br />

Reception, which received more than 1.5 million complaints<br />

and proposals from the population, helped to achieve these<br />

goals.<br />

The study of people’s appeals revealed that most of the<br />

problems, starting from domestic issues to socio-political<br />

matters, arose from the lack of proper understanding<br />

and cooperation between the authorities and citizens.<br />

That is why the President of Uzbekistan, Mr. Mirziyoyev,<br />

declared that making the Government more accountable<br />

H.E. Abdujabar Abduvakhitov

H.E. Dilyor Khakimov - Ambassador of Uzbekistan and H.E. Abdujabar Abduvakhitov - Deputy Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan<br />

We started to engage closely with the most prominent<br />

international organizations on promoting human rights and<br />

civil liberties, advancing democratic values and the rule of<br />

law. For the first time in decades UN High Representative<br />

on human rights, Mr. Al Hussain, and United Nations<br />

Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Mr.<br />

Ahmed Shaheed, Representatives of “Human Rights Watch”<br />

visited Uzbekistan and adopted a joint plan of actions with<br />

the governmental bodies on improving the human rights in<br />

Uzbekistan. We are closely working with the International<br />

Labor Organization on eradicating child and forced labor in<br />

the country. We invited the activists of “Cotton Campaign”<br />

who were the most vocal on these problems, we asked their<br />

advice on how to cope with these archaic approaches on<br />

cotton picking and marketing.<br />

At least 17 thousand people were removed from the<br />

Government’s “extremists watchlist”. The Government<br />

has embarked on a programme of reintegration into the<br />

community of those citizens who were stigmatized or<br />

ostracized through alleged religious extremism. Prisons<br />

have adopted a similar rehabilitative approach towards their<br />

inmates. Parliament and the citizens were given the power<br />

to supervise the activities of all law enforcement agencies<br />

in terms of protection of human rights and freedoms. Laws<br />

were amended to make Judiciary’s independence genuine.<br />

If you ask what is the single most eye-popping change that<br />

happened over the span of one year in Uzbekistan, I would<br />

say it is the awakening of media and stirring up of civil<br />

society due to increased freedom of speech. The irony is<br />

that, now Uzbek journalists criticize governmental bodies<br />

much harsher and more often than their colleagues from<br />

the Western Media do. Initially though people were kind of<br />

reluctant to speak openly to media because of self-censure,<br />

but later on people started to realize the power of speech.<br />

At the same time governmental officials are seen more<br />

often on TV. For example, Foreign Minister Abdulaziz<br />

Kamilov gave 3 press conferences, two of them on Live TV,<br />

6 briefings and over 30 interviews to local and international<br />

correspondents.<br />

I can confidently say that the changes in Uzbekistan are<br />

irreversible. I personally see optimism in the faces of the<br />

people of Uzbekistan who sincerely value the achievements<br />

and lively engaging and contributing to modernizing the<br />

country.<br />

Of course, many challenges lie ahead on the course of<br />

implementing the Strategy, overcoming pressing problems,<br />

achieving targets and utilizing colossal potential of the<br />

country. But these obstacles must neither be underestimated<br />

nor allowed to overwhelm the endeavor.<br />


One of the most important areas of reform is a liberalization<br />

of the economic system of Uzbekistan and the creation of<br />

a favorable investment climate. Uzbekistan ensured free<br />

convertibility of its national currency in September 2017.<br />

Simultaneously, we are overhauling our financial sector,<br />

fighting against bureaucracy in the banking system, red tape<br />

and corruption, selective enforcement of regulations.<br />

The Ombudsman on protecting the rights of businesses was<br />

created recently. The taxes on businesses were reduced, the<br />

access to credits and loans were eased. New free economic<br />

zones with large scale benefits to foreign investors were<br />

created. The cooperation with international financial<br />

institutes is intensifying day by day.<br />

Uzbekistan will continue engaging with <strong>World</strong> Bank, EBRD,<br />

European Investment Bank, ADB and Asian Infrastructure<br />

Investment Bank in order to carry out projects on energy,<br />

transport, agriculture, housing, supporting small business<br />

and private entrepreneurship.<br />

We are also looking forward to advancing cooperation<br />

with IMF and other Western financial institutions in order<br />

to improve investment in business climate, enhancing<br />

monetary regulations, banking and financial systems.<br />

Diversifying international trade, economic, investment and<br />

technological links, attracting international investment,<br />

increasing the export of local goods and services to foreign<br />

markets remain some of the most important tasks of our<br />

foreign policy.<br />

For these purposes we intend to enhance cooperation<br />

with relevant international structures in order to acquire<br />

sovereign credit ratings, increase the position of Uzbekistan<br />

on various international rankings and indexes. We plan<br />

to organize a major International Investment Forum in<br />

Tashkent in 2018.<br />

We are looking forward to establishing close interaction<br />

with ranking agencies and projects such as “Economist<br />

Intelligence Unit”, “Doing business”, “<strong>World</strong> Justice Project”<br />

and other organizations to insure objective assessment of<br />

ongoing reforms within the country and get their advises on<br />

how to improve our positions on different rankings.<br />

In our foreign policy, we were able to achieve a<br />

breakthrough in developing cooperation with a number<br />

of our partners and international organizations, resolving<br />

decades-long regional problems, improving regional trade<br />

and economic links, advancing people to people contacts,<br />

protecting the rights of our citizens living abroad.<br />

For the last 1.5 years there were more than 20 presidential<br />

level visits, about 60 meetings with the heads of countries and<br />

international organizations. They resulted in signing more<br />

than 230 agreements and 200 contracts for the amount of $60<br />

billion. To implement those accords more that 40 roadmaps<br />

were adopted, including one with the EU. Uzbekistan’s<br />

chief foreign policy priority is to advance the atmosphere of<br />

peace and good-neighborliness with the countries of Central<br />

Asia. We have to maintain and strengthen the dynamics of<br />

cooperation, which we achieved in 2017.<br />

Nowadays we are witnessing a totally new political<br />

environment in the region thanks to a successful<br />

implementation of the principle “Central Asia - main<br />

priority”. We were able to resolve most of the issues –<br />

water and energy, border, security, trade, communications.<br />

The signing of a border agreement with Kyrgyzstan<br />

profoundly contributed to the regional security of Central<br />

Asia. Establishing a visa-free regime with Tajikistan and<br />

opening direct air flights between Tashkent and Dushanbe<br />

opened new opportunities for advancing regional trade and<br />

economic cooperation. With Turkmenistan we launched<br />

several communications and energy projects which would<br />

benefit the whole of Central and South Asia.<br />

Joint efforts of Uzbekistan and other countries of Central<br />

Asia are bearing fruits: trade turnover among countries<br />

is increasing substantially, cross-border partnership is<br />

intensifying, road connectivity, railroad and air links<br />

are improving. Most importantly - mutual trust and<br />

understanding, the links of friendship between the nations<br />

are strengthening.<br />

I am confident that all these efforts will turn Central<br />

Asia into a zone of stability, sustainable development and<br />

friendly cooperation.<br />

26<br />

We are planning to ease the visa system for foreign<br />

investors, skilled specialists and tourists. We continue<br />

to undertake comprehensive measures to strengthen the<br />

protection of rights and interests of Uzbek citizens living<br />

abroad.<br />

Of course, when we speak of Central Asia we should not<br />

forget that Afghanistan is also attached to the region<br />

historically, geographically and politically. It is our<br />

neighbor, on the most important component of the regional<br />

security system.

Samarkand, Uzbekistan, View of Sher Dor Madrasah through the carved wooden door of Registan - landmark of Samarkand.<br />

© Shutterstock<br />

It is pertinent to say that a stable and prosperous<br />

Afghanistan is a must for the regional security of Central<br />

Asia. Achieving peace in Afghanistan mainly depends<br />

on economic development, so regional countries should<br />

actively contribute in this process.<br />

That is why Uzbekistan stepped up bilateral cooperation<br />

with Afghanistan and for the first time joined multilateral<br />

endeavors on reaching Afghan accord. We established the<br />

position of Special Representative in Afghanistan.<br />

When it comes to Uzbekistan’s current approach towards<br />

Afghanistan, it is pertinent to mention the following:<br />

First, the ongoing war in Afghanistan time and again<br />

proves that there is no military solution to this crisis.<br />

The only way to peace is through dialogue between the<br />

Kabul Administration and Taliban. The peace process<br />

should be Afghan led, in Afghan territory and without<br />

any precondition. Any differences should be the topics for<br />

negotiations.<br />

Second, since the Afghan crisis has gained regional and<br />

international dimensions, and the structure and content<br />

of the war has changed, it is important that global<br />

and regional powers reach certain understandings on<br />

Afghanistan. So, besides intra-Afghan consensus, there<br />

should be broader agreement on regional and international<br />

levels.<br />

Third, one of the most important conditions for Afghan<br />

peace is reaching economic sustainability, self-sufficiency<br />

and integration to regional economic and transport<br />

infrastructures. Afghanistan should be seen as a part of the<br />

solution for intensifying regional cooperation and not as a<br />

part of a problem.<br />

It is important to continue economic and technical<br />

cooperation by international donors for Afghanistan. Aid<br />

should not increase only when things are getting worse,<br />

otherwise we would be giving wrong signals to Afghan<br />

people. All these issues were thoroughly discussed during<br />

the International Tashkent conference on Afghanistan in<br />

March this year. Afghan President, High Representative<br />

Federica Mogherini, more than 20 ministers and heads of<br />

international organizations also attended the conference<br />

and reiterated their support for Afghanistan.<br />

For the last 1.5 years the presidents of Uzbekistan and<br />

Afghanistan have met six times, two meetings of IGCs were<br />

held, political consultations took place at the beginning of<br />

the year, and overall, Afghan and Uzbek delegations are<br />


28<br />

meeting several times a month to advance cooperation.<br />

Uzbek companies supply electricity, fruits, oil, fertilizers, and<br />

participate in implementing developmental projects. Overall<br />

we are keen on increasing the level of trade turnover from<br />

current 400 millions to 1.5 billion within the next few years.<br />

One of the major agreements, we recently reached, is MoU<br />

in building rail road, automobile road and electricity line<br />

on the “Mazari-Sharinf – Shberghan – Maymane – Heart”<br />

route. This will not only contribute to the development of<br />

Afghanistan but also increase its role as a regional trade hub.<br />

The new development in relation with Afghanistan is that<br />

we agreed to educate Afghan specialists. Only last year we<br />

have received more than 100 Afghan girls and boys, and we<br />

have built a special college for them. We plan to increase<br />

the number of students to 300. They are pursuing degrees<br />

in various fields, including Uzbek language and literature,<br />

restoration of cultural and historical buildings, maintaining<br />

rail roads and operating trains. In this regard we would be<br />

glad to cooperate with our European partners.<br />

We are committed to continue engaging with Afghanistan,<br />

participate in international efforts on finding a lasting<br />

solution to the Afghan conflict.<br />

Recent developments in the region proved that the Central<br />

Asian states are capable of addressing and resolving their<br />

own problems. What is more, they are capable of reaching<br />

agreement of most sensitive issues, including that of<br />

managing water resources, demarcation and limitation of<br />

our national borders, transportation, communications on<br />

how to manage our energy resources, and how to develop<br />

our region in such a way that it becomes a prosperous and<br />

peaceful region.<br />

The region has been attracting more and more attention, and<br />

Central Asia is strategically important due to a number of<br />

circumstances. Here I need to mention the politics of major<br />

players and our immediate neighbours Russia, China, India,<br />

Pakistan, and the permanent challenge that stems from<br />

Afghanistan. Let us not forget about the human, natural and<br />

energy resources of the region, and what is more, this region<br />

is a space where transport, communications and interests of<br />

different forces meet and mingle.<br />

For us, it is important that the EU attributes strategic<br />

significance to, and wishes to establish a strong, long-term<br />

partnership with Central Asia with a view to ensuring<br />

peaceful, flourishing, sustainable and stable socio-economic<br />

development in the region, in accordance with the EU<br />

Global Strategy and the UN Sustainable Development<br />

Goals. In our view, the key areas for cooperation with<br />

European countries should include economic cooperation,<br />

namely trade, investment and financial cooperation, as well<br />

as high technology transfer, links in the fields of science,<br />

technology, education, the environment, tourism, healthcare<br />

and culture, and – importantly – the strengthening of<br />

regional security.<br />

Uzbekistan considers the review process that has been<br />

started concerning the Strategy for a New Partnership<br />

of the EU and Central Asia to be a positive step and<br />

supports the EU's intention to prepare a new Strategy for<br />

the region by the end of 2019 with the involvement of the<br />

Central Asian countries. In our opinion, the Strategy has<br />

contributed to increased mutual understanding and respect,<br />

the consideration of Uzbekistan's specific needs in the<br />

framework of assistance projects, including concerning rural<br />

development, improving the population's living conditions<br />

and raising agricultural productivity, etc.<br />

In this connection, I would like to set out Uzbekistan's<br />

vision for the effectiveness of the EU Strategy for Central<br />

Asia:<br />

1. We share the EU's view that the depth of cooperation<br />

between the EU and the parties in our region has to depend<br />

on the intentions and needs of the individual countries<br />

in the region, and must take full account of differences in<br />

socio-economic development.<br />

We believe that delivery of the Strategy should take into<br />

account the interests of both the EU and Central Asian<br />

countries, bearing in mind their respective levels of political,<br />

socio-economic and social development.<br />

Taking a differentiated approach to cooperation with<br />

the countries of the region will enable the EU to gain a<br />

deeper awareness of the specific features of each State's<br />

development model, and will also enable it to maintain<br />

a balanced and objective approach when assessing<br />

developments there.<br />

2. For Uzbekistan, it is important that the EU's initiatives<br />

concord with the fundamental provisions of the Republic<br />

of Uzbekistan's Action Strategy for five priority areas for<br />

development for 2017-2021, which should form the basis for<br />

political dialogue and cooperation between Uzbekistan and<br />

the EU in the economic sphere and in the field of technical<br />


I would like to point out that this Action Strategy envisages<br />

radically enhancing the effectiveness of the carried out<br />

reforms, establishing the conditions for the comprehensive<br />

and rapid development of the State and society, and the<br />

implementation of priority areas for the modernization of<br />

the country and liberalization in all areas.<br />

3. Despite efforts to enhance the effectiveness of the<br />

Strategy, there are still some specific issues impeding the<br />

full accomplishment of the objectives which it lays down. In<br />

particular, effective implementation of the Strategy does not<br />

appear to be possible without strengthening the economic,<br />

and specifically the investment component. In the first<br />

place, this means liberalizing access to the EU market for<br />

Central Asian countries and actively attracting European<br />

investment and technology transfer to modernize and<br />

develop our countries' economies.<br />

In this connection, one of the objectives of the EU Strategy<br />

for Central Asia should be the comprehensive deepening<br />

and expansion of Uzbekistan's relations with the EU and its<br />

Member States, primarily in the fields of trade, economics<br />

and investment, and in the financial-technical sphere.<br />

It is essential to include the following issues in the Strategy:<br />

modernization and technical re-equipment of branches<br />

of industry, establishment of new manufacturing facilities<br />

etc. In particular, this would mean the creation of joint<br />

manufacturing and technological alliances in sectors such<br />

as energy, mechanical engineering, chemicals and petrochemicals,<br />

electronics, pharmaceuticals, production of<br />

building materials, the textile industry and information and<br />

communications technologies, among others.<br />

Barbara Dietrich and H.E. Abdujabar Abduvakhitov<br />

Erasmus Mundus and, since 2014, under Erasmus Plus.<br />

Over the past 20 years, together with the EU, our country<br />

has implemented more than 80 projects, with a total value<br />

of more than EUR 32.2 million, involving 55 educational<br />

institutions in Uzbekistan and more than 150 higher<br />

education institutions in 10 partner countries and 22 EU<br />

Member States.<br />

Twenty projects are currently running, involving 42 higher<br />

education institutions: 16 in Tashkent, and 26 in 10 of the<br />

provinces of our country and in Karakalpakstan. They are<br />

focused on the development of a range of new master's<br />

degrees, including in highway construction and transport<br />

engineering, the development of innovative activities by<br />

higher education institutions, foreign language teaching, IT,<br />

etc.<br />

4. We see great opportunities in a cooperation with the<br />

EU in the fields of transition to greater democracy, the<br />

rule of law, the creation of civil society and the protection<br />

of human rights and freedoms. Uzbekistan's five-year<br />

development strategy envisages further strengthening the<br />

role of Parliament and political parties, firmly establishing<br />

the rule of law and a genuinely independent judiciary,<br />

reinforcing public authorities' liability and increasing the<br />

transparency and accountability of their action, and other<br />

fundamental social reforms.<br />

5. Uzbekistan is ready to support concrete EU proposals<br />

for the development of mutually beneficial cooperation<br />

in the sphere of education and training. We are in favour<br />

of continuing to work together under the EU educational<br />

programmes, operating previously under Tempus and<br />

The relevant ministries and departments in Uzbekistan<br />

are studying the list of priorities for the period 2018-2020<br />

drawn up by the European Commission concerning the<br />

review of national priorities as regards activities under the<br />

EU Erasmus Plus programme for capacity-building in the<br />

area of higher education.<br />

We are also ready to participate in the new EU Horizon<br />

2020 programme for scientific research and technological<br />

innovation, which has an overall budget of EUR 78 billion.<br />

We believe that Uzbekistan and the EU have significant<br />

untapped potential, in particular in the political, economic<br />

and investment areas. These sectors are especially important<br />

to support the overall processes of modernisation and<br />

reform that are ongoing in our country.<br />





30<br />

What potential does Uzbekistan have for Tourism;<br />

what special attributes should make it appealing for<br />

tourists?<br />

Uzbekistan has a rich history that dates back Millennia.<br />

As archeologists witness that it is one of the most ancient<br />

places inhabited by humans and goes back 1 million years.<br />

Just during the last 50 years, scientists have detected several<br />

settlements of people of the Stone Age.<br />

Located in the core of the Great Silk Road, at the crossroad<br />

of people migration and commercial routes, Uzbekistan was a<br />

cradle of original cultures born as a result of contacts between<br />

the settled and nomadic people. All main world religions<br />

and cults developed here like nowhere else: Zoroastrianism,<br />

Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.<br />

Uzbekistan, where there are many ancient and beautiful<br />

architectural monuments of history and culture, attracts<br />

tourists from all over the world. Currently, there are<br />

more than 7.3 thousand objects of cultural heritage in<br />

Uzbekistan, including more than 4.2 thousand objects<br />

of archaeological and more than 2 thousand objects of<br />

architectural heritage. More than 500 of them are included<br />

in tourist routes. Eight protected territories, three national<br />

nature parks, six state natural monuments and eleven<br />

reserves are also of great tourism potential. The whole<br />

world knows the historical cities of Uzbekistan such as<br />

Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Shakhrisabz, Termez as the<br />

pearls of the Great Silk Road.<br />

As live memory of nations, laid this unique road<br />

connected East and West, can serve ancient Uzbek cities<br />

like Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Shakhrisabz, Termez,<br />

Tashkent with their architectural monuments, that<br />

personifies the centuries old history of the Great Silk Road.<br />

Is the tourism potential of Uzbekistan still<br />

untapped? How do you plan to help it meet its<br />

potential?<br />

I would like to emphasize that Uzbekistan as a unique<br />

country on whose territory the most ancient civilizations<br />

and cultures emerged and developed has a huge tourist<br />

potential, which may compete with the best travel<br />

destinations around the world.<br />

Today there are more than 7 thousand unique historical<br />

monuments and majestic examples of unique architecture<br />

in the country. The pearl of the rich and diverse nature<br />

of the country are its picturesque reserves and national<br />

parks. The country has carefully preserved and developed<br />

a centuries-old traditions of national culture, art and<br />

handicraft. The symbol of oriental hospitality is widely<br />

known in the world, as are its national cuisine and culinary<br />

traditions.<br />

Our main task today is to increase foreign public awareness<br />

about our touristic potential. First we are going to launch<br />

big active promotion campaigns with the assistance of<br />

the most popular broadcasting companies such as BBC,<br />

Euronews, CNN, Discovery and many others.<br />

In addition, we are working on promoting of the<br />

Uzbekistan destination brand on social media such as<br />

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and others. We now<br />

have our own pages uzbekistan.travel in all these social<br />

networks.<br />

Moreover, Uzbekistan always participates with its national<br />

stand in such well-known touristic fairs as FITUR in<br />

Madrid, ITB in Berlin, MITT in Moscow, JATA in Japan,<br />

Top Resa in France and WTM in London.<br />

The other way to make Uzbekistan a popular destination is<br />

to organize familiarization trips for media representatives.<br />

Only in the first four months of 2018 representatives of<br />

more than 20 countries (China, Belgium, Great Britain,<br />

France, Germany, Austria, Russia, Azerbaijan, South Korea,<br />

Japan, Singapore and others) visited our country in order to<br />

prepare publications about the beauty of Uzbekistan.<br />

With our embassies and consulates abroad, we organize<br />

different events demonstrating history, culture, traditions,<br />

life style and national cuisine of Uzbek people.<br />

All of this is only a small part of what we do for the<br />

promotion of our country.

H.E. Dilyor Khakimov - Ambassador of Uzbekistan, Barbara Dietrich and H.E. Abdujabar Abduvakhitov - Deputy Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan<br />

How many tourists are currently visiting<br />

Uzbekistan per year? Are you seeing any growth?<br />

Last year. 2.790.000 tourists visited our country, with<br />

a growth of 32.7 percent. During the first 4 months of<br />

2018 the number of tourists reached 1.6 million people as<br />

opposed to 860.000 people for the same period of 2017.<br />

That pertains a growth of 86 percent.<br />

What is being done on the government side to<br />

support growth of the sector and provide enabling<br />

infrastructure?<br />

For the organization of effective work, first of all, it is<br />

necessary to create a legal framework and an institutional<br />

framework. In this regard, a number of normative<br />

documents have been adopted in the sphere of tourism,<br />

according to which:<br />

particular, provision is made for financial assistance<br />

(grants) from the off-budget Fund for the Support of the<br />

Tourism Sector to print media, bloggers, photographers,<br />

researchers involved in the coverage of events and<br />

propaganda within the framework of domestic tourism.<br />

c) The attitude to internal tourism has radically changed.<br />

We accepted the National Tourism Development Program<br />

"Make a Trip around Uzbekistan!" which is actively being<br />

implemented. We consider that it contributes not only<br />

to the growth of the flow of local tourists, but also to<br />

the development of domestic tourism as one of the most<br />

important factors in the sustainable social and economic<br />

development of the regions, familiarizing citizens with<br />

the cultural and historical heritage and natural resources<br />

of the country.<br />

a) The organizational basis of the Committee itself has been<br />

improved. The structure and functions of the committee<br />

are brought into conformity with the standards of the<br />

countries developed in the tourism context, which<br />

contributes to the enhancement of the effectiveness of<br />

the state policy in the field of tourism;<br />

b) Expanded cooperation not only with traditional partners,<br />

but also with other subjects of the tourist market. In<br />

d) A comprehensive program of promotion of the national<br />

tourism potential has been developed and is being<br />

implemented, including the introduction of the Tourism<br />

Brand Ambassador of Uzbekistan in foreign countries<br />

and the development of a separate advertising and<br />

propaganda campaign for each outbound tourism market<br />

(country/region) based on special "Road maps", etc.<br />


Uzbekistan, Tashkent, National bank of foreign economic activities, affairs of Uzbekistan, the Intercontinental Tashkent hotel<br />

© Shutterstock<br />

Our government is also striving to improve and optimize the<br />

visa system and visa procedures, the registration system, and<br />

the development of the air transportation system.<br />

As I mentioned previously, we offer a number of preferences<br />

and privileges for investors who want to invest in<br />

infrastructure, including the construction of hotel complexes,<br />

tourist clusters, shopping and entertainment centers, logistics<br />

and other facilities in the Republic of Uzbekistan.<br />




Sub-section 15, Art. 208 of the Tax Code of the Republic<br />

of Uzbekistan: turnover of realization of tourism and<br />

excursion services are exempt from a value added tax.<br />

Sub-section 4, second part of Art 282 of the Tax<br />

Code: recreational land treat the land plots, which<br />

are not subject to the taxation, - the lands provided to<br />

the relevant institutions and the organizations for the<br />

organization of mass rest and tourism of the population.<br />

According to the Decree of the President of the<br />

Republic of Uzbekistan from 12/2/2016 of No. UR-4861<br />

the following is stated:<br />

- Legal entities, which put into operation hotels<br />

and motels with at least four stars and certified in<br />

accordance with the established procedure are exempt<br />

for a period of 5 years from payment of income tax,<br />

a land tax and the property tax and uniform tax<br />

payment of legal entities.<br />

- Legal entities are exempt for a period of 5 years<br />

from customs payment (except charges for customs<br />

registration) for the imported equipment, the<br />

equipment, components, spare parts and materials,<br />

which are not produced in the Republic of Uzbekistan,<br />

for construction and reconstruction of hotels and<br />

motels, according to the lists approved in accordance<br />

with the established procedure;<br />


- For acquisition by subjects of tourism activity of the<br />

new vehicles intended for transportation of tourists<br />

with a capacity over nine people, a charge is made<br />

in amount of 3 percent of the cost of acquisition of<br />

vehicles to the Republican road fund at the Ministry of<br />

Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan.<br />

In order to decrease tax burden for large-scale hotel<br />

enterprises which used to pay generally established<br />

taxes, the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers No.<br />

275 from 8/24/2016 "On measures for transition to<br />

the international system of classification of types of<br />

economic activity” gives the opportunity of transition to<br />

payment of uniform tax payment at the number of staff of<br />

employees up to 100 units (previously 25 units).<br />

According to the Decree of the President of the Republic<br />

of Uzbekistan of April 11, 2005 No. UP-3594 "On<br />

additional measures for stimulation of attraction of direct<br />

private foreign investments" to the enterprises attracting<br />

direct private foreign investments and specializing<br />

in rendering services (tourism: hotel and tourist<br />

services) in branches of economy, are exempted from<br />

payment of income tax of legal entities, the property<br />

tax, a tax on improvement and development of social<br />

infrastructure, uniform tax payment for microfirms and<br />

small enterprises and also obligatory contributions to<br />

Republican road fund, at following volume of direct<br />

private foreign investments:<br />

- from 300 thousand dollars to 3 million US dollars - for<br />

a period of 3 years;<br />

- over 3 million to 10 million US dollars - for a period of<br />

5 years;<br />

- over 10 million US dollars - for a period of 7 years.<br />

According to the Decree of the President of the<br />

Republic of Uzbekistan from 8/16/2017 of No. UP-3217<br />

the following is stated:<br />

- implementing provision of the long-term credits (for<br />

up to 15 years) to business entities on construction<br />

of new and on modernization of the existing hotels<br />

and other objects of tourism infrastructure, having<br />

provided flexible conditions of repayment of the credit<br />

and interest, also taking into account capital intensity<br />

and seasonal load of hotels;<br />

- exemption till January 1, 2022:<br />

for hotels from payment of uniform social payment<br />

of the salary fund of the qualified foreign experts<br />

involved as administrative personnel;<br />

- for the income of the qualified foreign experts invited<br />

as administrative personnel of hotels from payment of<br />

an income tax<br />

According to the Decree of the President of the<br />

Republic of Uzbekistan from 2/3/2018 of No. UP-5326<br />

"About additional organizational measures for creating<br />

favorable conditions for development of tourist capacity<br />

of the Republic of Uzbekistan” are released:<br />

- legal entities which primary activity is the organization<br />

of services of theme park, for a period of 3 years<br />

from the date of input by them in operation of theme<br />

parks - from payment of income tax of legal entities,<br />

a land tax and the property tax and also uniform lax<br />

payment;<br />

- theme parks, hotels and other means of placement<br />

for up to January 1, 2022 - from customs payment<br />

(except charges for customs registration) for the<br />

imported equipment, the equipment, raw materials,<br />

components and spare parts, construction and other<br />

materials which aren't produced in the Republic of<br />

Uzbekistan for building, reconstruction and equipment<br />

of theme parks, hotels and other means of placement<br />

according to the lists approved in accordance with the<br />

established procedure:<br />

- subjects of business activity in the sphere of tourism<br />

for up to January 1, 2022<br />

- from customs payment (except charges for customs<br />

registration) for imported on the territory of the<br />

Republic of Uzbekistan:<br />

- the vehicles of a tourist class intended for<br />

transportation of 8 and more people including the<br />

driver;<br />

- the equipment, mechanisms and spare parts for<br />

construction, reconstruction and equipment of<br />

ropeways, alpine skiing elevators, funiculars and other<br />

similar objects and constructions and also balloons,<br />

motor boats and TVs according to the lists approved<br />

in accordance with the established procedure.<br />

It is allowed, on an exceptional basis, to licensed tourist<br />

operators registered in the Republic of Karakalpakstan<br />

to pay customs fees in the amount of 25 percent of the<br />

current rate for imported vehicles of increased crosscountry<br />

capacity of at least 2.4 liters with installments<br />


for 5 years for organizing extreme tours with assignment<br />

to them of separate series of state registration number<br />

plates for vehicles and use exclusively on the territory of<br />

the Republic of Karakalpakstan.<br />

It is established that:<br />

- from January 1, 2018. the taxable base of economic<br />

entities rendering services for the sale of tourist<br />

products and / or online booking of tourist services is<br />

reduced by the amount of expenditures directed to the<br />

introduction of electronic services, including electronic<br />

payments, booking, acquiring and others, as well as<br />

specialized Internet sites and portals offering modern<br />

types of tourist services;<br />

- the taxable base of economic entities that installed<br />

free wireless access to the Internet (Wi-Fi) zones<br />

on their territory, including a single tax payment,<br />

is reduced by the amount of expenditures aimed<br />

at purchasing equipment and purchasing Internet<br />

traffic for the deployment of a wireless access area<br />

appropriate quality;<br />

- operators, providers and other business entities that<br />

have created in the public places free wireless access<br />

to the Internet (Wi-Fi), are given the right to install an<br />

advertising banner or stretching area of no more than<br />

18 square meters in this zone on a no-charge basis and<br />

without obtaining permission from the relevant state<br />

authorities in the field.<br />

In accordance with the Resolution of the President<br />

of the Republic of Uzbekistan No. PR-3509 dated<br />

06.02.2018 "On measures for the development of<br />

inbound tourism" it was established that economic<br />

entities that initiated the initiative to establish indexes<br />

in foreign languages (English, Russian and others) for<br />

the purposes improving the orientation of tourists, the<br />

right to place on these indexes advertising information<br />

produced by their products (services and works), while<br />

the total area of information posted should be no more<br />

than 40 percent of the area of the index with ensuring<br />

compliance with legal requirements in the field of<br />

advertising.<br />

In accordance with the Resolution of the President<br />

of the Republic of Uzbekistan No. PR-3514 dated<br />

07.02.2018 "On Measures to Ensure Accelerated<br />

Development of Domestic Tourism", an order was<br />

introduced from February 10, 2018 for a period of<br />

3 years, according to which the taxable base of the<br />

subjects of tourist activity is reduced by the amount<br />

of expenses spent on making and replicating printed<br />

materials (cards, brochures, booklets, etc.). souvenirs<br />

and packaging products (bags, school notebooks,<br />

stickers, covers, inscriptions on T-shirts and clothes,<br />

dishes) posted advertising the tourism brand of<br />

Uzbekistan and the site “Uzbekistan.travel”.<br />

Unused land plots are provided, mainly with utilities<br />

provided, located in districts and cities with high<br />

potential for tourism development, priority on the<br />

basis of the conclusion of the State Committee on<br />

Tourism to business entities and potential investors for<br />

the implementation of projects in the tourism sector<br />

(construction of hotels, guest houses, motels and other<br />

means of accommodation, theme parks, museums,<br />

galleries and others) based on 20 land plots with a total<br />

area of at least 20 hectares in each region.<br />

The taxable base is reduced by the amount of:<br />

up to 100 million sums - expenses of economic entities<br />

sent before January 1, 2020 for reconstruction, overhaul<br />

and construction of modem sanitary and hygienic units<br />

that comply with sanitary rules, norms and hygienic<br />

standards; up to 12 million sums - the cost of economic<br />

entities sent annually before January 2025 to the<br />

maintenance of sanitary and hygiene units (cleaning<br />

workers' wages, purchase of hygienic, cleaning and<br />

washing supplies, payment of utility expenses), objects<br />

of tourist infrastructure (monuments of history and<br />

architecture, museums, theaters, cultural centers, public<br />

catering establishments, service facilities, gas stations,<br />

temporary parking facilities, roadside infrastructure<br />

service areas, bazaars, markets, shops and other places<br />

of public congestion of people), corresponding to<br />

sanitary rules, norms and hygienic standards.<br />

Provision by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of<br />

Karakalpakstan, khokimiyats of the regions and the city<br />

of Tashkent on the basis of the conclusion of the State<br />

Committee for tourism development to business entities<br />

and potential investors who implement projects for the<br />

creation of modern hygiene facilities, places in relevant<br />

parts of cities and regions for advertising and mobile<br />

outlets.<br />






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Indringingsweg 1, 1800 Vilvoorde (Brussels) - +32 (0)2 263 01 33 - www.livingtomorrow.com - info@livingtomorrow.com<br />









- MAY 9, 2018, BOZAR -<br />

Honorable MEP Helga Stevens,<br />

Director Paul Dujardin,<br />

Distinguished guests,<br />

Ladies and gentlemen,<br />

It is a great honor and privilege for me to give a remark<br />

at the Bozar event to celebrate the 55-year-old diplomatic<br />

relationship between Korea and the European Union,<br />

especially on Europe Day. First, I would like to extend my<br />

gratitude to all of you present here and in Seoul, including<br />

Honorable MEP Helga Stevens, Director Paul Dujardin<br />

of Bozar, Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun and my dear<br />

colleague, Amb. Michael Reiterer, for making today’s event<br />

more meaningful.<br />

Agreement. Further, as strategic partners that share the<br />

common values of democracy, market economy, rule of law<br />

and human rights,<br />

The European Union and Korea are quasi-allies to each<br />

other, having nurtured a very close strategic partnership<br />

over the last 55 years since opening diplomatic relationship<br />

in 1963. The two strategic partners have been expanding<br />

the bilateral cooperation from the traditional political and<br />

economic areas to the new areas of climate change, human<br />

rights, international security and development assistance.<br />

36<br />

Korea is often called the best partner to the European<br />

Union. In fact, Korea is one of the two countries, with<br />

Canada, that have three key agreements with the EU in<br />

political, economic and security areas; that is. Framework<br />

Agreement, FTA and Crisis Management Participation<br />

H.E Kim Hyoung-Zhin

Sungimhur<br />

Korea and the European Union are natural partners on the<br />

international arena’.<br />

The past year has been especially meaningful in the<br />

relationship. President Moon sent his special envoy to<br />

the EU last year, for the first time as an incoming Korean<br />

president. The special envoy met with President Tusk and<br />

other EU leaders on May 19, 10 days after the election in<br />

Korea. President Moon himself met with President Tusk<br />

in Hamburg on July 8 on the occasion of the G20 summit<br />

meeting. The Korean Foreign Minister visited Brussels twice<br />

in less than 5 months.<br />

The European Union and Korea are working closely<br />

together for the Korean Peninsula issues also as witnessed<br />

by the Korean Foreign Minister’s first ever participation in<br />

Foreign Affairs Council meeting last March. The historic<br />

change is indeed possible on the Korean Peninsula, the last<br />

remnant of the Cold War in the world. The hope is high for<br />

establishing permanent peace in the nuclear-weapon-free<br />

Korean Peninsula even if there are still challenges ahead.<br />

Korea and the EU are working closely together for this goal.<br />

The European Union is also the source of inspiration to<br />

people in Asia on regional cooperation.<br />

Paul Dujardin, CEO Bozar<br />

Today’s event is one more example of exemplary bilateral<br />

cooperation between our two partners, with the two sides’<br />

simultaneous events in Brussels and Seoul connected<br />

through the internet. Today’s theme is “Your sounds, My<br />

moves, Our words.” In Seoul you let us hear your sounds.<br />

From Brussels my moves are shown to you. In the end your<br />

sounds and my moves make up our words. As always, we<br />

are making the best of every opportunity to strengthen our<br />

communication. Thank you very much for your attention.<br />







On May 9th 2018, 12:00 (GMT) 19:00 (KST) at<br />

BOZAR in Brussels the celebration of the 55th<br />

anniversary of the European Union-Republic of<br />

Korea relations was held. A series of performances<br />

and congratulatory addresses were presented,<br />

broadcast in real-time through an online channel<br />

to surpass geographical boundaries and enhance<br />

interconnectivity.<br />

38<br />

From Seoul, Mr Michael Reiterer, Ambassador of the<br />

European Union to the Republic of Korea added his<br />

congratulations. His speech was followed by Jasmine Choi,<br />

the first Korean flutist for the Vienna Symphony who played<br />

the anthem of South Korea and of Europe. From Brussels,<br />

Mr Kim Hyoung-Zhin, Ambassador of the Mission of the<br />

Republic of Korea addressed audiences in English and gave<br />

very friendly wishes to EU and North Korea.<br />

A few minutes later Sung-Im Her, danced a performance.<br />

The dancer/choreographer is well known as performer of<br />

C de la B, Troubleyn and NeedCompany.<br />

This cosmopolitan event was to welcome everyone<br />

regardless of his/her time-spatial area, transcending<br />

nationalities and artistic disciplines for a happy concord.<br />

On the same day at 19:00 the Korean Cultural Center<br />

inaugurated the exhibition with OBBA architecture studio,<br />

celebrating the 55th anniversary of Korea-EU relations and<br />

the 12th ASEM on October.<br />

OBBA’s major work, the Floating Island, is invited to guest<br />

at the Bruges Triennal. This work as well as other works are<br />

shown at the Korean Cultural Center in Brussels.<br />

Architecture exhibition: Beyond Boundaries, OBBA.<br />

09.05 - 02.06.18 at the Korean Cultural Center Brussels.

Barbara Dietrich, Michel Dewilde - Curator at Bruges Triennal 2018, Mr Kim Hyoung-Zhin - Ambassador of South Korea, Lee So-Jung and Kwak Sang-Joon<br />

(OBBA Architecture Agency - Korea) and Dr Pick Keobandith<br />







Is female leadership different from male<br />

leadership?<br />

Absolutely. There are always exceptions but for the most<br />

part, women's leadership has been described as more<br />

horizontal rather than vertical. Women tend to rule by<br />

consensus rather than top-down. They tend to welcome<br />

input from others and believe there is more to win through<br />

collaboration rather than coercion. They also create<br />

more diverse leadership because they are either blind to<br />

gender when looking for talent, or just based on their<br />

own experiences of the rough road to the top. A few years<br />

ago, we researched women CEOs in 39 countries, and we<br />

found that no matter which country they came from, the<br />

percentage of women directors and senior executives in<br />

women-led corporations was double that of peer companies.<br />

the opportunity to lead companies or countries, so the lack<br />

of role models feeds the presumption that women are not<br />

meant to be leaders. In another recent study reported in<br />

the New York Times, women and men were asked to draw<br />

the picture of a leader. All drew the picture of a man! That<br />

is why at the Global Summit of Women, I like to feature<br />

women who lead whether from government or business<br />

so that other women see the possibilities. I also included<br />

a session at the Summit this year on how we can use<br />

technology to showcase women who have broken barriers<br />

in a variety of arenas, so girls can dream of bigger roles for<br />

themselves. You cannot role model what you cannot see.<br />

Women have been accused of being risk averse, and while<br />

that may be so, a study of women investment managers<br />

showed that they are better at investment than their male<br />

colleagues, because they are patient and hold stocks<br />

longer, while men buy and sell quickly and lose revenues<br />

through fees with each transaction. However, women's<br />

portfolios tend to be smaller. Wall Street women have often<br />

complained that the big clients, the big portfolios are often<br />

given to men based on the assumption that they can handle<br />

the large accounts better.<br />

Another study was done by a Chinese professor who looked<br />

at companies with regulatory infractions within a 10 year<br />

period filed with the Securities Commission of China. He<br />

found that male dominated boards had more regulatory<br />

infractions than companies whose boards included some<br />

women directors. The study's recommendation: have more<br />

women on boards to prevent corruption!<br />

40<br />

I do not point to these studies to indicate that women are<br />

perfect. They are not, but they do lead differently from men.<br />

The problem is that there are not many who have been given<br />

Irene Natividad

Opening ceremony crowd<br />

Do you think that if we had more women as<br />

political and business leaders it would contribute to<br />

make the world a better place?<br />

It depends on how you define 'better'. Institutions as<br />

diverse as the <strong>World</strong> Bank, the IMF, Goldman Sachs,<br />

and McKinsey have all pointed to the rise in GDPs of<br />

various economies if women were fully utilized not just at<br />

the bottom but also at every level of the economy. On the<br />

corporate side, there are over 70 reports from different<br />

countries indicating a strong correlation between more<br />

women in senior roles as executives and board directors<br />

with a company's better financial performance. Given this<br />

myriad research indicating the positive results that accrue<br />

from advancing women's economic opportunities, the<br />

question then is why are women still begging to be allowed<br />

IN? Or to put it another way as one frustrated female<br />

executive said at a recent roundtable I organized: "Don't<br />

companies want to make more money?" The same can be<br />

asked of countries.<br />

What holds women back are long-held cultural assumptions<br />

as to what they can or cannot do that influence companies<br />

and countries to not fully utilize the talent pool that women<br />

represent. Right now, in many countries of the world,<br />

women are the majority of college graduates but they tend<br />

to be under-employed in jobs that do not match their skills<br />

and education. The presumption that family and house<br />

chores are predominantly women's role in society still<br />

permeates cultural thinking even in developed economies.<br />

These stereotypes continue to undercut their claim to<br />

leadership in the workplace.<br />

What are the objectives of the Global Summit of<br />

women? Is it a "women only" version of the Davos<br />

summit or do you also actively seek to promote<br />

a better representation of women in leadership<br />

positions?<br />

Well, from the beginning, we wanted to find a way to speed<br />

up, to accelerate women's economic progress by sharing<br />

what works in terms of government policy or corporate<br />

programs or entrepreneurial experiences that can jumpstart<br />

other women so they do not have to start from zero. So<br />

our focus on best practices and on practical strategies as<br />

opposed to continually focusing on the challenges women<br />

face in the economic sphere permeates the Program.<br />

Basically, what did you do in your country or your business<br />

that I can bring to mine? That is the predominant<br />

question.<br />


I also wanted women to be part of something 'global' and<br />

to understand it in a real way through the women they<br />

meet. The Summit team works very hard to ensure that<br />

delegations from as many countries as possible are able<br />

to be part of this global gathering. It would have been<br />

easier for us (and less costly) to hold the Summit in the<br />

same place year in and year out, but we move it from<br />

continent to continent to enable more women in a region<br />

to access this forum. At the last Summit in Sydney, I was<br />

delighted that for the first time we had participation from<br />

Pacific Island nations, who have not been able to be part<br />

of this global gathering before because of the distance and<br />

limited resources. I love the fact that we had women from<br />

Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Laos, South Africa, Mexico,<br />

Chile, France, Kosovo just to name a few of the countries<br />

represented.<br />

I did not coin the phrase 'the Davos for Women' to describe<br />

the Summit – participants did. The Summit aims to be<br />

inclusive rather than exclusive. We do not use price point<br />

as a filter to exclude participants who could not afford the<br />

registration fees. We also bring together the three legs of<br />

society needed to create change for women – government,<br />

business and nonprofit organizations – in one forum rather<br />

than separating them as in many international conferences.<br />

In the end, we are all just women facing the very same issues.<br />

Do you see the new generation of women (you<br />

had a conference about millennials during the<br />

last summit) as more likely to seek and obtain<br />

leadership roles?<br />

I am hoping that the next generation will push the envelope<br />

even further and arrive at that level playing field for<br />

women we all aspire to even faster than their mothers.<br />

Research shows that millennials have a predisposition to<br />

entrepreneurship, which I totally applaud because when<br />

a woman owns her business, she is in charge. Right now,<br />

women comprise 30% of small business owners and that<br />

number is growing. This is great since small businesses are<br />

the foundation of every economy in the world, and women<br />

are the growth sector in it! At the Summit in Sydney, I had<br />

invited three outstanding Australian millennials who already<br />

had thriving businesses in their twenties. Moreover, they<br />

were smart, articulate, poised and self-confident. Two owned<br />

tech-based enterprises and that is where more women need<br />

to go in the future so women are not left out of the jobs of<br />

the future. While I was listening to them speak on stage, I<br />

felt like a proud mother showing off her talented children.<br />

What these women were able to achieve at such a young age<br />

blew me away and made me feel hopeful about the future.<br />

To enable young women to be exposed to the women CEOs,<br />

Ministers and executives at the Summit, we allow 20 top<br />

women university students to attend the conference for free<br />

each year. Furthermore, there's a Youth Forum, to which we<br />

had invited 200 university students in Sydney to hear from<br />

the three millennial entrepreneurs I mentioned previously.<br />

Summit participants also bring daughters, sisters and sons<br />

to the Summit, and I revel in that kind of joint participation<br />

that enables two levels of Summit experiences to be shared.<br />



Irene Natividad, a recognized leader for women in the<br />

United States and throughout the world, is Chair of<br />

the GlobeWomen Research and Education Institute,<br />

President of the Global Summit of Women, an annual<br />

international gathering of women leaders from around<br />

the world on business/economic issues, and Chair of<br />

Corporate Women Directors International (CWDI),<br />

which promotes the increased participation of women<br />

on corporate boards globally. Based in Washington,<br />

D.C., Ms. Natividad is the force behind the 27-year old<br />

Global Summit of Women, informally called “The Davos<br />

for Women” by past participants for the caliber of its<br />

attendees and presenters, as well as its mix of business<br />

and government leaders. As CWDI Chair, she has<br />

produced 26 reports in 19 years on women directors<br />

in different countries, regions, and industries and has<br />

convened women board directors and executives to<br />

“ring the opening bell” at 17 Stock Exchanges based<br />

in different countries to date — a business tradition in<br />

which she feels women must be seen.<br />








One of the leading economies in the Asia-Pacific<br />

region and the 12th largest economy in the world,<br />

Australia enjoys spectacular landscapes and is<br />

rich in natural resources. The country has a stable<br />

government, open market and skilled workforce. It<br />

makes a compelling destination for doing business.<br />

Home to some of the world’s largest companies, the<br />

economy is firmly planted as a hub to the fastest<br />

growing region in the world – the Indo-Pacific.<br />

We are pleased to welcome in <strong>Diplomatic</strong> Word<br />

his excellency Mr. Justin Brown who details his<br />

priorities as Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg,<br />

the EU and NATO.<br />



“I have returned to Brussels after almost twenty years<br />

since I was last posted here as deputy in our mission to the<br />

EU, Belgium and Luxembourg. In the intervening period,<br />

Australia’s links with Europe – including with Belgium –<br />

have made substantial progress across the board. Our twoway<br />

trade, investment and tourism has expanded. People to<br />

people links are vibrant, including in education, research<br />

and innovation. Contemporary Australia has developed a<br />

robust and dynamic presence in our region, including through<br />

a network of ambitious free trade agreements, but we do<br />

not see this as in any way diminishing our links to Europe,<br />

which remain firmly embedded in our shared values and<br />

interests. My objectives for my time in Brussels reflect these<br />

foundations. First, we need to work together to safeguard and<br />

strengthen the rules-based global order. Australia and Europe<br />

have been partners in the development of the framework of<br />

rules and international law that have served us well over the<br />

past 70 years.<br />

But we cannot take it for granted that our progress in the<br />

past will guarantee our future. We need to revitalise the<br />

multilateral system so that it is well-equipped to accommodate<br />

the extraordinary changes underway in the international<br />

economic and political landscape. The Australia-EU<br />

Framework Agreement – signed last year – is a vehicle for<br />

charting the future of our bilateral cooperation and for<br />

developing and implementing concrete projects and activities<br />

that will advance our shared goals. Second, we need to<br />

underwrite the future prosperity of our people. On 22 May,<br />

the EU member states agreed to a mandate for Australia-<br />

EU free trade negotiations (FTA). Australia has ten FTAs<br />

in place, including with China, Japan, ROK, the US and<br />

ASEAN. These agreements are aimed at positioning Australia<br />


to participate in the extraordinarily strong economic growth<br />

in our region. An Australia-EU FTA would deliver another<br />

significant economic anchor for the EU in the Asia-Pacific<br />

region. If we are successful, the EU and Australia will benefit<br />

from more open markets, which in turn will promote growth<br />

and job creation.<br />

Third, Australia is committed to playing its part to defend<br />

global security and stability. Australia is a key contributor to<br />

the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and<br />

we are an Enhanced Opportunities Partner with the Alliance.<br />

With NATO, the EU, and its member states, we work together<br />

to address shared security challenges, including on defence<br />

capacity building, crisis management and Women Peace and<br />

Security.<br />

Finally, I want to see our close and warm relations with<br />

Belgium and Luxembourg continue to flourish. We share<br />

similar approaches to many international issues and our<br />

economic and political links are vibrant. We share long<br />

historical and cultural ties, not least in Belgium where over<br />

12,000 Australians died in Flanders during the First <strong>World</strong><br />

War, but the success of our economies – and our relationship<br />

owes much to the resilience and dynamism of our people.<br />

I want to do what I can to support and encourage our<br />

people, our firms and other organisations to build on these<br />

foundations.”<br />



“One of the highest priorities in the first weeks<br />

after my arrival was to participate in the Anzac Day<br />

commemorations in western Flanders. Anzac Day is one of<br />

Australia’s most important national occasions, and it is one<br />

with a direct connection to Belgium. Held on 25 April, the<br />

day marks the anniversary of the first major military action<br />

fought by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps<br />

(ANZAC) during the First <strong>World</strong> War, at Gallipoli. Anzac<br />

Day is our day of national remembrance, both at home<br />

and abroad, for those who have served and died in military<br />

operations. In Westhoek, the Australian Embassy organises<br />

a program of commemorations in collaboration with the<br />

New Zealand Embassy and local communities.<br />

H.E. Justin Brown - Ambassador of Australia<br />

led Australia’s official participation in the commemorative<br />

events at Zonnebeke, Ieper and Comines-Warneton.<br />

The Minister and I joined hundreds of fellow Australians<br />

and others in what were very moving ceremonies, enhanced<br />

by the involvement of the Australian Federation Guard<br />

Catafalque Party and Australian Defence Force singers.<br />

I saw for myself the commitment of many ordinary Belgians<br />

to honour the Australians who died in Flanders for the<br />

values that we share. All Australians are deeply appreciative<br />

of these efforts, which have been central to the strong bonds<br />

between our countries and between the people of Australia<br />

and Belgium.”<br />



Australia 2018 Global Summit of Women is the premier<br />

international forum to accelerate women’s economic<br />

progress worldwide. The 2018 Summit will salute women’s<br />

achievements while continuing to explore practical<br />

strategies and best practices in improving women’s<br />

economic status, whether they are corporate initiatives,<br />

public policies or NGO programs.<br />

44<br />

These ceremonies have great resonance for all Australians<br />

as they take place on battlefields where more than 12,000<br />

Australian soldiers fought and gave their lives in Belgium.<br />

Australia’s Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Darren Chester,<br />

The Summit’s unique engagement of the three critical ‘legs’<br />

of change – government, business and civil society – is<br />

reflected in its participants, presenters and partners. The<br />

theme of the 2018 Summit — “Women: Creating Economies

of Shared Value” — highlights the ability of women to develop<br />

a more inclusive economy as women advance their own<br />

businesses and careers. In addition, the 2018 Summit will<br />

inform delegates on how to access the Australian and Asia-<br />

Pacific market, showcase women business and government<br />

leaders from the region, and provide skills building sessions,<br />

as well as establish networks among such leaders.<br />

According to a Booz and Co. report, based on criteria<br />

including pay, education, and access to paid parental leave,<br />

its women have also been named “Most Empowered in the<br />

<strong>World</strong>”. We took this opportunity to ask Trish Bergin,<br />

First Assistant Secretary of the Office for Women in the<br />

Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister<br />

and Cabinet, to explain the policy of Australia in favour of<br />

gender equality:<br />

“After months of planning,” said Trish Bergin, “I knew<br />

the “Davos of Women” would be impressive, but I was<br />

still awed by the number of high-profile representatives<br />

who came to Sydney, Australia from over 70 countries<br />

for the three-day event. What an opportunity for CEOs,<br />

government ministers and community leaders to come<br />

together in the shared purpose of expanding women’s<br />

economic opportunities!”<br />

Trish Bergin<br />

are women. This marks the first time in Australian history<br />

that the highest ranks of the Australian Public Service have<br />

reached gender parity.<br />

The Australian Government is committed to advancing<br />

women’s representation on Government boards and<br />

achieving the target of women holding 50 percent of<br />

positions overall, and men and women each holding at least<br />

40 percent of positions on individual boards. Thanks to our<br />

BoardLinks program, which connects Australia’s leading<br />

women with opportunities for Australian Government<br />

board appointments, women held 44.5 percent of Australian<br />

Government board positions by December 2017.<br />






“Australia’s Office for Women in the Department of the<br />

Prime Minister and Cabinet exists to advance gender<br />

equality outcomes in Australia. The Office for Women<br />

provides leadership and supports the Government around<br />

its three priorities for gender equality: to strengthen<br />

women’s economic security, to support more women into<br />

leadership positions, and to ensure that women and their<br />

children are safe from violence.<br />

The Australian Government maintains a strong commitment<br />

to women’s empowerment and increasing women’s<br />

leadership as key ways of achieving gender equality. The<br />

Australian Public Service is tracking in the right direction<br />

with women comprising 43 percent of the Senior Executive<br />

Service. The recent appointment of Ms Liz Cosson AM CSC<br />

as the first female Secretary of the Department of Veterans’<br />

Affairs, means 9 of Australia’s 18 Departmental Secretaries<br />

We also work with business to increase women’s leadership<br />

opportunities in the private sector, the largest employer of<br />

Australian women. According to research conducted by<br />

the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD),<br />

women comprised a record high of 27.1 percent of<br />

ASX 200 directorships in March 2018. To bolster this,<br />

the Government has invested over $1 million in board<br />

scholarships for women through AICD, including specific<br />

initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and<br />

other culturally and linguistically diverse women, and<br />

women working in the disability sector.<br />

Finally, the Government provides funding to six National<br />

Women’s Alliances that represent almost 120 women’s<br />

organizations, ensuring women’s issues and a diversity<br />

of voices are represented in Australian Government<br />

decision-making and policy development. Demonstrative<br />

of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s<br />

commitment to diversity, we sponsored emerging leaders<br />

from Indigenous, rural, and culturally diverse communities<br />

to attend the Global Summit of Women.”<br />

Dr. Pick Keobandith<br />





Now officially known as the Lao People’s<br />

Democratic Republic, the country sits in the heart<br />

of the Indochinese peninsula of Mainland Southeast<br />

Asia. The former kingdom and French protectorat<br />

Laos became independent in 1954, a member of the<br />

United Nations in 1955 and is now governed in a<br />

unicameral parliamentary system, in the process of<br />

continuous building and enhancing of the people’s<br />

democratic regime under the leadership of the Lao<br />

People’s Revolutionary Party.<br />

A long-term strategy to engage with global partners has seen<br />

annual GDP growth averaging 7% since 1997 since Laos<br />

became a member state of the Association of Southeast<br />

Asian Nations (ASEAN) and this strategy for developing<br />

more open relationships internationally saw the first ever<br />

presidential visit when President Obama visited the country<br />

in 2016 during Laos’ chairmanship of ASEAN Summits and<br />

Related Summits Meetings. 2018 sees the inauguration of<br />

the third ever Lao Tourism Year.<br />

Addressing some challenges and weaknesses, the agencies<br />

concerned are working expansively and inclusively with<br />

wide participation of the people, entrepreneurs, and the<br />

media, to improve quality of services, upgrade standards of<br />

facilities and hospitality, and address all related difficulties,<br />

including road access to some sites.<br />

2018 is “Visit Laos Year”, what can you tell us<br />

about the program that Laos is deploying to attract<br />

tourists ?<br />

Tourism is a main strategic sector, which contributes<br />

substantially to the national socio-economic development.<br />

In 2016, there were around 4.2 million visitor arrivals to<br />

Laos, and the sector generated a foreign income of more<br />

than 800 million dollars (6% of GDP).<br />

46<br />

In order to attract more foreign visitors to the country, with<br />

a goal of welcoming around 5 million foreign travellers this<br />

year, the Government has attached great importance to<br />

the development of a fully fledged tourism industry with<br />

more efforts in making eco-tourism in line with ‘green<br />

tourism’, combined with the modernisation of cultural and<br />

historic touristic sites to be more colourful and sustainable.<br />

H.E. Khamkheuang Bounteum and Barbara Dietrich

Dr. Pick Keobandith, Sabrina Tacca-Pandolfo, H.E. Nathalie Sabadnaze and H.E. Khamkheuang Bounteum<br />

At this junction, our people’s gratitude is expressed for the<br />

valuable support currently provided by Luxembourg and<br />

Switzerland towards the training of human resources at the<br />

Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (Lanith)<br />

in Vientiane Capital.<br />

The listing recognised the ‘exceptional merger of traditional<br />

architecture and European colonial urban structures from<br />

the 19th and 20th Centuries.’ UNESCO praised the unique<br />

urban setting of Luang Prabang and noted the unique<br />

preservation of the site.<br />

Visa exemption agreements with 45 countries, including<br />

Mongolia, Russia, and the other 9 ASEAN countries,<br />

and to citizens of 4 Scandinavian countries, Denmark,<br />

Finland, Norway and Sweden, have been initiated by the<br />

Lao authorities for this whole year. This is in addition<br />

to bilateral visa exemption agreements concluded with<br />

11 countries including Mongolia, and Russia; similar<br />

agreements with the other 9 ASEAN member countries,<br />

and unilateral visa exemptions offered to ordinary passport<br />

holders from Japan, the Republic of Korea, Switzerland and<br />

Luxembourg.<br />

Luang Prabang has joined the UNESCO world<br />

heritage list in 1995. How important is this<br />

recognition for Laos Tourism ?<br />

The addition of Luang Prabang to the <strong>World</strong> Heritage was<br />

a wonderful recognition by UNESCO. The special nature<br />

of the site came as no surprise to those of us who know the<br />

site well.<br />

The site, which demonstrates an interesting fusion of two<br />

different cultures, has continued to draw in tourists from<br />

around the world.<br />

Of course, tourists bring with them much needed business<br />

for local economies but what the UNESCO listing of<br />

Luang Prabang really means for Laos, is the promotion<br />

and support of a major and unique cultural site. Tourists<br />

take away the stories and experiences that can only be<br />

found here, so our Luang Prabang is shared to communities<br />

across the world. We continue to thank UNESCO for<br />

recognising this site and remain proud that our culture has<br />

the opportunity to be heard across the world.<br />

Peace and stability in the country, combined with<br />

harmonious life and ownership of the local people, must<br />

have been among the decisive factors that have enabled the<br />

preservation and cultivation of both tangible and untangible<br />

aspects of the heritage site. Visitors and tourists coming<br />


to Luang Prabang can really enjoy both the peaceful and<br />

hospitable atmosphere and the uniqueness of creative arts,<br />

culture and tradition of its multi-ethnic people.<br />

Because of its historical relations with France,<br />

Laos is part of the Francophonie. Do you nurture<br />

this relation ?<br />

With four French-speaking diplomatic colleagues currently<br />

based in Brussels, we have made our modest contribution<br />

to enhancing friendly relationships and cooperation within<br />

the context of Francophonie, in order to promote the image<br />

of Laos and people-to-people contacts in the BENELUX<br />

countries. To coincide with the Visit Laos Year 2018,<br />

on 24th March 2018, we organised a Lao Cultural Night<br />

in close collaboration and with valuable support of the<br />

‘Représentation Permanente de l’Organisation Internationale<br />

de la Francophonie auprès de l’Union Européenne<br />

(OIF-RPUE)’, celebrating the ‘Francophonie Laotienne’.<br />

During the week marking the International Francophonie<br />

Day in Belgium, the image of the Lao national flag could be<br />

seen on the OIF costumes specifically tailored and dressed<br />

on Manneken Pis in the City of Brussels.<br />

We have harmoniously collaborated with members of<br />

the Lao diaspora in Belgium and northern France, in<br />

promoting Lao culture and traditions. At the end of March,<br />

we arranged a cultural event in which four Laotian artists<br />

presented Laotian folk music, and dance performances.<br />

This event echoed the opening remarks and expression of<br />

the OIF spirit of Sharing, “Partager”, by H.E. Stéphane<br />

Lopez, Ambassador of RPUE. The Lao artists also had an<br />

opportunity to share their fine performing skills with Lao<br />

community members and French citizens at the Carnival of<br />

the City of Roubaix, Northern France.<br />

Having the majority of Laos’ Francophone ambassadors<br />

and staff previously and currently accredited, we have<br />

participated in various conferences and meetings, to<br />

promote cooperation with state agencies and private entities<br />

of Belgium and Luxembourg. We also secured the active<br />

participation of two Lao Parliamentarians representing the<br />

National Assembly of the Lao PDR, as Member State of<br />

the OIF, at the 43rd Session of the Parliamentary Assembly<br />

of La Francophonie (APF), hosted by the Chamber of<br />

Deputies of Luxembourg, marking the 50th anniversary of<br />

APF in July 2017.<br />

48<br />

Boats on the Mekong river, Luang Prabang, Laos<br />

© Shutterstock

Ketsavanh in Luang Prabang<br />

© Toulou Panyathip<br />

The last three decades have seen positive and fruitful<br />

developments in Laos’ cooperation with the Francophone<br />

authorities and agencies, since its full membership<br />

conferred at the 4th OIF Summit held in Paris, in November<br />

1991. It was at this summit meeting that late President<br />

Kaysone Phomvihane of the Lao PDR headed the official<br />

delegation in conjunction with the first and ever state visit<br />

to France by the Lao President of the Republic.<br />

As well as welcoming working visits to Laos by OIF<br />

personalities, conferences and activities have been organised<br />

directly relating to improving the capacity and valorisation<br />

of French-teaching, learning and application. It is also worth<br />

highlighting the support of the OIF for the establishment<br />

of Renovateur weekly. This support has lead to related<br />

activities organised under The OIF and APEFE Belgiumsupported<br />

Vocational Training Program (Cambodia,<br />

Laos, Vietnam). There is also much technical support<br />

provided to Laos’ SMEs, inauguration and advancement<br />

of bilingual Lao-French classes in thirteen primary<br />

establishments in four main cities, Vientiane Capital, Luang<br />

Prabang, Savannakhet and Paksé, with more than 3.000<br />

students having enrolled in 2010. The number of students<br />

commencing French learning in more than 80 colleges each<br />

year was around 30.000, making the total of French learners<br />

and students in secondary schools around 500.000 in the<br />

school year 2016-2017.<br />

Recently, there has been a mission to Belgium with an aim<br />

to visit some francophone universities, by the Francophone<br />

President and Vice-President of Savannakhet University<br />

(SKU), which is one of the three universities in Laos, which<br />

incorporates the French Language Teaching Programme<br />

(Applied Language), and teaches around 120 students<br />

taking French as their First Major, and over 300 students<br />

taking French as their second major. Their students have<br />

become more and more keen to take ‘Applied French<br />

Language’ as more employment opportunities have been<br />

created for them in sectors like tourism and light industries<br />

in Special Economic Zones of the neighbourhood localities.<br />

China is investing a lot in its Silk Road project<br />

which combines logistic routes between Europe<br />

and the Eastern coast of Asia, as well as cultural<br />

exchanges. Can you explain the part played by<br />

Laos in this initiative ?<br />

Keeping with the theme and guiding principles of the 9th<br />

Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM) hosted by the Lao People’s<br />


Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) in November 2012, the<br />

state institutions and private entities of Laos have continued<br />

to build on friendship and expand partnership with<br />

neighbouring Asian countries and European nations for the<br />

benefit of peace and development. Bilateral cooperation<br />

with China under the 2009 Comprehensive Strategic<br />

Partnership of Cooperation and with various friendly<br />

countries have been further enhanced ever since, creating<br />

economic opportunities for Laos in promoting foreign direct<br />

investments, widening trade exchanges, and implementing<br />

the national development priorities which include ‘turning<br />

the landlocked country into a land linked, logistically<br />

connected nation status’.<br />

As connectivity in terms of physical infrastructure is a focus<br />

for Southeast Asian countries dealing with their European<br />

partners, the Lao Leaders and Authorities continue to build<br />

upon their initial interest in the project and support the<br />

One Belt One Road Initiative (BRI) taken by the Chinese<br />

Leader. They have engaged in the consultative forums and<br />

sought Laos’ membership in the Silk Road Funds and the<br />

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).<br />

The Laos-China Railway Project, inaugurated in December<br />

2016 and planned to be completed at the end of 2021,<br />

is a mega investment jointly made (30-70%) by the Lao<br />

governmental bodies and the Chinese relevant institutions,<br />

under the Belt and Road Initiative. This project, which<br />

has gained valuable support, and uses technology and<br />

equipment from China, is considered to have been<br />

effectuated from historical decisions and the determination<br />

of the Lao Government and People.<br />

When discussing this international connection, it is<br />

important to refer to the statement by His Excellency<br />

Thongloun Sisoulith, Prime Minister of the Lao PDR, that<br />

‘this railway is a bilateral strategic cooperation project, and<br />

will forge win-win relationships and common development<br />

of the two countries’.<br />

As confirmed by politicians, analysts and experts involved,<br />

the railway will bring substantial benefits to the Lao people,<br />

and will contribute to expanding a trade, investment and<br />

infrastructure network connecting Laos, Thailand, Malaysia,<br />

and Singapore, with China and Europe. It is our expectation<br />

that in the near future, Lao export products could reach the<br />

Port of Antwerp in Belgium by freight train, at lower costs<br />

of transportation, following the admirable example of the<br />

First ‘Silk Road’ train that arrived from China to this city in<br />

May 2018, within 16 days.<br />

50<br />

Waterfalls in Laos<br />

© Shutterstock

A farmer is harvesting lotus in the swamp, an Asian way of life.<br />

© Shutterstock<br />





Date of Birth 10 March 19<strong>57</strong><br />

Place of Birth Province of Champasack, Laos<br />

Marital Status Married with two teenaged sons<br />


Primary and Secondary Education completed in<br />

Province of Champasak, Laos, 1979<br />

Bachelor of Arts in Hungarian Linguistics and<br />

Literature, Jozsel Attila University of Sciences,<br />

Szeged, Hungary, 1985<br />

Certificate of International Crisis Management Course,<br />

Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations,<br />

Malaysia, 1995<br />

Master of Arts in Foreign Affairs and Trade, Monash<br />

University, Australia, 1999-2000<br />

Diploma of Politics and Public Administration,<br />

National Institute of Politics and Public Administration,<br />

Laos, 2008<br />


Poland Desk Officer in Department No.1, following<br />

recruitment to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs<br />

MOFA, 1986<br />

Executive Officer in Department of Press, and then,<br />

Ministerial Cabinet, 1989-1991<br />

Third Secretary in Embassy of the Lao PDR, Canberra,<br />

Australia, 1991-1994<br />

Executive Officer in Department of Treaty and Law,<br />

1994, then Chief of Bilateral Treaty Division, and then<br />

Director of the same Department, 2006-2010<br />

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the<br />

Republic of Austria, and Permanent Representative<br />

to United Nations Office and other International<br />

Organizations in Vienna, 2010-2014<br />


Involved in the informal bilateral dialogue on human<br />

rights with Sweden 2007-2010, with Australia<br />

2006-2009, and with the EU 2008<br />

Executive management of International Law Project<br />

funded and supported by Finland, the EU and UNDP,<br />

2003-2010<br />

Foreign Languages: English, Hungarian.<br />




A glorious day in AWEN for Chanthachone Vongsay,<br />

President of the Lao Business Women Association,<br />

who after her participation in The Global Summit<br />

of Women in Sydney, Australia went to celebrate<br />

the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs 2018 Award<br />

Presentation. She spoke to me about the 10<br />

countries of the Association of Southeast Asian<br />

Nations by GDP: Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia,<br />

Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar,<br />

Cambodia, Laos, Brunei and told me about<br />

AWEN.<br />


AWEN is a network of business women in the ASEAN<br />

region, operating to exchange knowledge, experience,<br />

develop and propose initiatives to promote economic and<br />

trade activities in order to enhance gender equality.<br />

Through our various activities we aim to empower and<br />

strengthen entrepreneurship skills for women in the ASEAN<br />

community and create more favourable environments for<br />

female-led enterprises. We wish to support and nurture<br />

more opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the<br />

region.<br />

52<br />

The group of women of AWEN 2018 with Prayut Chan-O-Cha, Prime Minister of Thailand

Chanthachone Vongsay with Prayut Chan-O-Cha, Prime Minister of Thailand<br />


The initiative to establish an ASEAN Women<br />

Entrepreneurs’ Network (AWEN) was announced by<br />

Vietnam at the 6th ASEAN Committee on Women (ACW)<br />

Meeting held on 7-8 November 2007 in Chiang Mai, Thailand,<br />

as part of its proposal to develop a cooperative programme<br />

between the ACW and the ASEAN Confederation of<br />

Women’s Organizations (ACWO) in addressing poverty. The<br />

initiative was warmly welcomed by ASEAN Member States.<br />

The inaugural AWEN Launch workshop was then launched<br />

in April 2014 by the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour and<br />

Social Affairs.<br />

Juan. She represents the Women’s Business Council of<br />

the Philippines. In March 2017, she was one of the 2017<br />

Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur awardees at the Malacañan<br />

Palace.<br />




In accordance with the Terms of Reference of AWEN<br />

(TOR), after launching the Network, the Coordination<br />

role is rotated amongst ASEAN Member States with<br />

Vietnam as the Coordinator for the first two-year term.<br />

Madame Nguyen Thi Tuyet Minh, Chairwoman of the<br />

Vietnam Women Entrepreneur Council (VWEC) is the<br />

Chairwoman of AWEN for 2014 to 2016. Madame Nguyen<br />

Thi Tuyet Minh's successor is social entrepreneur Pacita<br />

Chanthachone Vongsay and Irene Natividad, president of Global<br />

Summit in Sydney 2018<br />


10 delegates from ASEAN and General Anantaphone Kanjanarad, Minister of social welfare and human resource of Thailand at Women Economic<br />

Empowerment Forum May 10th in BKK, Thailand<br />

KC Group board Toulou and Ketsavanh Panyathip, Kissana and Chanthachone Vongsay in Brussels, May 16th 2018<br />

© Vincent Garnier<br />


Laos born, Vongsay spent time studying business in<br />

France, after which she returned to Laos to establish<br />

and build upon her local and international connections.<br />

Eight years in senior roles at Laos Beer were followed<br />

by a return to education, studying English Literature at<br />

the National University of Laos. A short period working<br />

in the hotel industry inspired Vongsay to start her own<br />

business. Today, almost twenty-five years later her varied<br />

business interests through her company KC Group<br />

include garment exporters, hotels, media, real estate as<br />

well as advisory roles for international and local business<br />

partners.<br />

Vongsay held the position of vice president of Lao<br />

Business Women’s Association between 2006-2014<br />

before being elected as a president in July 2014. She has<br />

been a member of AWEN since April 2014. Through<br />

her varied interests and commitments Vongsay aims to<br />

help and contribute towards the program and success<br />

of Lao Business Women, working both locally and<br />

internationally.<br />







<strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> had the great opportunity to<br />

attend the 2018 global summit of women under<br />

the theme of creating economies of shared value<br />

in Sydney Australia 26-28 April 2018.<br />

This summit allowed us to foster a stronger collaborative<br />

effort with many Women Leaders from both Government<br />

and Business sectors, including fellow Ministers and<br />

Business Women from 65 countries. This was a great<br />

pleasure and opportunity for us to exchange our experiences<br />

and discuss the most effective practices in advancing<br />

women’s economic opportunities.<br />

Throughout our participation in this Summit, we have<br />

gradually developed a comprehensive understanding from<br />

various successful leaders in regards to Business and<br />

View of speakers at Global Summit of Women<br />


Hon. Inlavanh Keobounphanh, LAO PDR, Minister / President, Lao Women’s Union<br />

56<br />

Politics. We have learned and agreed that in order for<br />

women to become successful in Business, there is a need for<br />

women to engage more in self-development and incorporate<br />

a more effective and suitable methodology in operating and<br />

developing their business. Moreover, the improvement of<br />

Business Women’s networking could also be seen as one<br />

of the most effective strategies to strengthen their Business<br />

Cooperation. From this, I am so delighted to become part<br />

of the Summit and to realize that a number of business<br />

companies have placed a stronger emphasis in promoting<br />

gender equality as can be seen from a higher number of<br />

women participation in a higher position within various<br />

organizations.<br />

For us, as Asian Women, there are still a number of<br />

challenges that we have to encounter and there is a need for<br />

us to work harder than men to succeed in our professions.<br />

Despite the fact that there are higher quotas for women in<br />

political and business participation, we are still struggling in<br />

gaining proper acceptance and reliability from some men.<br />

We believe that women have equal capability as men in<br />

various aspects of our lives and there is a need for us to<br />

develop a joint responsibility in promoting gender equality.<br />

I am profoundly confident that all the female leaders that<br />

attended the Summit this year cannot achieve their success<br />

in Business and political position without strong support<br />

and encouragement from their families and colleagues.<br />

No matter who we are and regardless of our professions, we,<br />

as women, are still the first to be up in the morning and the<br />

last person to go to bed at night, we are capable of taking<br />

care of our family and maintaining our professional lives at<br />

the same time. I believe that this is a time for our society to<br />

provide women with more room for growth and to engage<br />

more in the continual professional development both in<br />

political and business aspects.<br />

All Lao Women’s Union members are working harder<br />

everyday to develop Lao human resources particularly for<br />

women, to support women’s business opportunities as well<br />

as promoting foreign relations in improving Gender Equality<br />

in Laos.<br />

All in all, what we, women, can bring to international<br />

Diplomacy is our ‘devotion’ to everything that we do,<br />

not just for ourselves, but for everyone and everything<br />

surrounding us.

Lao Women group (students and CEO) at Global Summit of Women<br />




Dr. Keobounphanh was born on April 29, 1960 in<br />

Huaphanh Province. She is married with two children.<br />

She graduated in Medical Assistance in 1976 and has<br />

a Bachelor Degree of Medical Doctor in Obstetrics<br />

and Gynaecology at Thai Bing University of Vietnam<br />

in 1983. She completed Hospital Management at<br />

KUMAMOTO, University of Japan in 2000, and a<br />

Master Degree at the National Academy for Political and<br />

Public Administration in 2015.<br />

Between 1976 and 2010, she worked for 103 Military<br />

Hospitals with progressive roles and responsibilities;<br />

physician of obstetrics, chief of administration section<br />

and chief of personnel section respectively. Then she<br />

was appointed as Director of Sisattanak District Health<br />

Office and the Director General of Vientiane Capital<br />

Health Department. In between, she undertook other<br />

honourable roles and functions such as: President of<br />

HIV Control Committee in Vientiane Capital; the<br />

President of Community-based Health Insurance of<br />

Vientiane Capital; and the Vice President of Mother and<br />

Child and Control Outbreak Committee of Vientiane<br />

Capital.<br />

From 2010 to 2015, she was appointed as a Vice<br />

Minister of Health in charge of Personnel and<br />

Organization and later in charge of Hygiene and Health<br />

Promotion to oversight MDG 1, 4, 6 and 7 and Village<br />

Health Model. In addition, she took other honourable<br />

positions as Vice President of The National Committee<br />

for Mothers and Children, Member of the National<br />

Committee for Inflation, the National Committee<br />

Member of Rural Development and Poverty Eradication,<br />

and Member of the National Committee for the<br />

Advancement of Women, respectively.<br />

In 2015, she was appointed as President of Lao<br />

Women’s Union and Vice President of the National<br />

Committee for the Advancement of Women and Mother<br />

and Children.<br />

Dr. Keobounphanh speaks fluent Vietnamese, Japanese<br />

and some English.<br />





NORTH KOREA DURING 2012-2015<br />

<strong>Diplomatic</strong> relations between Laos (Lao PDR) and North<br />

Korea (DPRK) were established on June 24th 1974. Laos<br />

first established its diplomatic residency in North Korea<br />

in September 1998 and North Korea its residence in Laos<br />

in September 1976. In reality, Laos and North Korea had<br />

diplomatic relations before their national Liberations by<br />

the two parties: the Labor Party of North Korea in Korea<br />

and the Laos People’s Revolutionary party in Laos. Since<br />

the establishment of diplomatic relations, Laos and North<br />

Korea have more than 20 MOU but only political relations<br />

have been implemented at the level of exchange regarding<br />

delegations. Other sectors such as economic, social-cultural,<br />

educational and sport are yet to be implemented due to the<br />

lack of adequate funding.<br />

Culturally, life in North Korea and in Laos is very similar.<br />

Familial relations greatly inform life in the two countries<br />

with people often sharing similar familial relationships.<br />

Families live as one unit and usually consist of father,<br />

mother and children. The children normally leave the family<br />

unit when they get married. The people of North Korea<br />

live in peace and in unity under the leadership of the Labor<br />

Party of Korea.<br />

Portrait Kiettisack Keobandith, April 2018<br />

I think that diplomatic relations between North and South<br />

Korea should be re-established in the near future if there is<br />

no external interference. After the Korean war in 1950–1953<br />

finished, the leadership of both North and South Korea have<br />

met from time to time and in reality both countries have the<br />

Joint Venture in North Korea and also closely monitor the<br />

joint border. Meetings have also been held by families which<br />

were separated by the Korean war, these meetings have<br />

occurred one to two times per year.<br />

58<br />

Kiettisack Keobandith presented his credentials to H.E. Kim Yong Nam,<br />

President of Presidium of National Assembly of North Korea<br />

Dr. Pick Keobandith<br />

Director and Founder Inspiring Culture<br />


<strong>Diplomatic</strong> Corps and representatives of the International Organisations at the opening of the Snow Sky Resort in North Korea<br />

National Day Party<br />


After graduating from Vientiane Higher School of<br />

Pedagogy, Kiettisak Keobandith spent eleven years<br />

teaching in Vientiane. Six years at the government<br />

of Laos Agriculture and Forestry agency followed.<br />

Keobandith’s passion for protecting the unique Laotian<br />

landscape was combined with a passion for teaching<br />

during his next position spent as Deputy Director at the<br />

Laotian Forestry Training Center. Further roles within<br />

the Laotian government followed including Secretary<br />

for Foreign Affairs, as well as Deputy Directory of<br />

Research and Documentation and Director General,<br />

both positions in the State President’s office. His<br />

time at the State President’s office was spent working<br />

with a special focus on North Korean diplomacy, in<br />

preparation for his next role as Ambassador to North<br />

Korea. Three years (2012-2015) as Ambassador of<br />

Lao PDR to DPR of Korea were spent sensitively<br />

building and maintaining close working relationships<br />

with counterparts in North Korea. Upon the successful<br />

completion of his assignments in North Korea,<br />

Keobandith returned to Laos to work as Director<br />

General to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before<br />

retiring in 2017 to spend more time with his wife and<br />

family.<br />





Officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, the country<br />

which has become known for pioneering the<br />

concept of gross national happiness, is located<br />

in the Eastern Himalayas between China<br />

and India. Situated on the Silk Road Bhutan<br />

is a Buddhist country and the religion still<br />

informs the leadership of the country. Bhutan<br />

comprises of rich and varied landscapes,<br />

ranging from the Himalayan mountains in the<br />

north to subtropical plains in the south.<br />

60<br />

Is it possible to measure happiness? It is quite normal for<br />

the facts and figures of most countries to include indicators<br />

of wealth, of export and imports as well as access to<br />

education and leisure pursuits, it is less common however<br />

for a country to offer figures of happiness and for a country<br />

to place significant emphasis on such figures.<br />

Positioned between India and China, Bhutan has pursued<br />

ambitions to assess national levels of happiness since 1971<br />

and has used such figures to change or create new national<br />

policies in order to improve life in Bhutan.<br />

First conceived by Bhutan’s fourth King Jigme Singye<br />

Wangchuck, the philosophy of Gross National Happiness<br />

places happiness at a greater level than Gross Domestic<br />

Product and since has brought much international interest<br />

and attention to the country.<br />

How the figures of happiness are measured are<br />

complicated, and much discourse surrounds the ways to<br />

achieve the most effective and accurate parameters to<br />

measure happiness.<br />

Differing sources offer up different information with one<br />

site stating twenty-six variables for measuring happiness<br />

whilst another researcher speaks of the nine domains and<br />

thirty-three indicators of GNH.<br />

Ambitions to place a nation's happiness centre stage are<br />

inspirational, but when most countries figure their progress<br />

in purely monetary terms, how does Bhutan hope to<br />

communicate their strategy to the world?<br />

Although the King is known as the architect of the bold<br />

sounding strategy, the philosophy has recently found a more<br />

grounded realisation in the implementation of The GNH<br />

Assessment Tool for Business, which was initiated by Dasho<br />

Tshering Tobgay, the Prime Minister of Bhutan in 2015 at<br />

the sixth annual International Conference on GNH. It is here<br />

that the ambitions of the King can be seen as materialising<br />

and functioning on the level that many international<br />

businesses and diplomatic strategies may understand, that of<br />

promoting and pursuing sustainable business.<br />

The tools and parameters of assessment include such titles<br />

as Psychological Wellbeing, Health, Time Use, Education,<br />

Cultural Diversity and Resilience, Good Governance,<br />

Community Vitality, Ecological Diversity and Resilience<br />

and Living Standards.<br />

“While Business is important for the economy” the<br />

accompanying leaflet from the conference reads, “it can be<br />

harmful to society if the business is conducted purely for<br />

economic ends.”

It is here then, that Bhutan’s emphasis on measuring<br />

national levels of happiness, and subsequently to strive to<br />

achieve high and sustained levels in the growth of happiness<br />

rises to meet what have become key global issues, that of<br />

ensuring that business does not exploit national resources,<br />

that businesses are held accountable to the lives they<br />

alter and that ecological issues are placed at the centre of<br />

sustainable business growth.<br />

Bhutan, with its dreamy sounding GNH may have been far<br />

ahead of its time when it first announced its programme in<br />

1971. And as the UN and other international organisations<br />

continue to take on such parameters for happiness, we may<br />

all have Bhutan to thank for a potentially happier world to<br />

live in.<br />

Dr. Pick Keobandith<br />

Barbara Dietrich, H.E. Pema Choden and Dr. Pick Keobandith<br />


Ambassador of Bhutan to Belgium and the European<br />

Union with concurrent accreditation to Sweden,<br />

Netherlands, Finland, Denmark and Spain.<br />

Royal Bhutanese Embassy<br />

H.E. Mrs Pema Choden studied a degree in Arts<br />

in Bhutan after which she worked in the Bhutanese<br />

Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Attaché. Following<br />

further studies in Advanced French Language Skills, she<br />

returned to the Ministry of Foreign affairs to take up the<br />

role of Assistant Director. She was seconded to be first<br />

secretary at the Permanent Mission of Bhutan to the<br />

UN in Geneva between 2000 and 2003 after which she<br />

was first Under Secretary and then Head of Policy and<br />

Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Four years<br />

(2007-2011) was spent as Managing Director of The<br />

Bhutan Broadcasting Service. Choden was then Chief of<br />

Europe, Americas and Africa Division of the Bilateral<br />

Department. She has been Ambassador of Bhutan since<br />

2014, her first position in Bangladesh has been followed<br />

by her current role in Belgium and to the European<br />

Union.<br />







I discovered Matthieu Ricard in 2003 whilst reading<br />

“Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most<br />

Important Skill”. I remember how I smiled when the<br />

monk talked about the revolutionary concept of Gross<br />

National Happiness in Bhutan. The country appeared<br />

to me as a sort of sunny dreamy Shanghri-La.<br />

62<br />

A few days ago, even more powerful and intriguing<br />

information about my favourite philosopher monk<br />

Matthieu Ricard surprised me. He had been recently<br />

invited to the “<strong>World</strong> Happiness Summit” in Dubaï. He<br />

used this opportunity to talk about Altruism in the Arabic<br />

country where the Minister of Happiness is a woman,<br />

Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi.<br />



Much of the media were talking about the Happiest Man in<br />

the <strong>World</strong> who addressed the audience at the second edition<br />

of the UAE’s Happiness Journey. Ricard gave four main<br />

“recipes” that lead to happiness: Altruism, Compassion,<br />

Wisdom and Empathy. He encouraged everybody to<br />

meditate: “Even 20 minutes of meditation per day for a<br />

period of five weeks is enough to train our brain.” He added,<br />

“money can’t buy happiness. It can, however, bring happiness<br />

to both the giver and the receiver when donated.” “When<br />

enough individuals change themselves on purpose, we will<br />

head towards a happy society,” he said. “There needs to be a<br />

balance between social, financial and environmental wealth.”<br />

The Happiness Journey is inspired by the legacy of the<br />

UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al<br />

Nahyan, and highlights his values which have been adopted<br />

as national values.<br />

Later, Ricard inaugurated the first day of the <strong>World</strong><br />

Government Summit 2018 by leading the audience in a<br />

guided meditation. He repeated again what he has been<br />

saying for ten years in the <strong>World</strong> Economic Forum in<br />

Davos.<br />

“Our beautiful planet is in urgent need of a strategy that<br />

focuses on a qualitative life that achieves sustainable<br />

harmony by remedying inequalities and achieving social<br />

justice, as well as caring economics that balances financial,<br />

social and environmental prosperity.”<br />

Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi is<br />

the Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing<br />

in the UAE Government. H.E. Al Roumi is also the<br />

Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office at<br />

the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future in the<br />

UAE government. Al Roumi is the Vice-President<br />

of the <strong>World</strong> Government Summit Organization<br />

that holds the <strong>World</strong> Government Summit annually<br />

and brings together governments leaders, policy<br />

makers, and private sector to explore the future of<br />

governments. H.E. Al Roumi is a member of the<br />

Higher National Committee for the Year of Giving,<br />

established in 2017 to lead the development of a<br />

comprehensive framework for the Year of Giving<br />


The Budhists believe the mango tree to be holy, capable of granting wishes.<br />

© Luna Brusselaers<br />

Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, writer and<br />

photographer. He has been the French interpreter for the<br />

Dalai Lama since 1989. He has lived in the Himalayan<br />

region for the last forty-five years. Born in France in<br />

1946, as the son of philosopher Jean-François Revel<br />

and artist Yahne Le Toumelin. He earned a Ph.D. in cell<br />

genetics at the Pasteur Institute under Nobel Laureate<br />

Francois Jacob. He travelled to the Himalayas in 1967<br />

and has studied with some of the greatest masters of<br />

Tibetan Buddhism.<br />

He lives at Shechen Monastery in Nepal. Matthieu<br />

Ricard donates all proceeds from his books and<br />

conferences, as well as much of his time to 200<br />

humanitarian projects in Nepal, India and Tibet which<br />

serve over 250,000 persons every year in the fields of<br />

health care, education and social service. He is also<br />

active for the preservation of the Himalayan cultural<br />

heritage.<br />

www.karuna-shechen.org - www.shechen.org<br />




8 - 9 s e p t e m b e r 2 0 1 8<br />

1 0 t h e d i t i o n<br />

B o z a r - B r u s s e l s<br />

" T A K I N G C A R E O F L I F E "<br />






Céline Alvarez, Christophe<br />

André, Alexandre Jollien, Edel<br />

Maex, Ilios Kotsou, Matthieu<br />

Ricard, Frédéric Lenoir and other<br />

fa<br />

mous authors will take part in<br />

this anniversary edition.<br />

Changing yourself to change the<br />

world is our deepest aspiration.<br />

All the benefi<br />

ts of this event are<br />

donated to solidarity proj<br />

ects<br />

around the world, fr<br />

om Belgium<br />

to India and Brazil.<br />

Choose between fi<br />

ve thematic<br />

workshops off<br />

fe<br />

red by our<br />

speakers: Health, Education,<br />

Interdependence, Joy or Nature.<br />


- 8/09/18 : SOLD OUT<br />

- 9/09/18 : 8h30 - 13:00 - 45 euros.<br />

Bozar, Ru<br />

e Ravenstein 23, 1000 Brussels<br />

This event will be in French.<br />

B O O K O N L I N E :<br />

J O U R N E E S E M E R G E N C E S . O R G<br />










The information will be made available on state of the art<br />

interactive touchscreen totems. The totems will be installed<br />

at strategic locations such as embassies and consulates,<br />

international institutions, universities and other public and<br />

private spaces.<br />

Besides content provided by <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong>, the screens<br />

will display personalised content provided by the host.<br />

The project is a joint venture initiative between <strong>Diplomatic</strong><br />

<strong>World</strong> and Visualys, a market leader in digital screens and<br />

communication networks with over 10 years of experience<br />

and expertise in this field. Both companies are members<br />

of The Anchor Group (www.anchorg.com) who made the<br />

match possible between both partners.<br />

The new generation, fully Android-operated, robust touch<br />

screens and the cloud-based DSMS software Visunet make<br />

it possible to individually manage and update personalised<br />

content per screen in a few clicks.<br />

“For <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> this innovative project is in line with<br />

our strategy which is to enlarge the scope of <strong>Diplomatic</strong><br />

<strong>World</strong> beyond the paper magazine and to embrace<br />

technology to spread diplomacy, celebrate diverse cultures<br />

and bring messages of hope and peace,” says Barbara<br />

Dietrich, owner of <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong>.<br />

The goal is to deploy a pilot of 10 screens to be installed<br />

at key locations by the end of 2018 and scale up the<br />

diplomatic network to over 100 screens in 2019.<br />

“We are very excited about this partnership” explains<br />

Yannick Kalantarian, CEO of Visualys. “The <strong>Diplomatic</strong><br />

<strong>World</strong> digital platform fits perfectly in our strategy to<br />

develop our indoor digital communication platform”.<br />

“With our newest generation Android operated professional<br />

IPS posters and totems and our Visunet cloud based<br />

management systems we are able to operate the network<br />

remotely, both for content and maintenance.”<br />

Ivan Hiel, co-founder of The Anchor Group adds,<br />

“I am proud that our B2B network managed to bring two<br />

completely different companies and industries together to<br />

work on a common project; it encourages us to keep doing<br />

what we do best, building bridges between cultures and<br />

companies around the globe with the goal to make them<br />

grow. And isn’t that the ultimate goal of diplomacy.”<br />

For more information about the project or any digital<br />

advertising and communication solutions, please contact<br />

Yannick Kalantarian at yannick@kalantarian.eu or visit the<br />

Visualys website (www.visualys.eu).<br />





The work of the Colombian artist Olga<br />

de Amaral has almost single-handedly<br />

opened a space for weaving in the<br />

contemporary art world.<br />

Since 1967 her textiles have travelled the world, as the long<br />

and distinguished list of museums and galleries where her<br />

work has been exhibited attests. She was, for example, the<br />

first Colombian woman to be honored with a Guggenheim<br />

Fellowship, which she received in 1973. Her long career<br />

both in Colombia and in Europe received the recognition it<br />

deserved in 2005 when she was named “Visionary Artist of<br />

the Year” by the New York Museum of Art and Design.<br />

But perhaps “textile” is not the right word to describe her<br />

work. In fact, what de Amaral does is build on a tradition of<br />

methodical and precise weaving techniques and through the<br />

development of her own language of color and texture, move<br />

textiles into a new domain. In the end, her textiles could<br />

be described more accurately as sculptures or paintings. Or<br />

perhaps the description does not matter: they are simply<br />

works of art. Curiously, the more abstract they appear, the<br />

more real and concrete they seem to us.<br />

De Amaral has developed at the same time – and for<br />

that very reason – a very personal language and a<br />

universal language that builds bridges between weaving<br />

traditions and contemporary art, as can be seen in the<br />

numerous exhibitions of her work in museums such as<br />

66<br />

H.E. Dr. Sergio Jaramillo Caro and Valérie Bach

Olga de Amaral<br />

the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the Museum of<br />

Modern Art in Paris or the Museum of Contemporary Art<br />

in Boston.<br />

We now have the privilege to view her textiles in Brussels at<br />

the La Patinoire Royale, an extraordinary space which does<br />

full justice to the range and depth of her work.<br />

Increasingly, Colombian art is seen in the leading galleries<br />

of Europe; names like Doris Salcedo or Oscar Muñoz have<br />

been household names of the contemporary art scene for<br />

some time now. And Bogota itself has become a major<br />

centre of contemporary art in the Americas. It is yet<br />

another merit of the Patinoire exhibition to remind us that<br />

that great outburst of creative energy in Colombia did not<br />

come out of nowhere, but rather is itself a continuation of<br />

the visionary work of artists such as Olga de Amaral. And<br />

for that, La Patinoire Royale deserves our thanks.<br />

La Patinoire Royale / Galerie Valérie Bach<br />





On 25 April the Embassy of Colombia in Belgium<br />

and Inspiring Culture co-organized an event<br />

celebrating the exhibition “The spirit of Light” by<br />

Olga de Amaral at La Patinoire Royale in Brussels.<br />

<strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> also attended and we are<br />

delighted to share some pictures and impressions.<br />


The Patinoire Royale - Galerie Valérie Bach has become,<br />

for the length of this exhibition, a temple housing the<br />

Amerindian spirit and its powerful spiritual charge, in direct<br />

connection with the cosmos, through the timeless work of<br />

the Colombian artist Olga de Amaral. This unclassifiable<br />

artist and her creative production, whose eternal strength is<br />

haloed with gold - a pure, magnificent and divine material,<br />

comprising her means of expression – are presented here for<br />

her first retrospective in Belgium, and shows a selection of<br />

some forty exceptional works, made during the last 15 years.<br />

Her luminous work re-explores the textile tradition of South<br />

America, with direct reference to the colours, shapes,<br />

graphics and materials of the pre-Columbian world, using<br />

gold or silver leaf, as well as natural pigments such as<br />

indigo, amaranth, turquoise, and earth-colours, in a vast<br />

firework display against a backdrop of Andean music.<br />

Her great sensitivity, applied to a meticulous textile<br />

practice with an innate taste for interlace, mosaics and<br />

braids, makes Olga de Amaral an intermediary between the<br />

ancestral spirituality of the Incas and contemporary society.<br />

These artefacts are a poignant testimony to this immense<br />

civilization, which disappeared in the first half of the 16th<br />

century.<br />

68<br />

Pueblo J, 2011, linen, gesso, gold leaf and acrylic paint, 200 x 80 cm - Courtesy of Casa Amaral<br />

© Diego Amaral

Olga de Amaral at La Patinoire Royale / Galerie Valérie Bach<br />

The work of Olga de Amaral, characterized by a high<br />

degree of unity and integrity for over sixty years, is so<br />

much more than a simple visual manifestation, purely<br />

attractive, without any function other than the very<br />

decorative, achieved through colour and metallic sparkle.<br />

The work of weaving, cutting and combing textile fibres,<br />

sometimes freed from linen straps or organized by falling<br />

wire curtains, sometimes immersed in gesso, or using the<br />

art of gluing Japanese paper stiffened by cord, these are just<br />

some of many surprising techniques directly inspired by<br />

the ethnographic skills of Amerindian civilizations. They<br />

constitute the structuring axis of a timeless production,<br />

with the boundaries shifting between contemporary work<br />

and archaeological remains.<br />

A powerful force runs through these colours and metallic<br />

tones, which range from bronze to silver, from gold to<br />

mother of pearl, leading our imagination to focus on a<br />

shape raining with reflections and colour, its strength<br />

borrowed from Russian icons or Buddhist Stupa. The artist<br />

has invested these murals with a deeply spiritual, almost<br />

sacred perspective, which results in the subtle effect of a<br />

creative process similar to prayer or meditation. Each of<br />

Olga de Amaral’s works, in its singular originality, appears<br />

as the narrative of an inner journey, recounting the joys and<br />

sorrows, the difficulties and the epiphanies, the worries and<br />

the certainties of this artist who, at the height of her fame<br />

and international renown, continues to practice her art as a<br />

tireless and humble seeker.<br />

To contemplate a work of Olga de Amaral is to be dazzled<br />

by the light of a spirit.<br />

La Patinoire Royale / Galerie Valérie Bach<br />

www.prvbgallery.com<br />

15, rue Veydt - 1060 Bruxelles<br />

T +32 2 533 03 90<br />

info@lapatinoireroyale.com<br />

info@galerievaleriebach.com<br />





The AWDC acts as the steward as well as the voice<br />

of the Antwerp diamond industry. 84 percent of<br />

all rough diamonds and 50 percent of all polished<br />

diamonds traded in the world pass through Antwerp<br />

at least once. A round-up.<br />

As CEO of AWDC – Antwerp <strong>World</strong> Diamond<br />

Centre – could you explain the importance of<br />

your organisation and its position in the world of<br />

diamonds?<br />

With the entire spectrum of diamond industry services<br />

condensed into a small location, Antwerp is really a<br />

bellwether for trade as a whole. We view Antwerp as the<br />

world’s leading trade hub, and act accordingly. That means<br />

we at the AWDC assume responsibility for promoting a<br />

sustainable, innovative and compliant diamond trade, that<br />

we try to steer the industry in the right direction either<br />

through our own initiatives, or through our support for<br />

organizations we believe are best in class, such as the<br />

Kimberley Process, the <strong>World</strong> Diamond Council, the<br />

Diamond Development Initiative, and so on.<br />

banks, the KP, NGOs, and individual traders, we need to<br />

make sure that the trade runs smoothly and correctly. The<br />

Diamond Office is housed in our building and is under<br />

our umbrella. This government-controlled body is where<br />

all diamond imports to Belgium arrive and where they are<br />

checked before being exported. The Diamond Office has a<br />

huge role to play in the compliance of our industry. They<br />

physically inspect every single shipment that comes through<br />

our doors, and issues KP certificates for the ones that leave.<br />

The AWDC acts as the steward as well as the voice of<br />

the Antwerp diamond industry. It is our task to ensure<br />

that all of the 1.600 diamond companies that do business<br />

here, whether large or small, enjoy a business climate that<br />

facilitates their growth. To this point, it appears we have<br />

achieved that, as 84 percent of all rough diamonds and<br />

50 percent of all polished diamonds traded in the world<br />

pass through Antwerp at least once. In hard figures, this<br />

translates into a yearly average of 225 million carats valued<br />

at $48 billion, making Antwerp’s diamond trade responsible<br />

for 5 percent of all Belgian exports and 15 percent of all<br />

Belgian exports outside the EU. This means diamonds are<br />

Belgium’s most important export product outside the EU.<br />

Despite these impressive figures, we take nothing for<br />

granted. We try to ensure that Antwerp remains the most<br />

favorable location to do business in our industry. Whether<br />

70<br />

this entails working together with the government, the<br />

Ari Epstein<br />


© AWDC<br />

We organize and participate in many missions and visits<br />

around the world, from major to emerging diamond centers.<br />

We maintain relationships in Russia, Canada, throughout<br />

Africa, China, Japan, Brazil and wherever diamonds are<br />

traded. We also are the focal point in the industry for<br />

foreign visits to Antwerp. We work to bring rough and<br />

polished business to the Antwerp trade – for instance, the<br />

three biggest new mines to start production in the last year<br />

are all bringing their goods to Antwerp.<br />

We also make great efforts to be at the forefront of positive<br />

changes in the industry globally. We advocate for a<br />

sustainable industry, and want consumers and the public at<br />

large to know about it, so we put a lot of energy, resources<br />

and talent into communicating about the industry. The<br />

AWDC also assumes its responsibility when it comes to<br />

marketing the industry as a whole. A few weekends ago,<br />

we hosted an innovative hackathon to bring young minds<br />

to bear on industry issues, we partnered with CARAT+, a<br />

major diamond trade fair and we saw the opening of a new<br />

diamond museum, a project we have assisted the City of<br />

Antwerp with for a long time. We held our first Antwerp<br />

Summer University last year, and will be organizing it again<br />

this year. And we are a strong partner in the European<br />

Union KP Chairmanship through the <strong>World</strong> Diamond<br />

Council (WDC), representing the industry within the KP.<br />

Could you share with us some key factors that will<br />

influence the future of the diamond business?<br />

The biggest factor, ultimately, is consumer confidence. How<br />

do we make sure consumers continue to desire and purchase<br />

our product? This entails myriad issues, from CSR to<br />

transparency to effective marketing. Our duty in this regard<br />

is to make sure the trade is embracing the expectations of<br />

21st century consumers. Is it a sustainable trade? Is it fair?<br />

And do people understand the good diamonds do for so<br />

many people in developing countries?<br />

The industry, as a whole, needs to continue erasing the<br />

causes of doubt among consumers if it wants to have a<br />

prosperous future. We need to stay current so the younger<br />

generations will still want our product in twenty years. This<br />

is not so obvious any more. We have come a long way in<br />

cleaning up our reputation and earning their trust, but we<br />

still need to improve and stay focused. On the other hand,<br />

it may be the case that the industry is sometimes judged<br />

unfairly. In this regard, we need to make more efforts to<br />

educate people about the trade. As for factors internal to<br />

the trade, there are many. Rising prices for rough goods<br />

and stagnating polished prices leave manufacturers and<br />

traders in the midstream with very small margins. Access<br />

to financing is still a major challenge, and high-profile cases<br />

centered around certain bad actors do not help. To this end,<br />


we need diamond companies to have clear and transparent<br />

accounting and trade practices, and we are working to give<br />

them the tools to have that.<br />

It is also the case that AWDC’s commitment to promoting<br />

the 5th C of compliance and CSR in the Antwerp trade<br />

sometimes left us at a short-term disadvantage compared to<br />

other trade centers that pay less attention to these matters.<br />

However, we fully believe that in the long run, implementing<br />

sustainable business practices is putting us in a better<br />

position to succeed.<br />

Could you share with us how process innovation and<br />

technology, from vertical chain point of view, both in<br />

mining and craftsmanship and distribution will evolve<br />

the diamond business in the next coming years ?<br />

We have already seen significant amounts of streamlining<br />

throughout the industry, particularly from major players as<br />

they harness technology to control their supply chains from<br />

mine to finger. This is commonly referred to as ‘track and<br />

trace’ technology. For example, in the last two weeks alone<br />

we have seen major announcements from leading industry<br />

organizations concerning innovations designed to bring<br />

greater transparency to the trade.<br />

The world’s largest diamond grading lab, the GIA<br />

(Gemologicial Institute of America), just announced the<br />

launch of their pilot program, together with Hong Kong/<br />

China’s leading jewelry retailer, Chow Tai Fook, which will<br />

use blockchain technology to deliver secure, digital diamond<br />

grading reports to consumers for the first time. Then we<br />

heard that the United States’ largest diamond jewelry<br />

retailer Signet will be participating in De Beers’ blockchain<br />

pilot for tracking diamonds by providing a digital link<br />

from diamond production to retail. Every diamond on the<br />

blockchain will carry a digital certificate storing its key<br />

attributes and transactions, enabling consumers to know<br />

that a stone is natural and conflict-free. They started this<br />

project with the Diamond Development Initiative, an<br />

organization we have long supported, which advocates on<br />

the behalf of small-scale artisanal miners in Africa.<br />

Then you have one of the leading miners, Lucara Diamond<br />

Corp., rolling out a digital platform aiming to transform<br />

the way diamonds are sold. Finally, right here in our own<br />

back yard, we have the winner of our Hack4Diamonds<br />

Blockchain challenge, DiaVest, which focused on finding<br />

a solution for invoice financing. Building their prototype<br />

on the Hyperledger Fabric, they developed an alternative<br />

financing method whereby third-party financiers could<br />

bid to service an invoice for a diamond purchase at very<br />

favorable rates, supplying the capital needed to purchase<br />

goods. Using blockchain technology, they built in a system<br />

of checks to validate transactions and ensure invoices match<br />

shipments.<br />

It is safe to say the digital revolution has finally taken root<br />

in the diamond industry, and its transformation is well<br />

underway. People are still exploring how they might be able<br />

to implement the latest technology, but we are clearly on the<br />

way to achieving a great deal more clarity as to how goods<br />

move and are sold throughout the supply chain. This will<br />

only increase in the coming years.<br />

72<br />

<br />


© AWDC<br />

You are travelling all over the world to compose<br />

a thorough view of your business. Do you see<br />

certain evolutions that could affect the position<br />

of stakeholders in the global diamond business?<br />

Perhaps the best way to address this is to look at market<br />

developments. Globally, diamond demand should grow<br />

at approximately 3%, based on trends in the U.S., China<br />

and globally. The United States market continues to be the<br />

bedrock of global diamond demand, representing nearly<br />

50% of the market. In this regard alone, we should have<br />

reason to feel confident about the strength of the market.<br />

US consumer confidence hit an 18-year high just a couple<br />

months ago, reflecting its stable economic environment.<br />

And the dollar has trended down, making diamonds<br />

cheaper to import and to purchase. Statistics from the US<br />

show that jewelry demand as a whole rose by about 7%<br />

from 2016 to 2017. We just have to make sure that they are<br />

buying diamond jewelry.<br />

this lowers the barrier to a repeat purchase. So, sales might<br />

rise, but I worry that margins could stagnate, particularly if<br />

rough prices remain high, and every indication is that they<br />

will, as we are gradually heading toward a scenario where<br />

demand will outstrip supply. We have seen polished prices<br />

increasing in 2018, but De Beers, for instance, has also<br />

raised their rough prices to match. This makes it tough on<br />

our market.<br />

Concerning the large and upcoming markets, Greater<br />

China’s consumer demand for diamonds is now about 20%<br />

of global demand and is clearly on the rise. The economic<br />

downturn of 2015 seems to be in the rear-view mirror.<br />

The market’s largest jeweler, Chow Tai Fook, has seen<br />

several consecutive quarters of sales growth, and the other<br />

major retailers have experienced the same. The sheer fact<br />

of middle-class population growth in Mainland China<br />

and India will continue to be a consistent driver of global<br />

demand.<br />

The fears that millennials are no longer interested in<br />

diamonds have really been calmed by the facts and figures<br />

from the major diamond retailers. They are still buying<br />

diamonds whether they are getting married or not. The<br />

one negative is the trend for purchasing smaller goods,<br />

which is spreading beyond the US and into China. Then<br />

again, once consumers have acquired their first diamond,<br />

AWDC has been a pioneer related to stress the<br />

importance of a global sustainable diamond<br />

business environment and create the necessary<br />

tools to manage this sustainable process. How do<br />

you see the future of ethics, audit processing and<br />

certification schemes – like the Kimberley Process<br />

Certification Scheme – evolve?<br />


At the risk of repeating myself, the AWDC takes great pride<br />

in promoting what we call the “5th C” (referring to the 4Cs,<br />

which define the parameters of a diamond), standing for<br />

Compliance, Confidence, and CSR. This is the core of our<br />

business model and a strong focus in our medium and longterm<br />

strategy, not only for the Antwerp diamond industry,<br />

but also for the global diamond industry. We deliberately<br />

opted several years ago to make this a focus of our business<br />

model. I am proud to say that the AWDC made sustainable<br />

business a priority in the diamond industry well before<br />

many others had even woken up to the idea, and now we<br />

are seeing it start to pay off, as the industry moves in this<br />

direction.<br />

More and more companies and organizations are reaching<br />

out to their suppliers and customers to work together on<br />

issues of sustainability, environmental responsibility, ethics<br />

and compliance. Unfortunately, there are still companies,<br />

and diamond trade centers, that have refused to get on<br />

board. Some players in our industry continue to believe<br />

the myth that the only legitimate way of doing business is<br />

to brush aside concerns for anything but the bottom line.<br />

We do not view this as a viable approach any more, as<br />

adherence to a sustainable diamond trade is here to stay.<br />

We are hoping for the best with regards to the Kimberley<br />

Process moving forward on its reform agenda, but the<br />

structure dictates that reform is only adopted by consensus<br />

rather than majority. Regardless, we are promoting<br />

progressive reform, and hope the global industry will<br />

listen.<br />

Personal trust and the simple gentleman’s<br />

transactional agreement are still key factors in<br />

closing multimillion-dollar sales of diamonds. Do<br />

you see these old school personal relations evolve in<br />

a digital age?<br />

It is true that trust in gentlemen’s agreements continues<br />

to play a major role in the industry, but with finance and<br />

bankability being such crucial issues these days, we apply<br />

more than old-school faith in a handshake. To put it bluntly,<br />

the banks no longer trust our system of trust. We are hard at<br />

work to build their confidence, and take many initiatives in<br />

this regard.<br />

For instance, together with our counterpart in India, the<br />

GJEPC (Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council),<br />

we have set up an industry-wide Know Your Customer<br />

exchange platform, called my KYC Bank. And we have been<br />

developing a Blockchain platform, which has the ambition<br />

to get all active diamond traders to use it. It will be a system<br />

for the largest companies already receiving bank financing<br />

to disclose their invoices and related information, and it will<br />

increase the bankability of smaller traders by simplifying<br />

their accounting and making it accessible to the banks. In<br />

other words, when it comes to sealing diamond deals, it<br />

will be a significant step toward replacing the romanticized<br />

handshake with invoices and normal terms and conditions.<br />

We also hold regular seminars and provide information<br />

to traders in Antwerp about proper financing and about<br />

anti-money laundering, and have provided them access to a<br />

huge KYC database. We help them to stay aware of their tax<br />

74<br />

<br />


© AWDC<br />

obligations and try to make sure they follow best practices.<br />

The industry is evolving quickly toward heightened<br />

compliance and transparency, and we intend to stay at the<br />

top of the evolutionary ladder.<br />

diamond trade. To put that in hard figures: in 2017, the<br />

AWDC’s Diamond Office registered imports of nearly<br />

31 million carats of rough diamonds from Russia,<br />

representing a total value of 2.7 billion dollars.<br />

In April you visited Russia, being part of an<br />

economic mission of the City of Antwerp.<br />

The baseline of the mission to Moscow and<br />

St. Petersburg was named ‘connecting worlds,<br />

moving to solid partnerships’. Russia and especially<br />

Alrosa are preferred partners of Antwerp for rough<br />

diamonds for ages with a solid history. How do you<br />

see this relationship evolve?<br />

As you know, Russia is now, without a doubt, Antwerp’s<br />

most important commercial partner, representing 32% of<br />

all rough goods traded in the diamond capital in terms<br />

of volume, and 25% of the total value of Antwerp’s rough<br />

Over the years, our relationship with ALROSA has<br />

become much more than just a formal strategic<br />

alignment. We have redoubled our commitment to<br />

building this relationship between the world’s largest<br />

diamond producer and the world’s leading trade center.<br />

With this in mind, in April we signed a new cooperation<br />

agreement that goes further than the previous ones.<br />

With this cooperation agreement, ALROSA and<br />

AWDC commit to supporting one another across a<br />

broad spectrum of topics, from the open exchange<br />

of information to the promotion of joint marketing<br />

initiatives.<br />


Antwerp Diamond Quarter © AWDC<br />

76<br />

It also seals our commitment to protect the integrity and<br />

transparency of the diamond value chain by supporting the<br />

work of the <strong>World</strong> Diamond Council and the Kimberley<br />

Process, and reaffirms our efforts to improve consumer<br />

confidence in our product. Signing this agreement sends a<br />

clear signal that we embrace our leading roles in the global<br />

diamond industry, and that the AWDC and ALROSA will<br />

continue working together, commercially as well as from a<br />

leadership perspective, for what I believe will be a long time<br />

to come.<br />

How could universities and schools create or<br />

adapt special programs that stimulate and build<br />

knowledge and expertise to a new generation of<br />

entrepreneurs, professionals or masters in diamond<br />

cutting? AWDC in collaboration with the University<br />

of Antwerp will organize a 2 week summer school<br />

in August-September. Last year the summer school<br />

was attended by students, young professionals and<br />

researchers from 4 continents. How can you grow<br />

these educational programs?<br />

We are very proud of the success of the very first Antwerp<br />

Summer University last year, and are looking forward to the<br />

second edition this year. The registrations are well ahead of<br />

our expectations already. We should also not forget all of the<br />

diamond training courses on offer by HRD Antwerp, which<br />

offers a wide assortment of certified courses in diamond<br />

grading, polishing, sorting and planning, among others.<br />

AWDC encourages businesses to provide apprenticeships<br />

to diamond cutters and polishers in training, and last year<br />

we collaborated with a local university college to create a<br />

diamond-themed syllabus for children aged 10 to 12 for use<br />

in schools, to generate interest from a young age.<br />

We also offer many seminar-style lectures and discussion<br />

groups about a wide variety of topics for people in the<br />

industry, and are encouraging cross-pollination with other<br />

industries, for example during a recent ‘power breakfast’,<br />

where we invited innovators from various backgrounds to<br />

share their expertise with diamond industry members, but<br />

also people from outside our industry. The first session was<br />

well-received, and we already have a second session planned.<br />

Early May, Antwerp was host for the second time to<br />

CARAT+, an important trade fair for diamonds and<br />

jewels in a b-to-b context. How important is this fair<br />

for Antwerp as a diamond centre?<br />

AWDC was proud to be a Main Partner of CARAT+. After<br />

bursting onto the diamond scene last year with a successful<br />

maiden edition, we knew CARAT+ represented the future of<br />

diamond trade shows in Antwerp, and also knew we wanted<br />

to be part of it. The second edition of CARAT+ was another<br />

giant step forward in their objective to become the world’s<br />

premier diamond event.

We agree with the organizers that the Diamond Capital<br />

needs a trade fair worthy of this title, one where diamonds<br />

are the main attraction rather than a side-show. We feel<br />

it is important to support our traders – whether they deal<br />

in loose stones, jewelry or diamond services – by bringing<br />

in buyers and showing the world that Antwerp is open for<br />

business, and that we offer more than the harsh concrete<br />

streets of the diamond district. We think it will continue to<br />

grow.<br />

In parallel with Carat+ the first Diamond<br />

Hackathon – Hack4Diamonds – took place<br />

in Antwerp. Over 60 hackers challenged the<br />

diamond industry in its core processes. Specific<br />

and confidential data that moves around, related<br />

to financial transactions, trade and sales,<br />

certification, shipping, communication with<br />

government and general documenting, the flow of<br />

process information is enormous. What were the<br />

results of the hackathon and how do you see the<br />

role of blockchain evolve in your business?<br />

I was very pleased with the results from this maiden<br />

Hack4Diamonds. By implementing new technologies, such<br />

as Blockchain, Antwerp intends to secure for the future its<br />

leading position in the global diamond trade. We might be<br />

the most important diamond trade center in the world right<br />

now, but the task at hand is to make sure we stay there,<br />

and this means proactively searching for solutions to the<br />

challenges our trade faces. Thanks to Hack4Diamonds, we<br />

have some new ideas to start working on.<br />

The first week of May DIVA – the new diamond<br />

museum in Antwerp – opened as an interactive<br />

museum, telling stories while showing magnificent<br />

pieces. What are your personal highlights in the<br />

DIVA museum?<br />

The interactive nature of DIVA as a whole, which makes<br />

it an engaging experience center rather than just another<br />

traditional museum, was one of the highlights as such. In<br />

this way, it welcomes people of all ages and walks of life,<br />

rather than people already interested in diamonds like a<br />

traditional ‘museum’ might offer. Antwerp was really in<br />

need of an accessible focal point for people to learn about<br />

the trade and to experience some incredible pieces of<br />

jewelry, and DIVA is just the ticket.<br />

Personally, I am a little biased as a result of my position in<br />

the industry, but I particularly enjoyed the interactive globe<br />

showing the various diamond trade routes and the history<br />

of the trade, demonstrating how Antwerp came to be the<br />

diamond capital of the world. The vault is a really engaging<br />

and informative space, and the spectacular diamond boots<br />

are a cannot-miss.<br />

Bruno Devos and Barbara Dietrich<br />

www.awdc.be<br />

www.divaantwerp.be - www.caratplusantwerp.com<br />

Furthermore, in order to stay ahead of global competition,<br />

it is important that we engage with external businesses and<br />

professionals, and listen to their insights and particular<br />

expertise. This culture of co-creation, led by the inaugural<br />

Hack4Diamonds event in Antwerp, is what will truly spur<br />

innovation across our industry.<br />

As I already mentioned, we have been developing a<br />

Blockchain platform, which has the ambition to get all<br />

active diamond traders to use it. It will be a system for<br />

the largest companies already receiving bank financing to<br />

disclose their invoices and related information, and it will<br />

increase the bankability of smaller traders by simplifying<br />

their accounting and making it accessible to the banks. We<br />

are also excited to see the result of the invoice financing<br />

solution currently being developed by our Hack4Diamonds<br />

blockchain challenge winner DiaVest, which I mentioned<br />

above.<br />

Barbara Dietrich and Ari Epstein<br />


Transience<br />

Season 2018—2019<br />


dancers Ballet Vlaanderen<br />

from 08.09.18<br />


Richard Wagner<br />

from 20.09.18<br />


Akram Khan<br />

from 16.10.18<br />


Philip Glass<br />

from 18.11.18<br />



Georges Bizet<br />

from 14.12.18<br />


Tankard / Brown / Brabants<br />

from 19.12.18<br />

BOLÉRO<br />

Cherkaoui / Graham / Béjart<br />

from 25.02.19<br />


Paul Hindemith<br />

from 03.02.19<br />

JOY<br />

Inger / Ekman<br />

from 29.03.19<br />

LES<br />


Hèctor Parra<br />

from 24.04.19<br />


Benjamin Millepied<br />

from 19.05.19<br />


Giuseppe Verdi<br />

from 21.06.19<br />

LA JUIVE<br />

Jacques Fromental Halévy<br />

from 10.03.19<br />

Beeld: Hans Op de Beeck<br />





OF JAPAN<br />





At a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan,<br />

<strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> presented a 'Peace Angel' by Ulrike<br />

Bolenz. Thanks to the support of Mr. Kiury Usmanov.<br />

The Peace Rally is a part of St. Petersburg International<br />

Economic Forum (SPIEF).<br />

"Rally of the <strong>World</strong> 2018 - Monaco - St. Petersburg -<br />

Monaco", the first run of which was held in 1911 under the<br />

patronage of Prince Albert I of Monaco and the Emperor<br />

of Russia Nicholas II.<br />

'Peace Angel' by Ulrike Bolenz<br />





Meta-Morphosis specializes in preserving cultural<br />

and industrial heritage and visualizing memories<br />

through the conservation or re-orientation of<br />

patrimony and objects. Their strength lies in the<br />

ability to balance complex subjects and rendering<br />

them intelligible and appealing.<br />

Meta-Morphosis was founded in June 2015 by Axel<br />

Ruhomaully and Franck Depaifve after the discovery of<br />

an ancient coalmine in Belgium: le Hasard de Cheratte.<br />

The “Ceci n’est pas que du patrimoine” project intended<br />

to introduce children who lived near the mine to their<br />

patrimony and show them that their roots have a rich<br />

history. Ruhomaully and Depaifve then built a company<br />

around their shared vision: the active preservation of<br />

historical places and the memories attached to them. With<br />

their work they wish to convey a sense of pride to the next<br />

generations, ensuring that a lack of interest does not destroy<br />

the memory of historical places, even when they themselves<br />

have transformed or disappeared.<br />

Many treasures are dormant in museums and historical<br />

places. Therefore, Meta-Morphosis makes deals with<br />

them to photograph the pieces, exposed or non-exposed.<br />

The photographs can be sold and 30% of the earnings are<br />

donated to the place or institution where the pieces are<br />

kept. Simultaneously, Meta-Morphosis scans the historical<br />

locations and makes models to present them to clients for<br />

sponsorship.<br />

Meta-Morphosis also publishes books and editions of<br />

certain projects. In 2019, they will bring out a new artbook<br />

celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Justice Palace in<br />

Brussels, with Stockmans Art Books as a co-publisher.<br />


Do not forget to find pleasure in what you do<br />

Do not fear coincidence or the unknown<br />

Listen to experts<br />

Feed children’s imagination<br />

Find beauty in everything<br />

Open a range of possibilities<br />

Accept perceptions as reality<br />

Build bridges to give meaning<br />

Be where you are not expected<br />

Show pride that inspires<br />

During these explorations (of industrial terrains,<br />

administrative buildings, museums, …) they often discover<br />

objects, furniture or accessories that have no museum<br />

value but that have an important historic ‘charge’.<br />

Meta-Morphosis certifies their origins, repairs them when<br />

necessary, cleans them up and then sells them in their<br />

original state or after they have been treated by an artist.<br />

The results of these sales fund the realisation of<br />

Meta-Morphosis’s multimedia projects.<br />

Pages 80-89<br />

Meta-Morphosis<br />

© Meta-Morphosis<br />















Page 81<br />

©Axel Ruhomaully / Meta-Morphosis<br />

La Fonderie, Museum of Industry and Labor, Brussels,<br />

Belgium, 2016<br />

Used by the biggest art foundry in Belgium, la Compagnie<br />

des Bronzes, this plaster lion is the foundry model for the<br />

monuments for the Bronx Zoo in New York. Twenty-two<br />

animals are represented there with Sultan, the lion of the<br />

Atlas, as their crown jewel. Whether you choose to go to<br />

Brussels or New York, you can admire Sultan in both places.<br />

The plaster statue is exhibited at the Brussels Museum of<br />

Industry and Labor.<br />


Page 82-83<br />

©Axel Ruhomaully / Meta-Morphosis<br />

Ancient coal mine of Hasard de Cheratte, Belgium, 2015<br />

“Ceci n’est pas que du patrimoine” or “this is not just<br />

patrimony” is the first preservation project by Meta-<br />

Morphosis. After the discovery of an old Belgian coal<br />

mine, le Hasard de Cheratte, Meta-Morphosis intended<br />

to introduce children who lived near the mine to their<br />

patrimony and show them that their roots have a rich<br />

history. Conveying a sense of pride to the next generations,<br />

ensures that a lack of interest does not destroy the memory<br />

of historical places, even when they themselves have<br />

transformed or disappeared.<br />


Page 84-85<br />

©Axel Ruhomaully / Meta-Morphosis,<br />

Musée de la Pharmacie, La Habana, Cuba, 2017<br />


Page 86-87<br />

©Axel Ruhomaully / Meta-Morphosis<br />

Verviers, Belgium, 2016<br />

The steel industry was the first to develop in Wallonia, but<br />

the city of Verviers quickly made a name for itself thanks<br />

to the textile industry that brought a lot of prosperity from<br />

1799 onwards. Nowadays, Verviers still has one of the most<br />

extraordinary collections of machines in the textile industry.<br />

Meta-Morphosis gained the city’s permission to access and<br />

photograph this discrete and prestigious collection.<br />


Page 88<br />

© Axel Ruhomaully / Meta-Morphosis<br />

Museum of Musical Instruments (Brussels)<br />

Adolphe Sax (1814-1894) developed the saxophone in<br />

his father’s ateliers in Brussels, where he presented the<br />

first design in 1841. He patented the instrument in Paris<br />

five years later. His instrument, available in different<br />

sizes, brought a radically new voice to the musical world.<br />

Nowadays, the saxophone is used in a wide range of genres,<br />

from classical to modern, and is one of the universal icons<br />

of jazz.<br />

Meta-Morphosis Organisation & Productions<br />

175 Rue Bara - 1070 Brussels - Belgium<br />

20 avenue Dorade - Sorèze - Mauritius<br />

T +32 25 60 21 53 - info@meta-morphosis.org<br />

www.meta-morphosis.org<br />

Franck Depaifve - Co-fondateur<br />

franck@meta-morphosis.org<br />

Axel Ruhomaully - Co-fondateur<br />

axel@meta-morphosis.org<br />






I write this article on a Monday morning having<br />

been enraptured, like many other people around the<br />

world, by the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan<br />

Markle. Whatever one’s political views or beliefs<br />

and whether a royalist or not it is hard to ignore the<br />

collective joy, emotion and unity that was radiating<br />

from the love of two people for each other and the<br />

celebrations that surrounded this event. Traditional<br />

but with an emphasis on looking forward. Of<br />

evolving and growing. As someone said to me<br />

“we all need something to celebrate.”<br />

Fabergé has always been about celebration and gifting and<br />

therefore sharing happy moments and special milestones<br />

in life. The late Frederic Zaavy, the first workmaster<br />

for the reunified Fabergé, said of his sea horse brooch:<br />

“When he looks at you and when you look at him there is<br />

something happening that somehow makes you feel better<br />

and lighter.”<br />

The name of Fabergé seems to have stayed in people’s<br />

minds for many years. This history of Fabergé is a<br />

long and chequered one with many ups and downs.<br />

French, Russian, Royal families, eggs, jewellery, objet,<br />

even perfume and we continue to discover additional<br />

90<br />

We all want to feel better and lighter and weddings,<br />

whether royal, family or friends make us feel just that.<br />

A common interest and harmony is of course what<br />

connects us all. As I approach the age of 60 I find<br />

this a time for reflection. I like to think that if I have<br />

learned anything in this life it is a greater appreciation<br />

of the differences between us and tolerance for another<br />

view. Listening more, talking less and not jumping to<br />

automatic assumptions.<br />

We never stop learning from one another. I recently<br />

attended an international conference in Brussels entitled<br />

“Air, land and sea - vital challenges of this century”<br />

which looked at major environmental challenges to life.<br />

The fundamental message was that without the blue (sea)<br />

there is no green. A simple statement but one which<br />

carries so much weight and stays in the mind.<br />

Gustav Fabergé

information. The name evolved over the years through<br />

Favri, Fabri, Favry, Fabrier to Fabergé. We know that the<br />

Favris were Huguenots living in Northern France when<br />

Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685. The<br />

family escaped persecution and sought refuge in what is<br />

now Eastern Germany. We can pick up the story in 1800<br />

with a Peter Favry who had settled in Pärnu, in modern<br />

day Estonia where the family took on Russian citizenship.<br />

It was Peter Favry’s son Gustav, a goldsmith, born in 1814<br />

who started a jewellery company in St Petersburg in 1842<br />

and so you can say that the company that was to become<br />

so famous was “born” in Russia.<br />

It was Gustav’s son, Peter Carl Fabergé who took the<br />

company to international acclaim. As a trainee goldsmith<br />

he served an internship at The Hermitage where he saw<br />

and handled the treasures of the Romanov household.<br />

Some years later the Fabergé company made a replica of<br />

a Scythian Treasure from The Hermitage collection and<br />

displayed it at an exhibition in Moscow in 1882. The fine<br />

workmanship caught the eye of Tsar Alexander III and by<br />

1885 Fabergé was “Goldsmith by special appointment to<br />

the Imperial Crown”. So began the special commissions<br />

and the famous Fabergé eggs. Primarily a jeweller, Fabergé<br />

didn’t just make eggs but many other luxury items and<br />

accessories including: picture frames, timepieces, cigarette<br />

cases, table top wear, carved hardstone figures and many<br />

other items too numerous to mention here. Peter Carl<br />

described himself as an “artist jeweller” painting with<br />

coloured stones. The company was renowned for its use<br />

of different coloured golds, coloured stones and guilloché<br />

enamel. As success grew the Company opened branches<br />

in Moscow, Odessa, Kiev and London. It made perfect<br />

sense for the company to open in London because the<br />

Romanov Family were related to the British Royal family<br />

and Fabergé was a popular gift, not only among the Royal<br />

Families of Europe but eminent business people of the<br />

day.<br />

Peter Carl had five sons. The youngest, Nikolai (known<br />

as Nicholas), came to London to oversee the running<br />

of the London branch of Fabergé. He was married to<br />

Marion Tattershall, a beautiful red-haired woman who<br />

was painted by the artist Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema. An<br />

artist himself, Nicholas was also a keen photographer<br />

and opened a studio in Fulham, London. His interest in<br />

photography lead him to meet my grandmother Doris<br />

Cladish, a beautiful young model with red hair.<br />


They fell in love, and Doris became pregnant with my<br />

father Theodore. He was born in 1922. Even though they<br />

all appeared to be living an artistic and bohemian life this<br />

situation would, at that time, have caused a scandal if it<br />

had become public news. Therefore, baby Theodore was<br />

given to Doris’s married sister Linda to raise as her own<br />

with her husband Norman Woodall. Theo’s real identity<br />

was to be kept secret for many, many years. My father<br />

recalled meeting his “Aunt Doris” regularly and, as a very<br />

small boy being taken out for afternoon tea on Saturdays<br />

by Doris and a gentleman. We can assume this was<br />

Nicholas.<br />

The First <strong>World</strong> War followed by the Russian revolution<br />

of 1917 resulted in the closure of Peter Carl’s Fabergé<br />

Company. He managed to escape to Switzerland and died<br />

near Lausanne in 1920 a broken man. However, this is not<br />

the end of the story but merely the closing of one chapter.<br />

Young Theodore, known as Theo, was growing up in<br />

England. He excelled at draughtsmanship and design.<br />

He trained as a fine instrument maker and engineer.<br />

Known as “an ideas man” he could always find a solution<br />

to technical engineering problems. A natural creative<br />

Peacock Egg of 1908, Courtesy of the Tatiana Fabergé archive<br />

(I have a table that he made at around the age of 14<br />

and candlesticks that he turned on a lathe) he always<br />

had a notebook with him, sketching ideas and planning<br />

inventions. Theo “Woodall” never had any suspicion that<br />

he was not the son of Linda and Norman until, at the age<br />

of 47, he attended the funeral of an aunt who advised<br />

him to seek out his birth certificate. You can imagine his<br />

92<br />

Photo of Theo in his studio

Nicholas Fabergé (edited)<br />

surprise when he discovered that his mother was in fact<br />

his aunt and his father was Nicholas Leopold Fabergé!<br />

Theo was a very sensitive and artistic man and this<br />

discovery affected him deeply. It answered many questions<br />

within him as to his artistic nature and character. At the<br />

time of this discovery he was the owner of a small but<br />

niche light engineering company. He decided to devote the<br />

second half of his life to following his creative nature. He<br />

had always had the ability to repair antiques without any<br />

formal training. I remember a Boulle table in his workshop<br />

that he restored beautifully but it was at ornamental<br />

turning on a lathe that he would really excel. His<br />

engineering background meant that he was already skilful<br />

on a lathe. He took lessons from a friend and mentor<br />

and went on to win many awards from The Worshipful<br />

Company of Turners of London, to the ancient Guild<br />

which represents the Art and Craft of Turning on a lathe.<br />

He also designed and approved designs for a Company<br />

called The St Petersburg Collection. Talks and displays of<br />

his work took him around the world. My father remained<br />

passionate about his work until, at the age of 80, ill health<br />

prevented him from continuing. He died aged 84 in 2007.<br />

He was of course my dear father whom I adored but he is<br />

also the link between Fabergé past and present. A natural<br />

ideas man, a creative designer/maker, who lived his life,<br />

you could say in two halves, that is pre and post Fabergé.<br />

As I write this article I am planning to make a film about<br />

his extraordinary life.<br />



In 2007, I was invited, together with my cousin Tatiana<br />

Fabergé along with family friend and Fabergé connoisseur<br />

John Andrew, to form the Fabergé Heritage Council for<br />

a company that had bought the Fabergé trademark from<br />

Unilever. The Fabergé family, through no fault of their<br />

own, had lost the right to use the trademark in 1951. The<br />

new owners intended to reunite the Fabergé family with<br />

the trademark and to once again create jewellery and<br />

objets. The Heritage Council exists to advise and guide<br />

the new Fabergé company on its history and heritage. We<br />

also work closely with Dr. Géza von Habsberg, Curatorial<br />

Director of Fabergé. On 9 September 2009 at 9am, the<br />

Fabergé Company was relaunched at Goodwood House<br />

in Sussex with a collection of high jewellery created by<br />

our aforementioned workmaster, the late Frederick Zaavy.<br />

He understood our wish to revive the spirit and ethos of<br />


Zaavy Seahorse<br />

94<br />

the “artist jeweller”, painting with coloured stones to use<br />

them to their finest advantage. Today’s company has gone<br />

on to create a wide collection of jewellery, including of<br />

course egg pendants and objets. We do not make copies<br />

but take inspiration from our past. For example, our Lady<br />

Compliquée watch is inspired by the Peacock Egg created<br />

for Tsar Nicholas II and presented to his mother, the<br />

Dowager Empress Feodorovna in 1908. The rock crystal<br />

egg contains an automaton peacock. Our watch tells the<br />

time using individual peacock feathers which spread out<br />

minute by minute, folding back again on the hour. This<br />

complicated movement was created for us by Jean-Marc<br />

Wiederrecht in conjunction with our in-house design and<br />

watch teams.<br />

Today’s Fabergé company continues to be inspired by the<br />

spirit and ethos of Peter Carl Fabergé and his workmasters<br />

to create jewellery and objects for the 21st century. We<br />

take forward the concepts of fine craftsmanship, creativity<br />

and collaboration not only with our makers but also with<br />

our clients. Last year my son Joshua joined the company<br />

and I am looking forward to seeing future chapters unfold.<br />

Fabergé aims to stir the emotions. After all, we all need<br />

something to celebrate!<br />

Sarah Fabergé<br />

www.faberge.com<br />


Lady Compliqée Peacock Watch<br />


Fabergé Heritage Pendants (002)<br />

THEODORE FABERGÉ (1922-2007)<br />

Theodore (known as Theo) was a Grandson of Peter<br />

Carl Fabergé. He was not raised by his parents Doris<br />

Cladish and Nicholas Fabergé but by his maternal aunt<br />

and her husband as if he were their own son. It was not<br />

until a great aunt suggested that he obtains a copy of<br />

his birth certificate years later, that Theo discovered his<br />

true identity. At 47, his ‘aunt’ became his mother and<br />

his ‘mother’ his aunt. He was no longer Theo Woodall<br />

(his aunt and uncle’s name) but Theo Fabergé. He had<br />

always excelled at fine instrument making, engineering<br />

design and craftwork. Naturally creative and artistic<br />

this newly found knowledge answered many questions<br />

for Theo. He set out to learn all he could about<br />

silversmithing and ornamental woodturning. With his<br />

career background these skills came naturally to him.<br />

In 1974, he sold his successful engineering business<br />

and began to earn a living restoring antiques and<br />

creating objets d’art. He excelled at ornamental turning<br />

and entered a box made to commemorate the Silver<br />

Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II into the 1978 annual<br />

competition of the Worshipful Company of Turners. He<br />

was awarded the Lady Gertrude Crawford Medal, which<br />

is the highest award for ornamental turning. He was<br />

also granted the honour of Freeman Prizeman of the<br />

Turners Company. This honour had not been bestowed<br />

for 22 years; the medal had not been awarded for nine.<br />

In 1984 he entered a life-long contract to design for the<br />

Saint Petersburg Collection. At the age of 80, Theo’s<br />

lifetime achievements were once again recognised by<br />

The Worshipful Company of Turners and this time he<br />

was made an honorary liveryman of the Company. Sadly,<br />

Theo’s health deteriorated rapidly from the age of 80<br />

onwards. He was, however, delighted to learn that the<br />

Fabergé trademarks had been secured from Unilever by<br />

a group wanting to restore Fabergé’s original heritage of<br />

excellence in creativity, design and craftsmanship, and<br />

with his daughter Sarah he agreed to become a founding<br />

member of the Fabergé Heritage Council. He passed<br />

away shortly afterwards in August 2007.<br />


A selection from our EMOTION ring collection<br />


Like her late father Theo, Sarah has always been<br />

interested in the arts. However, she pursued a career<br />

in management training and development until she<br />

decided to follow in her father’s footsteps when she was<br />

invited to design and approve designs for a company<br />

called the Saint Petersburg Collection. She maintained<br />

both careers until 2007 when Sarah resigned from the<br />

Saint Petersburg Collection in 2007 to join and work<br />

solely with Fabergé Limited with the aim of helping to<br />

resurrect and reposition Fabergé once more, as a creator<br />

of high and fine jewellery and objets. A keen supporter<br />

of the artisan and individual craftsmanship, Sarah is<br />

a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Turners<br />

of London. This ancient Guild supports the craft of<br />

turning on a lathe and aims to raise the profile of this<br />

unique art through its Wizardry in Wood Exhibitons<br />

and Competitions. Together with her father Theo,<br />

cousin Tatiana and family friend and Fabergé scholar<br />

John Andrew, Sarah became a founding member of the<br />

Fabergé Heritage Council. Today, as Director of Special<br />

Projects, Sarah works closely with the Fabergé team and<br />

is an ambassador for the Company.<br />




For the past two years Belgian National<br />

Orchestra has been undergoing<br />

a company-wide rebranding and<br />

rejuvenation operation. Maria Roberts<br />

caught up with CEO Hans Waege to<br />

find out what it takes to reinvigorate a<br />

national institution.<br />

I met up with intendant Hans Waege at a bar in New York<br />

as he’s on his way to another meeting. He lollops over<br />

to me, a great ball of energy, chatting at speed. He’s<br />

a likeable character: friendly, commanding, cheerful<br />

and intensely passionate about developing the Belgian<br />

National Orchestra (BNO). Once managing director<br />

of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and CEO of the Royal<br />

Flemish Philharmonic, his portfolio to date has seen him<br />

reinvigorate regional orchestras, giving them the edge in<br />

a competitive market and a strong unique identity. Waege<br />

has been at BNO since April 2016, and set about the task<br />

with the diligence of a house renovation. He began by<br />

stripping the operation back to its individual components<br />

and clearing the decks so that the orchestra could freshen<br />

up its offer for modern audiences. The essence of BNO,<br />

he says, had fallen by the wayside. As a seasoned change<br />

maker, he made it his responsibility to tackle despondency<br />

among the ranks by means of a dynamic strategy.<br />

now we are more connected with BOZAR, innovate with<br />

the schedule of the orchestra, and we have many exciting<br />

young conductors that broaden the repertoire. This season<br />

James Feddeck, Stanislav Kochanovsky, Elim Chan and<br />

Constantinos Carydis will come to BNO for 2018-19,<br />

“Much of an organization’s success comes down to the<br />

morale of its staff,” he tells me over a glass of white<br />

wine. “That’s probably the most important thing to talk<br />

about. It happens anywhere. With any company, with any<br />

institution, you go through ups and downs. When I arrived<br />

at BNO I saw the urgency of change: it was a company<br />

that didn’t innovate especially well. “Over the last 10 years<br />

the orchestra had been resting on its laurels, playing the<br />

main repertoire, introducing few new conductors. And<br />

at BOZAR, the home of BNO, the orchestra was very<br />

much on the back burner. “Together with the arrival of<br />

our new chief-conductor, Hugh Wolff, I thought it was<br />

98<br />

very important to refocus the strategy on different levels:<br />

Hans Waege<br />

© Veerle Vercauteren

Hans Waege<br />

© Veerle Vercauteren<br />

and the musicians reacted wonderfully to that, they are<br />

very happy.” Waege’s strategy at BNO has four key areas:<br />

one of which was the name and logo of the orchestra. “A<br />

meaningless three letter abbreviation wasn’t very helpful<br />

in terms of corporate marketing, especially regarding<br />

the international profile of the orchestra,” he reveals. So<br />

they opted to use the English title in its branding. The<br />

intendant adds that he wanted to ‘dynamize’ the repertoire<br />

by programming contemporary music. Going forward, he<br />

plans to modernise the use of BNO’s marketing tools and<br />

rich data.<br />

More importantly, he wants to add family programmes<br />

to the schedule which somewhat remarkably (and almost<br />

unbelievably) had remained non-existent. The new<br />

approach, he says, has been well received: “Strangely<br />

enough, when you take the risk of new music seriously,<br />

and when you take your audience seriously, you are<br />

sometimes surprised by the positive reactions you get.”<br />

Despite being an academic himself (he’s been a professor<br />

at Ghent University for almost 20 years), his objective<br />

is to present music that gets a raw emotional response<br />

from the audience. “We avoided some of the repertoire<br />

that was, what can I say, inwardly intellectual towards the<br />

classical music and too theoretical, we kept away from<br />

that in preference for something that is reflective.” This<br />

portends to contemporary works as well as the classics.<br />

“This season we have a focus on John Adams and Ligeti.<br />

Although Ligeti is not quite so easy, it is superb music<br />

that reaches right into the emotions of the audience.<br />

The idea is to get an audience that is willing to come to<br />

whatever you programme, and to eradicate this feeling<br />


100<br />

of ‘Oh my God, contemporary music is awful’. “The most<br />

daring project during the current season was a Webern-<br />

Ligeti-Kodaly programme. We also had Scriabin’s Mysterium<br />

in March at Klarafestival. When you have your audience<br />

endlessly applauding after the Ligeti Requiem, you know<br />

that your orchestra has done something special. To be able<br />

to bring the Hungarian National Choir over to Brussels for<br />

this Ligeti concert was the icing on the cake. Doing this type<br />

of concert for your musicians and your audience is extremely<br />

rewarding. If an audience enjoys the concert, they will come<br />

back to take a chance on other lesser-known programmes,<br />

that’s what we call building trust with your audience.” He<br />

references Mahler here, adding that the great Austrian<br />

composer had a way of connecting with the audiences of his<br />

time by making use of music they were familiar with.<br />

“I want to find this vibration that links contemporary<br />

composers with the sounds and the music of today. This<br />

is a very special task, I’m not here to commission yet<br />

another violin concerto.” Has BNO’s modern take on<br />

programming refreshed the approach of the rank and file<br />

players? “Absolutely. They needed this change because<br />

they had been playing the same repertoire on loop.<br />

They love to be challenged with fascinating pieces of<br />

music and exciting concert programmes.” Waege pauses<br />

for a moment to reflect on what he has just said: “I’m<br />

probably sounding too positive: yes, it’s not easy to make<br />

changes and we will make mistakes, that’s true, but the<br />

whole purpose of reinvigorating your players is to give<br />

them a challenge and you can do this by bringing young<br />

conductors and composers, from a new generation, who<br />

carry that energy with them.”<br />

How is BNO measuring up to the ‘cool’ vibe he created<br />

in Rotterdam? “I think we do much more contemporary<br />

repertoire at BNO than Rotterdam, and that’s good, it<br />

makes the musicians feel that they are relevant to today.<br />

At the same time, we’re also bringing more established<br />

conductors like Hartmut Haenchen, recently elected<br />

“dirigent des jahres” by Opernwelt, who will bring a<br />

complete Brahms-Bruckner cycle over several years. He’s<br />

over 70 years old and says his life’s work now is to focus<br />

on Bruckner as a last big statement. To bring a conductor<br />

of that level to your orchestra is a gift to the city, the<br />

people and the musicians.<br />

Much like any renovation project, Waege is doing more<br />

than plastering over the cracks but digging deep to create<br />

a sturdy framework. He also embarked on a fundraising<br />

initiative so that BNO could buy more instruments.<br />

“One of the first things we did was raise more money<br />

to invest in the orchestra by buying new double basses,<br />

they are important as they are the basis of the sound for<br />

the orchestra.” But it’s not all work and no play; BNO<br />

has also been zany in some of its activities: “We started<br />

some riskier high-profile concerts. While classical music<br />

has been presented in nightclubs by chamber groups and<br />

soloists, it’s not so common to place a full symphony<br />

orchestra in a nightclub. We did this at the Bloody Louis<br />

in Brussels with a Bates-Mozart-Beethoven programme.<br />

There were a few issues with lighting and acoustics, you<br />

run into practical issues and make mistakes on projects<br />

like these, but it sounded OK.” Was he discouraged by the<br />

experience? “Even though we ran into certain practical<br />

problems, that’s not a reason not to do it. It’s not our<br />

focus to go into a nightclub per se, but it is our focus to<br />

go into the city again and to meet our audience. Yes, we<br />

play Mozart, but we also play Mason Bates [a Grammynominated<br />

American composer of symphonic music and<br />

DJ of electronic dance music who was recently named the<br />

most-performed composer of his generation and the 2018<br />

Composer of the Year by Musical America].” What are the<br />

principles he follows as intendant at BNO? “The guideline<br />

is that we are not serving one community, for example the<br />

core audience of symphonic music, but we are serving a<br />

community of communities. I don’t mean this with regards<br />

to gender or race, as we all mingle nowadays, instead I<br />

refer to our fragmented spheres of interest.”<br />

And how does BNO fit in with the wider cultural offer<br />

in Brussels? “Enjoyment, having a good time, and<br />

nourishment inform what we do. A huge proportion of our<br />

audience will have been working hard all week and when<br />

they come to us on a Friday evening, for example, we must<br />

make sure that it isn’t too complicated an experience. At<br />

the same time, we must remember that we are bringing<br />

them into a zone that is not natural: the beauty and<br />

success of a concert comes from managing that tension<br />

in the hall. Yes, sometimes it is wise to present easygoing<br />

evenings but sometimes you need to present wellconsidered<br />

complex programmes that bring people into an<br />

inconvenient, demanding world.”<br />

www.nationalorchestra.be<br />

This article is written by Maria Roberts and was first<br />

published in ‘International Arts Manager’.


31<br />








60 years – a long time, much content, and a lot of<br />

success! Today we are grateful to our predecessors.<br />

With their important economic input, they were<br />

building a Europe of freedom, democracy, rule<br />

of law and human rights. EUROCHAMBRES<br />

contributed a lot to that.<br />

102<br />

We can be proud of the result and at this point we want to<br />

give a cordial thank you to all stakeholders that influenced<br />

Europe in the last 6 decades. In ten years, we will be<br />

celebrating our 70th anniversary. What will Europe look<br />

like in ten years’ time? You may say future predictions<br />

are always uncertain. However, as businesspeople we are<br />

used to doing critical analysis. Ten years of Euro crises are<br />

behind us and now we are in a period of two years of Brexit<br />

discussions.<br />

Today Europe is in a difficult situation: We depend on the<br />

United States, we are afraid of Africa and Asia and our<br />

relations with Russia are worsening constantly.<br />

Europeans make up only 7 percent of the world's<br />

population, but account for 25 percent of the world's<br />

economy and of more than 50 percent of social and<br />

environmental expenditures. These are our European<br />

standards of living. How can we keep that up for the next<br />

10 years? What should Europe look like in 10 years? The<br />

other important world regions are very dynamic. Europe is<br />

saturated. The alarm bell is ringing! Wake up Europe!<br />

Many people have lost confidence in the European project.<br />

Nationalism, egoism, and populism rule Europe instead<br />

of unity and solidarity. There are fears of globalisation,<br />

technological innovations and migration including<br />

integration. But is nationalism an answer? Nationalism has<br />

caused the most terrible events in Europe’s history in the<br />

past.<br />

Should this then be the concept for the future? No, we have<br />

to go another way. As the business community, we want an<br />

open Europe, free trade agreements around the world and<br />

fruitful corporation with all continents. Yes, China, India and<br />

others will become stronger. However, that must not weaken<br />

Europe. We can remain competitive and successful, too.<br />

With a clear goal, a clear strategy, and the following<br />

principles we can achieve that.<br />

1. Do not divide Europe! You know all the clichés: the rich<br />

north paying for poor southern countries, the democratic<br />

west against the autocratic east … Instead, we should find<br />

a way back to unity.<br />

2. We have to reform our European Institutions, by a<br />

supplementary treaty with voluntary access for those<br />

countries that want to participate. We have many ideas to<br />

suggest in this point.<br />

3. New economic priorities: innovation, qualification, skills<br />

and creativity will enable us to form the future.<br />

Moreover, we need one essential thing: Mental change to<br />

transform fears into hope. We must see Europe not as a<br />

fortress, but as an open society. Europe always was an idea<br />

to overcome borders and integrate cultures.<br />

The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, made a<br />

suggestion to make integration work within the local<br />

communities and subsidise them. I would like to add: why<br />

not also help companies doing the same?

Christoph Leitl - President of EUROCHAMBRES<br />

© veldemanphoto<br />

Within the next 10 years, that will be a profit for all of us.<br />

We will compete in the global competition; we will keep<br />

our prosperity and have additional life perspectives for the<br />

young generation. A win-win situation.<br />

We can have innovation-driven growth and employment.<br />

We can have a common foreign visibility, towards the other<br />

parts of the world.<br />

Economy can contribute to Europe’s strength! With its<br />

help, Europe will be among the three economic powers<br />

in worldwide comparison in 10 years. And remain in the<br />

economic champions league of the world!<br />

But we have to work on that! Who is showing us the<br />

way? Do we recognise visions? And are we able to realise<br />

them? Who are our European leaders with vision and<br />

courage?<br />

EUROCHAMBRES can accompany this way! With 46<br />

members, we are a support for the business in Europe<br />

and a bridge-builder for politics. 1.700 regional and local<br />

chambers and 20 million companies give the response to the<br />

challenges of our time. They employ, educate and innovate!<br />

As part of our compromise with Europe, EUROCHAMBRES<br />

plays an active role, a role which we will use in a very<br />

proactive way during the election campaign of the European<br />

Parliament.<br />

There will be no political integration without economic<br />

integration. And there will be no economic integration<br />

without the chambers.<br />

Time passes by and in a few years, we will be in 2049. This<br />

year will be a remarkable date for Europe: 100 years ago–<br />

1949– the Council of Europe was founded in Strasbourg. It<br />

was dedicated to the rule of law, human rights and cultural<br />

cooperation. It was very important for the traditional values<br />

of Europe to be put down in writing. With European talents<br />

and creativity, with European values and philosophy, we will<br />

win the competition with autocratic systems and proof that<br />

our kind of government is the better one.<br />

It will be the better one, if bureaucracy is not killing<br />

democracy! We urgently need efficient democracy, meaning<br />

respecting the rights of our citizens and delivering quick<br />

decisions. It is a matter of surviving and becoming<br />

successful in 2049.<br />

Finally, for us Europe is a great vision and fascinating to<br />

contribute to. A few days ago, a young woman was telling<br />

me: “Europe is so far away!” I answered: “No, it’s very close<br />

to all of us including you. It’s also your life perspective.” The<br />

young woman answered: “Perhaps you’re right, Europe is in<br />

our minds, but not in our hearts!” She is right. Let’s make<br />

Europe a matter of our hearts! This is the best response for<br />

the coming challenges!<br />




Living Tomorrow is all about what we are going to<br />

be doing in the near future. The concept is unique<br />

in the world. Located in Brussels, Living Tomorrow<br />

provides a hub for innovative enterprises where<br />

visitors can experience products and services that<br />

could vastly improve the quality of our future life,<br />

home and workplace. Together with its partners,<br />

Living Tomorrow offers an experience of future<br />

possibilities and innovations to the thousands<br />

of visitors it receives. Visitors are given expert<br />

explanations, while Living Tomorrow and its<br />

partners receive valuable feedback. The latter<br />

can then be used to inform future research.<br />


Living Tomorrow is an innovative meeting place that offers<br />

three special qualities. The first is a forum for companies to<br />

meet each other and exchange best practices and concepts.<br />

The second is a unique location to highlight a company’s<br />

104<br />

Living Tomorrow representation, Joachim De Vos – CEO Living Tomorrow - TomorrowLab, Celie Dehaene, Herman Van Rompuy - President Advisory Board,<br />

Frank Beliën – CEO & Founder Living Tomorrow, Jacques Heynen - President Strategy Board

latest products, services or plans to clients, business<br />

relations and employees. Thirdly, Living Tomorrow acts<br />

as a medium to literally be acquainted with the future:<br />

visitors connect with tomorrow’s technologies in a real-life<br />

environment and companies get connected with the market<br />

and customers of tomorrow, visiting Living Tomorrow. This<br />

is much more efficient than any market research could offer:<br />

it’s a real-life experiment.<br />


Living Tomorrow also forges plans to go international once<br />

again. In May 2018 a delegation of Living Tomorrow, led by<br />

Living Tomorrow founder Frank Beliën and joined by Living<br />

Tomorrow curator Barbara Dietrich, travelled to Moscow.<br />

There they were accompagnied by Ashot Danielian, owner<br />

Even Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft, who inaugurated<br />

the project in Brussels back in 1995, clearly understood the<br />

long-term importance of the project: “… I think a project<br />

like Living Tomorrow - where you are brainstorming about<br />

what is possible and you’re getting people to come, look,<br />

and talk about what this all means – is really fantastic … I<br />

am certainly impressed with what I’ve seen …”.<br />

In 2012 the project in Brussels evolved to “Living Tomorrow<br />

2020”, integrating brand new innovation areas, such as the<br />

“Smart Cities area” with real-life innovation like for example<br />

the street of the future, smart grid at home, the solar fast<br />

charging station for e-drivers and augmented reality in<br />

public transport. Other new concepts that were realized are<br />

the Restaurant of the Future and a brand new Office of the<br />

Future.<br />

Currently Living Tomorrow is back to the drawing board<br />

preparing a next phase of innovations to be announced in<br />

the capital of Europe later on.<br />

Moscow<br />


106<br />

of the company Termoros, who has been living and working<br />

in Moscow for decades himself. A few weeks earlier he<br />

came to visit Living Tomorrow in Brussels and saw the<br />

opportunities for a similar project in Moscow.<br />

The prospection tour took the delegation to the Russian<br />

“city of the future” Skolkovo, an innovative urban<br />

environment of 400 hectares. It is exactly here that Living<br />

Tomorrow plans to create the Living Tomorrow Moscow<br />

2030 project. Frank Beliën: “Skolkovo is so much more than<br />

just a city. It is a city for living, science and business with<br />

parks, avenues and family areas. It is a city with a modern<br />

infrastructure, a city of scientists, innovators and inventors,<br />

a city of successful businessmen and a city of gifted students<br />

and teachers. A visit to Skolkovo is a true experience. It is a<br />

site built on the foundations of R & D, innovation, scientists<br />

and inventors. That’s why we from Living Tomorrow,<br />

breathing innovation, feel at home here. Skolkovo, like<br />

Living Tomorrow, creates synergies between companies,<br />

governments, universities and people.”<br />

The Living Tomorrow 2030 Moscow project will be the<br />

new Living Tomorrow demonstration and innovation<br />

platform that investigates and sensitizes how our future will<br />

evolve. It will consist of several “Future” demonstrations<br />

and show solutions for tomorrow and a future on the long<br />

term. This "Smart City 2030" project will demonstrate the<br />

future vision of governments, cities, government-companies<br />

and companies active in Russia, Moscow and the rest of<br />

the world. Frank Beliën: “The innovative strength of a<br />

country is a cultural issue, the innovative climate strongly<br />

determines motives and opportunities for innovation. As<br />

a neutral catalyst, Living Tomorrow wants to play a role<br />

in broadly cultivating the innovation idea by bringing<br />

innovative companies to the attention, by stimulating<br />

synergies with and between its participants and by showing<br />

concrete results of these collaborations.”<br />

As he continues: “We take into account that eighty percent<br />

of the innovations we show are market ready (or will be<br />

in a few months’ time), that they are accessible to a large<br />

target group. Twenty percent of the project focuses on<br />

visions for the future, where affordability is less important<br />

still, but in the first instance a total solution for a problem<br />

must be sought through cooperation between governments,<br />

cities, universities and companies.” Themes that could be<br />

developed in Living Tomorrow Moscow 2030 are mobility,<br />

sustainability, services and care, technology, communication<br />

and automation, safety, energy, environment and garden,<br />

food, relaxation, health and wellness, media, education and<br />

information, art and leisure, construction and architecture,<br />

design and interior.<br />

Living Tomorrow Moscow 2030 aims to open its doors in<br />







On Sunday, 22 April 2018, the doors of Living<br />

Tomorrow in Brussels were once again open to<br />

the general public. This Public Event was devoted<br />

entirely to the theme of the mobility of the future:<br />

electric cars, drones, smart street lighting and street<br />

furnishings, charging stations for e-drivers and<br />

much more. Visitors were immersed in a world of<br />

innovation and experience!<br />

It is estimated that by 2050, 66% of the world’s population<br />

will be living in urban areas. How can we keep the<br />

city liveable? Easy: by making it smarter and more<br />

sustainable. Mobility will play a major role in this. Public<br />

transport with appropriate waiting spaces, electric and<br />

self-driving cars, smart road surfaces and innovative street<br />


lighting. During the Public Event, the guides at Living<br />

Tomorrow showed visitors the latest state of play.<br />

The guided tour also moved on to other topics to do with<br />

housing, living and working in the future. What kinds<br />

of sustainable technologies will further optimize our<br />

energy use? Or how will smart appliances in the home be<br />

integrated in order to make our lives even more agreeable?<br />

What about the evolution of health care? And will we soon<br />

all be wearing “smart clothing”? Plenty to think about!<br />

In addition to the tours, additional experiences were<br />

offered such as a test ride in electric cars, virtual reality<br />

experiences and drone flights.<br />

Living Tomorrow seeks to provide its visitors with an<br />

experience centre focused on innovation and to get people<br />

to think about the future in an entertaining manner. In that<br />

matter, it aims to be the most beloved place to experience<br />

and explore the future.<br />

More info: Living Tomorrow Brussels<br />

www.livingtomorrow.com<br />




Enjoy a unique eating experience<br />

Distinctive dishes made with innovative techniques<br />

Innovative culinary concepts by topchef Marc Clément<br />

Various works of art by renowned artists are integrated symbiotically<br />

Easily accessible large parking lot<br />

Innovative gastronomy<br />

You will be cooked for by top chef Marc Clément, who has certainly earned<br />

his stripes in the world of gastronomy. The dishes are prepared using innovative<br />

techniques based on Marc’s latest passion.<br />

The Bistronomy team serves affordable gastronomic delights in the form of<br />

fresh, distinctive creations that will surprise even the most refined palates.<br />

In short, gastronomy with a nod to the future.<br />

Opening times<br />

Open from Monday to Saturday (from 6 pm on Saturday).<br />

Monday & Tuesday from 6 pm by reservation for groups of<br />

20 people or more.<br />

Sunday closed.<br />

Info & reservations<br />

www.thebistronomy.com<br />

02 263 01 31<br />

Indringingsweg 1, 1800 Vilvoorde<br />

Topchef Marc Clément<br />





FRONT<br />

Interview with Anton von Golub<br />

Co-founder Lykke, Advisory Board Member<br />

Forctis AG, Co-founder TRUST SQUARE<br />

Right in the heart of Switzerland’s financial center and right<br />

in front of the Swiss National Bank (SNB), in world famous<br />

Bahnhofstrasse, Trust Square has opened its doors for the<br />

Blockchain community.<br />

The private Hub and Lab replaces the Liechtensteiner VP<br />

Bank, who left the 2.300 sqm location on Zurich’s most<br />

expensive street in March 2018. Offering 200 workplaces<br />

Trust Square was already rented out within the first few<br />

days. Blockchain technology is the common denominator,<br />

that brings together entrepreneurs, businesses, investors as<br />

well as academics and researcher in an open and diverse<br />

environment. And despite the hype, there is one vision: to<br />

completely transform how we will exchange assets.<br />


To make a very general statement: I do believe that<br />

Blockchain is the greatest discovery of our lifetime. The<br />

same way the internet has transformed how we exchange<br />

information, Blockchain will completely transform how we<br />

will exchange assets. Blockchain will be the infrastructure<br />

that supports the global marketplace, where people can<br />

freely exchange assets. Unimaginable 30 years ago, but today<br />

we have the ability of complete democracy in accessing<br />

information, a few years ahead we will have the ability<br />

of complete democracy in exchanging assets. In the end<br />

blockchain is a technology, and a technology can support<br />

a vision. My father, who is a retired veterinarian living in<br />

Croatia, can have the same power in finance, in exchanging<br />

assets, as Jamie Dimon, who is the CEO of JPMorgan Case,<br />

which is the largest bank of the planet. This is my vision<br />

of the blockchain – complete democracy in finance. This<br />

is what actually motivates me every day to wake up and try<br />

to fulfill my mission. Swiss is the birthplace of the crypto<br />

world and Zurich is the natural center. Trust Square is a<br />

Blockchain Hub in the center of Zurich and in the Center of<br />

the Swiss financial system. Since April 2018 we opened the<br />

gates of the former VP Bank building, exclusively for Crypto<br />

and Blockchain Companies.<br />


Bahnhofstraße 3 is a very special location. We directly<br />

face the Swiss National Bank, SNB. I think that is kind of<br />

symbolic. A Chinese friend used to say: “new money” and<br />

across the street it's “old money”.<br />

I personally believe that Switzerland is the birthplace of the<br />

cryptoworld for many different reasons and naturally the<br />

most prominent center in Switzerland is Zurich. Definitely<br />

Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Cryptoassets are an<br />

integral part of Zurich. Indeed it is absolutely natural,<br />

that everybody of the Blockchain community gravitates<br />

towards Zurich. It was our "job" and mission to create the<br />

Blockchain Hub in this beautiful city.<br />

Trust Square is co-founded by Daniel Gasteiger,<br />

Semih Kacan, David Simon, Pascal Grämiger,<br />

Manuel Krieger and Anton von Golub – Ed.<br />



From the very beginning Trust Square is fully booked up by<br />

over 30 Blockchain companies with an excellent substance -<br />

this is absolutely the key. We do host the largest blockchain<br />

and crypto companies here in Trust Square, as well as<br />

mid-sized startups. We host the world’s largest blockchain<br />

venture production studio, global marketplace platforms,<br />

Mining facility producer, crypto exchanges and many more.<br />

Besides we all have our own Blockchain projects.<br />

Apart from regular company access, we especially attach<br />

importance to academic collaboration, and we do have very<br />

strong partners: The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology<br />

in Zurich (ETH Zurich), the University of Basel, the<br />

University of Zurich, the University of Applied Sciences<br />

Rapperswil (HSR Rapperswil). Our transparent and active<br />

community is very important for the success of the project.<br />


Trust Square has to take a life of its own. Actually we are<br />

just at the beginning. Imagine the internet in 1982, which<br />

is where we are exactly with the development of blockchain<br />

technology today. We barely had a few successes like the<br />

simple exchange of crypto currencies. The development we<br />

will see in blockchain is to really make it work constantly<br />

and smoothly. We will improve the technology, so that any<br />

user experiences the benefit and an amazing joy to use<br />

applications on the blockchain.<br />

Making the blockchain a mainstream application for the<br />

global marketplace, that is the hot topic.<br />


My mission is that my father, who is a retired veterinarian,<br />

in 10 - 15 years is as powerful as the CEO of the biggest<br />

bank on the planet. And I may be provocative: maybe 20<br />

years ahead we even don't have banks anymore. Maybe<br />

we will have something different. That is my goal. The<br />

imagination, that maybe 20 years ahead my father is proud<br />

to say that his son was a part of this big initiative of a<br />

group of people to create democracy in finance. That is my<br />

mission.<br />

Nina Anne Pahnke<br />




Artificial Intelligence (from now on referred to<br />

as “A.I.”) is a term or concept that undoubtedly<br />

invokes mixed feelings. One might see it as a threat<br />

to our humanity because, as far as we know, we<br />

are the only intelligent species in our universe.<br />

But to another it might be a vessel to transcend<br />

our limitations.<br />

114<br />

Tensions between conservative and progressive forces are<br />

at an all time high: FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt)<br />

is completely ignored by believers who see A.I. becoming<br />

reality like in the 1927 Fritz Lang epic movie, Metropolis.<br />

But is there reason to fear or doubt? I would like to share<br />

my personal thoughts on this regarding mobility. Statistics<br />

show that 93% of all traffic accidents are caused by human<br />

error. The first step towards traffic safety could be the<br />

development of driver assistance systems, leading to an<br />

increase in passive security, such as power steering, ABS,<br />

ESP, airbags, rear view cameras, park assistance, ... A.I. will<br />

eventually enable the upgrade to a (semi) autonomous and<br />

connected vehicle network.<br />

A.I. that will slowly replace human drivers never gets<br />

tired, is uninfluenced by alcohol, distractions or bright<br />

traffic lights. But does this evolution, which is undoubtedly<br />

positive, have a dark side?<br />

Will this actually improve our mobility? Will our road<br />

capacity increase? Will traffic run more smoothly?<br />

But most importantly: how and by whom will this system<br />

be operated, organized and monitored? What of the parallel<br />

evolution of technologies that improve the quality of our<br />

traffic control, like smart cameras and radar? What will<br />

become of the automation of our control-punishment process?<br />

Many believe that this might bring forth a society like<br />

George Orwell described in “1984” and Aldous Huxley<br />

did in “Brave New <strong>World</strong>”. One that comes terrifyingly<br />

close to a “Big Brother”-esque A.I. that orchestrates our<br />

world from the shadows. I personally share the opinion of<br />

multiple speakers at the European Automotive Forum of<br />

2018 in Brussels. If our approach to traffic regulation stays<br />

the same, there will be no other outcome than a “mobility<br />

crisis” while it is a fundamental construct of our society and<br />

civilization.<br />

If we are to guarantee mobility, we have to chance our train<br />

of thought and should act consistently, even if this breaks<br />

certain dogmas. It is without a doubt that our privacy<br />

will come into question, coming to no one’s surprise. The<br />

smartphone, our largest threat to privacy, has already been<br />

accepted into our lives and has integrated itself to a degree<br />

that it’s essential to our way of living.<br />

Mobility will go down the same path: privacy will be<br />

sacrificed at the altar of comfort and safety. As politically<br />

correct protecting our privacy is, citizens themselves will<br />

give up this right, as long as they gain immediate advantage<br />

from it. Recent surveys show that the majority of drivers<br />

are willing to let their driving behavior be monitored in<br />

exchange for cheaper insurance policies. In other words: the<br />

right to protection of personal privacy is no longer sacred<br />

and certainly not untouchable.

It seems to me it’s rather a question of how flexible we are<br />

and how fast we are able to assimilate the approaching<br />

evolution. In most cases, it simply involves gadgets like<br />

those presented at the 96th Car Show in Brussels: park<br />

assistance through smartphone, ISA-systems (Intelligence<br />

Speed Adaptation) which relieves you of braking and<br />

changing gears in traffic jams. Other aspects are more<br />

complex, involving and complicated to incorporate into our<br />

traditional way of thinking.<br />

First and foremost, we will have to think three-dimensional.<br />

By introducing drones and the explosive evolution of it,<br />

we will not only have to think in a horizontal orientation,<br />

but also in a vertical one. Namely, in contrast to airplanes,<br />

drones actually will play a larger role in daily mobility<br />

because of their physical proximity.<br />

Furthermore, we will have to accept that A.I. is self-learning,<br />

which in turn requires integration of ethical values and<br />

premises into the learning process. More importantly,<br />

supervision and regulation over these premises are required to<br />

insure its improvement and technical evolution. For example:<br />

• In case of danger, the protection of a life and the physical<br />

integrity prioritizes material goods and damages.<br />

• If bodily harm cannot be avoided, there can be no<br />

differentiation based on race, gender, age or any other<br />

human factor.<br />

• Et cetera.<br />

Finally, A.I. will also affect the most conservative forces<br />

in our civilization: law and regulations. Who will claim<br />

property rights when A.I. becomes “self-learning”? Who will<br />

be responsible for possible damages caused by self-learning<br />

machines? The A.I., the human, or the system administrator?<br />

(At present, the question is critical as autopilot controls<br />

are not yet fully capable of functioning without human<br />

intervention – but they’re good enough to lull us into a false<br />

sense of security.) Who will be allowed to gather data? How<br />

and by whom will this data be used? How do we protect<br />

ourselves from cybercrime and cyber terrorism?<br />

The challenge before us is phenomenal. The question<br />

is, how will the law system keep up with the technical<br />

evolution? How can we ensure that the law is future proof?<br />

Certainly to be continued ...<br />

Jean De Brabander, Lawyer<br />

Legal drone expert & consultant<br />




Like mindfulness and meditation<br />

before it, creativity today has become a<br />

mainstream commodity, creating some<br />

holistic benefits and self-fulfillment.<br />

Artists declaim their ability to push the boundaries of a<br />

chosen genre. We all walk a thin line between inspiration<br />

and aspiration. A life only coordinated by order and ratio<br />

reduces men to tools of productivity. Creativity, investing<br />

disproportionately in love, dreams and hope, is driven<br />

by curiosity, not by fear or rules. Non-direct utility and<br />

uncertainty are essential in this personal expression. It<br />

helps to make sense of a deluge of sensorial information by<br />

updating our expectations by trial and error.<br />

Thanks to the growth of big data, better computer<br />

technology and hardware, algorithms can copy human<br />

neural networks better than before. Such a system copies<br />

a selection of the brain’s most efficient neural connection<br />

patterns, but developers often do not know how their<br />

self-learning networks arrive at their decisions. AI became<br />

the leading differentiator in manufacturing, services, retail<br />

and transportation. It is made by humans and behaves<br />

like a human, until its self-learning capacity (ML) starts<br />

Our brain constantly tries to predict the future and updates<br />

his expectations to match reality as much as possible.<br />

Therefore, high-level processing brain centers, such as those<br />

in the parietal or temporal cortices, create internal models,<br />

according to our sensorial input. The bottom-up sensory<br />

systems interact with top-down information of the cortices<br />

to generate an awareness of a prediction error, first nonconscious<br />

and then conscious. This signal returns to higher<br />

brain-computing centers, creating fresh guesses about the<br />

perceived reality.<br />

Machines already exceed human abilities for specific<br />

tasks. AI is mainly American (GAFA) and Chinese, not<br />

a European business. Could AI become creative in a<br />

meaningful way by replicating part of a human brain? Can<br />

AI and virtual reality (VR) play a transformative role in<br />

human culture? Dory is a new kind of neuro-morph-chip<br />

produced by ‘Imec’ (Leuven) based on OxRAM, a new<br />

kind of memory.<br />

116<br />

Its expert systems make associations between actual<br />

experiences and earlier ones. After being fed with musical<br />

menuets, it makes a new one. Similar self-learning tools<br />

produced a new Rembrandt portrait. Is AI challenging<br />

human creativity by expressing art’s traditional concerns?<br />

Jan De Maere

to modify the initial program without any human control.<br />

Analysts creating algorithms make mistakes and are biased,<br />

since they are human. Their product should be statistically<br />

reliable and fair to all. Only reverse engineering of the<br />

program can reveal its flaws and mistakes. AI is directly and<br />

narrowly target-oriented to anticipate our needs in a strictly<br />

rational and defined way. Computers don’t have intentions;<br />

they repeat and adapt learned patterns. But our intelligence<br />

is profoundly influenced by context and emotion, and<br />

therefore sensitive to nuances and aesthetic awareness.<br />

The major aspect of human perception is its ontological<br />

complexity, beyond the grasp of today’s algorithms and the<br />

understandings of the analysts creating them. The glitches<br />

of AI can have dangerous consequences.<br />

To make AI more sensitive to the complete scope of<br />

human thought requires insight and collaboration with<br />

people with highly specialized domain knowledge. On<br />

the other side, since wellbeing is not an exact science,<br />

the immense variation of individual conscious and nonconscious<br />

requirements will have to be centralized roughly<br />

in a pre-determined number of prototypes. This will lead<br />

to a schematic reduction of human diversity. Orwell is<br />

not far away. How will the deep-learning algorithms adapt<br />

themselves to the real-life circumstances of their targets<br />

without being connected to a refined application of all<br />

fields of cognitive science, sociology, psychology and a final<br />

human control? The simple fact that they modify themselves<br />

continuously to upgrade their performance will make it<br />

nearly impossible to monitor them in real time. No amount<br />

of human ingenuity will eliminate this threat. Moreover, the<br />

main concern is that the analysts, creating AI algorithms,<br />

will not necessarily be motivated by a human-centered<br />

morality. Underrepresented communities will not be taken<br />

into account. The threat of job displacement is real. The<br />

only question is: How much, where and when?<br />


Collectors are progressively more interested in using the<br />

Internet to manage their collections. According to the Art<br />

Market report (2018) of Art Basel and UBS, online sales<br />

increased 10% year-on-year to $5.4 billion and accounted for<br />

8% of the value of global sales in 2017. Since 2011, ‘Google<br />

Arts & Culture project’ combines AI with image data of<br />

artworks and art historical content. On the basis of selfies,<br />

produced by the social media, it searches their ‘doubles’<br />

in art history, making amazing random connections. It<br />

discovered that the ‘Irises’ of Vincent van Gogh used the<br />

same colour-chromatism palet as the ‘Waterlilies’ of Claude<br />

Monet. Its algorithms classified 30.000 photographs of the<br />

New York MOMA’s exhibition archives since 1929, all the<br />

photographs of TIME magazine, etc. You can search them<br />

with tags such as: love, sorrow, babies, etc. Google Cultural<br />

Institute’s director Amit Sood declared that 1500 museums<br />

and cultural institutions in 70 countries contribute images<br />

(already 6.000.000) to it. The Google Art Camera takes<br />

images in such high resolution that each brushstroke is<br />

visible. It’s the closest one can get to the traditional ‘handson<br />

experience’ of a connoisseur. Its Art & Culture website<br />

produces cultural content in an organized way, gathering<br />

huge social media impact. The cultural world of museums<br />

and collectors is neither organized nor easy accessible,<br />

Google is. Everybody can see the Grand Tour series, the<br />

Horse race in Sienna or stories told by museum curators<br />

about their institution’s works.<br />

In the online art market, buyers want total transparency and<br />

certainty, because the financial services industry looks at<br />

art as an alternative asset class that requires data. Buyers<br />

look for information, but also for expert opinions about the<br />

artness of art and the way social media reflect the art world.<br />

Artsy, claiming 24.000.000 visitors yearly, is a new power<br />

player/matchmaker in the art market. It is a facilitator to<br />

existing trusted brands such as Gagosian Gallery, providing<br />

live-bidding technology. Live video capability is essential to<br />

maintain the feeling of excitement in online auctions. 2.000<br />

galleries around the world publish inventory and exhibition<br />

lists on the site, driving $20 m of monthly sales. Last<br />

year, Artsy acquired ArtAdvisor to lean more heavily on<br />

personalized data to create actionable insights and to create<br />

a better customer experience.<br />

Boston based Invaluable.com, including a vast auction<br />

price database, has monthly more than 5.000 sellers,<br />

3.000.000 visitors and $3 bn in listed items. It acts as a<br />

personal shopper across 5.000 auction houses, going trough<br />

10.000 catalogues. Sales totaled $217 m last year. EBay<br />

and Sotheby’s use Invaluable since 2015. The Dallas-based<br />

Heritage Auctions is the market leader with $348,5 m in<br />

sales last year (2016).<br />

ArtAssistant, developed by the Belgian Alexander Tuteleers<br />

is one single and secure online site for all actors in the<br />

art world. It uses leading edge technology and AI on its<br />

platform, such as Blockchain for transactions. Collectors<br />

need an inventory of their collections. They follow their<br />


118<br />

favorite artists and like to know in good time when<br />

exhibitions or sales are being held. Transactions should be<br />

honest and transparent, without excessive costs, preserving<br />

privacy and discretion. ArtAssistant manages the websites<br />

of museums, auction houses, art dealers, galleries and<br />

collectors. They all need a single portal, allowing them<br />

to: manage their databases; automate the production and<br />

distribution of catalogues and invitations; access specialised<br />

translators; call on experienced insurers, shippers and<br />

carriers; make inventories; promote future events.<br />

With ever-tightening budgets, museum curators can access<br />

a detailed database of works to borrow for exhibition.<br />

Collectors want to preserve their privacy. Artists search to<br />

be recognized and represented. ArtAssistant displays their<br />

works online. Everybody can stage online exhibitions and<br />

sales. All these activities are accessed by one ArtAssistant<br />

software program, syncing all others, and a CRM (customer<br />

relations management) system. We all can be curators<br />

today in a free world. The power of the art experience will<br />

always be in art itself and with the artists who make it.<br />

Online censorship pops up more and more. In this media<br />

and online hurricane connoisseurship is seldom present.<br />

In order to distinguish copies from masterpieces, one<br />

has to differentiate hands and individual characteristics.<br />

This needs experience and skill to understand an artist’s<br />

creative power, clarity of line, his specific way of abstracting<br />

recurring motifs, patterns and sureness of form. In the<br />

immediacy of the digital world, this becomes a rare<br />

commodity.<br />

Less and less people hold the power to decide what kind of<br />

art is made visible. Censorship pops up in China, Turkey<br />

and other autocrat regimes, boosted by populism. Art is our<br />

last free continent to explore unconsciously the roots of the<br />

self and our aspirations.


“Facing Change!” is an ongoing column by<br />

senior media industry expert and <strong>Diplomatic</strong><br />

Council’s Chairman Global Media Forum,<br />

Dieter Brockmeyer. He throws a light on<br />

burning issues of our digitalization driven<br />

global societies from his own perspective.<br />


This kind of shitstorm was to be expected at some<br />

point and Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg<br />

are in their biggest crisis so far. However, the moment<br />

and the occasion are peculiar. The facts were known<br />

for over a year and nothing new has happened since: a<br />

service provider forwarded Facebook user data illegally<br />

to their client Cambridge Analytica who used it in a<br />

highly questionable manner to promote its client – the<br />

Trump campaign during the last US presidential election.<br />

Cambridge Analytica used this info right after the Trump<br />

success for its own public relations and the facts are public<br />

ever since without anything happening for long.<br />

Let’s look at the harm really done: Facebook’s mistake<br />

was that of not communicating in a transparent way and<br />

failing to close the breach. Let us try to analyze the harm<br />

done. Cambridge Analytica was able to define people that<br />

could be accessible for the Trump message, so they could<br />

be addressed directly. Well, would they not have received<br />

the message anyway, one way or another since they were<br />

open for the Trump arguments?<br />

This is nothing but my personal view: I’m very skeptical of<br />

how reliable personal profiles really are that you can create<br />

from social media data. People lie on Facebook and liking<br />

a page does not really mean that you are open to this<br />

subject. Most of my likes are because I want to support<br />

a friend without knowing the band or the organization –<br />

and I never take a closer look at it.<br />

Of course, it was a mistake that should never have<br />

happened and as it did, Facebook should at least have<br />

been more transparent immediately. Now to quit Facebook<br />

or to demand a shutdown of the entire service is just<br />

overdoing things once more. Facebook – and other social<br />

media – has become part of our lives. To shut it down<br />

most likely would create more harm to both businesses<br />

and individuals that run global campaigns or friendships<br />

on the platform.<br />

Therefore, Facebook will react, and it is very likely that<br />

Facebook will rise stronger from the ashes. Already now<br />

we see with astonishment that this “scandal” had no<br />

impact on the company’s quarterly financial statement!<br />

If we look towards China, with its totalitarian regime<br />

and society’s completely different approach to privacy<br />

and see how big data is used there to control people<br />

by sanctioning un-social behavior we really see a dark<br />

scenario of an unfree and illiberal society. That is what<br />

we should defend! This can not be compared to the socalled<br />

Facebook scandal. We need to look out for the real<br />

threats!<br />

Anyway, social media users should do what they should<br />

have done from the very beginning: being aware of what<br />

to post and who to let it see! Because no system is perfect,<br />

and leaks can always happen – and there are always those<br />

who want to take advantage of it.<br />

Profiles created out of that data therefore are not reliable<br />

since a significant share of social media profiles is not<br />

reliable.<br />

Dieter Brockmeyer,<br />

Chairman DC Global Media Forum and initiator<br />

and curator of the annual Global Media Innovator<br />





Two years have passed since the untimely death of<br />

British architect Zaha Hadid in March 2016 and yet<br />

her international legacy continues to grow as large<br />

scale international projects are won by her architect<br />

studio, Zaha Hadid Architects. As more and more<br />

cities around the world realise their ambition to<br />

build inspiring development projects, the dominance<br />

of the British architect’s firm serves to demonstrate<br />

the huge demand for bold and striking architectural<br />

centre pieces.<br />



HADID<br />

Opened in 2017, the new headquarters for the rapidly<br />

expanding Port of Antwerp is one such centre piece. The<br />

building features a vessel shaped, diamond like surfaced<br />

addition which sits positioned atop of a listed former fire<br />

station. The Port of Antwerp, who sought to re-position<br />

their new headquarters between the old historical port<br />

and the modern sprawling port, wished to create a striking<br />

new port hub from which new international and local<br />

connections could be forged. The building is a shining<br />

beacon at the centre of an open and globally facing port.<br />

If the building in Antwerp can be seen as part of a business<br />

plan engaged with enriching and developing international<br />

120<br />

Tom Monballiu, Deputy Port Ambassador - Antwerp Port and Inspiring Culture Team<br />

(Sabrina Tacca-Pandolfo, Raizo Wang, Pick Keobandith, Edward Liddle)<br />

© Inspiring Culture

Port of Antwerp<br />

© Inspiring Culture<br />

trade development, then the 70.000 square metres and 1.800<br />

seat Guangzhou Opera House acts to show how culture<br />

and the christening of a new cultural centre is another way<br />

in which bold and innovative design is part of how cities<br />

are choosing to promote themselves internationally. These<br />

are projects to inspire, projects which seek to go above and<br />

beyond purely functional architectural design.<br />

Hadid’s love for the art movement Suprematism can still<br />

be seen in the projects which continue to bear her name.<br />

The influences of the abstract art movement, which is<br />

characterised by strong simple geometric forms and which<br />

was named by the Russian artist Kasimir Malevich in 1913,<br />

remain the focus of the designs, giving preference as they do<br />

to the stylised distortion, abstraction and fragmentation of<br />

architectural forms.<br />

These stylised forms continue to intrigue clients around the<br />

world as bigger and more ambitious projects are awarded<br />

to Zaha Hadid Architects. Two such projects of note and<br />

which are both part of large airport expansion plans will be<br />

built in China and India. Beijing will be home to the biggest<br />

airport terminal in the world whilst the project in Mumbai<br />

will be, once completed, the biggest airport in India.<br />

All of this begs the question of what the impact of such<br />

projects is and whether they are merely a shining jewel in<br />

the crown of a country wishing to confirm their position<br />

internationally? Criticism has been raised that the ways<br />

in which the buildings are experienced by those living and<br />

working in them are placed as secondary to the ambitions of<br />

the client, who wish to have their very own sparkling Hadid<br />

project regardless of the consequences.<br />

It cannot be ignored that the countries which wish to<br />

be seen as promoting photogenic, avant-garde inspired,<br />

ambitious buildings are the countries which have<br />

experienced rapid unparalleled economic growth during the<br />

past years and who, due to this increase in wealth continue<br />

to grow as world powers.<br />

It is not that the world is unaware that countries such as<br />

India and China are now leading the world in economic<br />

growth but rather it must be noted that much like the<br />

historical leaders of the past, the leaders of today understand<br />

and continue to place the role radical architecture has in<br />

international image building as a high priority.<br />

Dr. Pick Keobandith<br />


122<br />

Guangzhou Opera House<br />

© Hufton + Crow Photographer

Guangzhou Opera House<br />

© Iwan Baan<br />

Guangzhou Opera House<br />

© Iwan Baan<br />






Roads and railway tracks across thousands of<br />

kilometres between Asia and Europe, ports and<br />

airports, power plants, pipelines and logistics<br />

centres in Pakistan and Poland – China is investing<br />

900 billion dollars in the “New Silk Road”.<br />

124<br />

The network of trading routes on land, water and in the air<br />

is to link up the Asian, African and European states situated<br />

between China and the Old <strong>World</strong>. It is also being called<br />

“One Belt, One Road”. The mammoth project that has been<br />

pushed by head of state Xi Jinping since 2013 is probably the<br />

largest development programme ever in the world.<br />

The Chinese “<strong>World</strong> Public Diplomacy Organization”<br />

(WPDO) has now been founded with its head office in<br />

Geneva as part of implementing the Silk Road objectives.<br />

WPDO has set itself the target of stabilising the political<br />

and economic links between the East and West. <strong>Diplomatic</strong><br />

<strong>World</strong> spoke to lawyer Helmut Naujoks, President of WPDO<br />

in Germany. “We want to build bridges to strengthen the<br />

harmony between nations,” says Naujoks, summarising the<br />

WPDO’s visions as follows: “We want to help shape the<br />

economic future between the East and West. We are building<br />

bridges out of music, art and language and bringing the<br />

world’s states and people together.” The WORLD PUBLIC<br />

DIPLOMACY ORGANIZATION uses art as the means of<br />

communication for this dialogue between cultures. “Art is<br />

a suitable medium to sustainably support harmony between<br />

nations,” accentuates Naujoks to <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong>.<br />

WPDO proudly presented itself for the first time during “The<br />

Silk Road Concert” gala by the United Nations Alliance of<br />

Civilizations (UNAOC) and Fundación Onuart at Palais<br />

des Nations, United Nations, in Geneva in October 2017.<br />

“The Silk Road Concert” brought together the Symphonic<br />

Orchestra of the Balearic Islands directed by Maestro Pablo<br />

Mielgo, with eight distinguished artists from Silk Road<br />

countries, namely the violinist Yasmine Azaiez and the<br />

singers Bing Bing Wang (Soprano, China), Burak Bilgili<br />

(Bass, Turkey), Fatma Said (Soprano, Egypt), Huiling<br />

Zhu (Mezzo, China), Vladimir Galouzine (Tenor, Russia),<br />

Warren Mok (Tenor, China), and Yuan Gao (Soprano,<br />

China). The musical performance was preceded by remarks<br />

by Michael Moller, Director-General of the UN Office in<br />

Geneva, Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli, President of the<br />

UN Human Rights Council, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser,<br />

UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations<br />

(UNAOC), and Miguel Ángel Moratinos, President of<br />

Fundación Onuart. The setting of the Human Rights and<br />

Alliance of Civilizations Room in the Palais des Nations in<br />

Geneva provided the ideal backdrop to promote dialogue<br />

and peace around the world through music. A special dinner<br />

attended by prominent figures from political, diplomatic,<br />

social, and media circles followed the concert.<br />

Sylvia Gallus, member of the WPDO Board in Germany,<br />

explains that The Silk Road is going to create thousands<br />

of jobs worldwide. “A close network of trading routes is<br />

evolving that links Central Asia with the Old <strong>World</strong> and the<br />

roughly 60 countries situated between them,” emphasises<br />

Sylvia Gallus. WPDO wants to contribute to this: several<br />

infrastructure projects are being developed along the routes,<br />

such as new railway and road links, airports and ports,<br />

logistics centres, commercial and industrial parks, pipelines<br />

and power plants.<br />

SMEs with huge expertise and international experience are<br />

predestined for the planned infrastructure projects in the<br />

Eurasian region. Machinery and plant manufacturers as

Zhenxuan Ma and Helmut Naujoks<br />

well as suppliers of special equipment in the energy, railway<br />

technology and port development sectors in particular can<br />

rely on packed order books, says Sylvia Gallus. The SME<br />

segment in particular can find respect in its worldwide unique<br />

innovation pool that also reliably completes complex projects<br />

under difficult conditions, states Sylvia Gallus.<br />


“No authority provides any information when presented with<br />

such a document.” The business card is similarly important.<br />

It is considered to be the “key to Asian business”. A bilingual<br />

card in English and Chinese is recommended. It is a deadly<br />

sin in the Far East to take a partner’s business card without<br />

reading it carefully and then put it in your back pocket. “As<br />

then,” according to Naujoks, “the Chinese feel that you are<br />

sitting on their face when you sit down.”<br />

Wanting to understand the Chinese culture is mainly crucial<br />

for success. “Patience is important,” knows Helmut Naujoks.<br />

“I recommend entrepreneurs to seek dialogue time and time<br />

again. It is part of the Chinese way of working to proceed<br />

cautiously. European impatience is not helpful, quite the<br />

opposite. Cultural and interpersonal aspects determine success<br />

or failure,” says Naujoks, who is in China ten to twelve times<br />

a year. The Chinese are polite, issue invitations to potential<br />

business partners, give them gifts. “But that doesn’t say<br />

anything about a possible deal,” explains the China expert. “It<br />

may even be the case that you never hear from the potential<br />

Chinese partner again.” Nevertheless, European entrepreneurs<br />

should overcome their shyness towards the Chinese and<br />

exercise patience: “Nothing happens quickly in China. It takes<br />

a lot of talks before something binding ends up on the table.”<br />

Supposedly mere formalities are also given top priority in the<br />

land of smiles. The company stamp is given a prominent role<br />

as a result. “Even a document with a signature does not have<br />

any legal significance without a stamp,” clarifies Naujoks.<br />

WPDO has set itself the specific goal of confronting any<br />

fears about China. “The new Silk Road shows how visionary<br />

China is in its thinking and action.” The development of<br />

infrastructure links between Asia and Europe is “a major<br />

opportunity for China and Europe’s citizens and national<br />

economies.” Of course there is a different culture in the<br />

People’s Republic of China than in Europe: “But I see this<br />

culture as being open and trusting,” says Naujoks who<br />

regularly meets up with investors in China throughout the<br />

year who are looking for collaborations in Europe. He<br />

advises European entrepreneurs taking a leap into China to<br />

be willing to adapt and develop good contacts: “Otherwise<br />

you will fail there.” “Friendship comes before business.<br />

Or in business German: sustainability creates prosperity,”<br />

according to Naujoks. One thing is certain for WPDO: a<br />

close economic and cultural belt between Asia, Africa and<br />

Europe serves to stabilise world peace. “WPDO is committed<br />

to this all over the world month after month; this is our<br />

contribution to maintaining peace in the world,” explains<br />

Naujoks.<br />



A unique multilateral organization, the Organisation<br />

Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) has some<br />

84 states and governments, including 30 Europeans,<br />

which is why it opened a Permanent Representation<br />

to the European Union in 1995. Today, the OIF<br />

counts 17 member states of the European Union<br />

and others are already applying for membership<br />

on the occasion of its imminent Summit of Heads<br />

of State, to be held in Yerevan on 11 and<br />

12 October 2018.<br />

What are the main projects at the core of your action<br />

as representative of the Organisation Internationale<br />

de la Francophonie?<br />

The action led by the Representation of the Organisation<br />

Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), in order to unite<br />

and mobilize the different francophone influence actors who<br />

are active on the Brussels scene, is based on the work with<br />

several influence groups, such as the Group of francophone<br />

Ambassadors of Brussels (which includes 106 Ambassadors),<br />

the office of the francophone Members of the European<br />

Parliament, the francophone journalists of the Press club, the<br />

francophone European officials, businessmen and bankers.<br />

126<br />

Francophonie S. Lopez and King Philippe

Manneken Pis<br />

More precisely, events, projects, debates and conferences with<br />

these groups are organized on topical issues of the European<br />

Union.<br />

The OIF Representation to the EU also participates in the<br />

meetings of the Committee of Ambassadors of the African,<br />

Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP Group).<br />

Therefore, the Representation is working, through strategic<br />

advocacy, to consolidate the achievements of the ACP-EU<br />

relationship and its strengthening at the end of the post-<br />

Cotonou negotiations, particularly on issues related to the<br />

official development assistance, immigration management,<br />

digital development and economic and trade relations.<br />

How have you celebrated the recent International day<br />

of la Francophonie on March 20th?<br />

The Permanent Representation celebrates the foundation of<br />

its Organization every year and this year on the occasion of<br />

the International Day of la Francophonie, it came up with the<br />

initiative to offer, for the first time, a costume inspired by the<br />

colors of the Organization and its States and Governments<br />

to Manneken Pis. The ceremony was held according to the<br />

ancient Belgian tradition and represented the expression of<br />

francophone diversity and richness as well as a symbol of<br />

unity in the name of common values of democracy, solidarity<br />

and peace to which francophones are truly committed.<br />

To achieve the goal of maintaining an effective connection<br />

between the various francophone groups of actors, the<br />

Permanent Representation invited the francophone<br />

Ambassadors of Brussels, the francophone Members of<br />

the European Parliament, the European and international<br />

francophone officials, as well as other academic and<br />

associative personalities, to celebrate the International Day<br />

of la Francophonie at the reception organized at the Château<br />

Malou. On the occasion, the Permanent Representative,<br />

his Excellency the Ambassador Stéphane Lopez, made a<br />

very committed speech highlighting the responsibility of<br />

francophones to federate and mobilize in order to increase<br />

and enhance the place of French language in the European<br />

Union debates. To highlight French, Moroccan, Canadian,<br />

Quebec and Laotian Francophonies, the Permanent<br />

Representation organized, for the same occasion, shows<br />

and concerts in collaboration with the Embassies of these<br />

countries in Brussels and with the Federation Wallonie-<br />

Bruxelles. Each year different countries, members of the OIF,<br />

are chosen to organize similar events.<br />

Dr. Pick Keobandith<br />














On May 12th, in the evening news of the French television<br />

channel TF1, Bulgaria was presented as the Eldorado for<br />

startups. “Attractive features are: the average monthly<br />

salary of 460 euro (compared to 2.250 euro in France),<br />

the flat tax rate of 10% for companies and persons, the fast<br />

launch of startups within a week, the absence of customs<br />

formalities since Bulgaria joined the EU.” Moreover,<br />

broadband communication is widely available throughout<br />

the country, and higher education institutions are excellent<br />

at providing technical and scientific skills to young talents.<br />

Also, universities feel the urge to participate actively in<br />

innovation and in economic and societal impact creation.<br />

As an example, TF1 news mentioned that Sofia University<br />

is offering lab space free of charge for a smart clothing<br />

startup. Finally, however, on the negative side, the persistent<br />

perception of corruption was mentioned as one of the main<br />

factors deterring investment in Bulgaria.<br />

I am situated in Bulgaria”, where the traditional sectors<br />

of manufacturing, food and agriculture remain the only<br />

meaningful poles of economic activity. These contradictory<br />

messages are typical for a country in transition. While,<br />

128<br />

During the CIDIC mission in Sofia, the encouraging climate<br />

to attract foreign investors and business collaborations<br />

to Bulgaria was highlighted on several occasions and, in<br />

particular, at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce - BCC.<br />

Local VC funds, incubators, co-working spaces and a<br />

growing entrepreneurship spirit are emerging, while “10<br />

years ago there were no startup companies,” said a BCC<br />

employee. But we also heard less enthusiastic echoes: the<br />

brain drain is a serious problem, certainly in the ICT sector<br />

(which was already a focus in Soviet times), and universities<br />

are not organized and equipped for technology transfer.<br />

The CEO of a young startup told us, “My problem is that<br />

© Barbara Dietrich

© Barbara Dietrich<br />

politically, Bulgaria is integrated in the EU, economic<br />

and academic integration is proving a slower process that<br />

is still ongoing. However, internet browsing reveals the<br />

existence of startup ecosystems and startup success stories,<br />

including some first exits due to explosive startup growth.<br />

To my perception, these are still single shot successes of<br />

exceptionally talented entrepreneurial individuals, rather<br />

than a systematic and sustainable approach to enable<br />

startup creation, coaching and growth.<br />

Therefore, one of the DEAC mission’s academic panels<br />

“Startups, motors for new economic and societal activity”<br />

focused, first, on understanding the startup landscape<br />

and then on the more specific subject of the role of<br />

universities in the startup landscape, including social<br />

entrepreneurship, education, spinoff and entrepreneurial<br />

talent creation. The other academic panel was dedicated<br />

to “16+1 in EU-China relations”. The 16+1 cooperation<br />

framework refers to different mechanisms and<br />

arrangements involving China and the 16 Central and<br />

Eastern European Countries (CEEC). The 16+1 fits in<br />

with China’s more general Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)<br />

that re-imagines the Silk Road. Bulgaria’s interest in<br />

becoming more deeply integrated within the EU and the<br />

implications of China’s growing relations with the CEEC<br />

were central themes of the panel.<br />

The subjects were covered from a political and an economic<br />

(diplomacy) point of view. The 16+1 framework is also<br />

full of symbolism and is often perceived as a threat to EU<br />

cohesion, so the subject could not be left unaddressed. In<br />

addition, during the CIDIC mission in Sofia a particularly<br />

caustic report about the BRI, cosigned by 27 of the 28 EU<br />

Ambassadors in China, leaked into the press. Although the<br />

report emphasizes that Chinese state-owned companies<br />

are the primary beneficiaries of the BRI, it was a slap in<br />

the face for the European companies which had prepared<br />

themselves to join the economic boost triggered by the BRI.<br />

China invests heavily in infrastructure, and infrastructure is<br />

equivalent to strategic power. But building walls around the<br />

EU is no option either. China strongly limited the outflow<br />

of Chinese capital in 2017 to protect its own vulnerable<br />

financial system and Chinese companies are becoming<br />

more reasonable in their foreign takeovers and investments.<br />


Despite these kinds of self-regulating mechanisms, the huge<br />

BRI initiative and the associated Chinese strategic vision,<br />

comparable to the Marshall plan after the Second <strong>World</strong><br />

War, merit critical academic attention to avoid populist<br />

reactions that are often based on perceptions and intuitions<br />

that are unsubstantiated by facts. It is an excellent subject<br />

to initiate the adhesion of Sofia University to BACES<br />

– Brussels Academy for China European Studies – that<br />

focuses its research on contemporary China and EU-China<br />

relations.<br />

In the session at the National Assembly, the CIDIC<br />

delegation was received by parliamentarians representing<br />

the different political factions. The general theme of the<br />

discussion was “Bulgaria as a bridge between the Western<br />

Balkans and the EU”. The Q&A session was initiated by<br />

two short presentations: “On the importance of Economic<br />

Diplomacy, the Brussels <strong>Diplomatic</strong> Academy (BDA)<br />

and international collaboration perspectives”, by Gunter<br />

Gaublomme, Director of the BDA, and “The role of the<br />

Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB) for the development of<br />

small and medium-sized companies” by Sophia Kassidova,<br />

Financial Strategy Advisor of the BDB.<br />




The core business of the university remains research and<br />

education based on research. Research is the unique selling<br />

proposition with respect to other actors in higher education.<br />

But also, community services and the creation of societal<br />

and economic impact are part of the “new normal”. Towards<br />

our students, we have the social responsibility to help them<br />

ensuring their lifelong employability, and therefore not only<br />

research but also entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial<br />

attitudes have to be incorporated in the learning outcomes<br />

of the curricula. The latter are core competences that<br />

are expected from our graduates: “Some will want to<br />

become entrepreneurs, all will have to be entrepreneurial”.<br />

This transformation is crucial to avoid the danger of a<br />

new societal “divide” between entrepreneurs and nonentrepreneurs.<br />

The Bulgarian Ministry of Economy, represented by<br />

Tihomira Palova, wants to encourage entrepreneurship<br />

and innovation in new companies. Sectors of primary<br />

130<br />

From right to left: Prof. Lyu Jie, Deputy Director, International Office, RUC; Prof. Zhang Xiaohui, Deputy Director, President Office, RUC; Prof.<br />

Yang Weiguo, Dean School of Personnel and Human Resources, RUC; Prof. Zhang Jianming, Executive Vice President, University Council, RUC;<br />

Prof. Song Xinning, Director of Confucius Institute at VUB and Jean Monnet Chair ad personam at RUC; Prof. Huang Weiping, Chairman of Academic<br />

Board, Centre for European Studies; Ms. Song Yiran, International Office, RUC – Renmin University of China

From left to right: Prof. Zhang Jinming, Executive Vice President University council RUC, Prof. Jan Cornelis, Pro Vice Rector VUB,<br />

Prof. Anastas Gerdjikov, Rector Sofia University<br />

© Barbara Dietrich<br />

importance are manufacturing and knowledge-intensive<br />

services. Thematic priorities are mechatronics and<br />

clean technologies, informatics and ICT, health and<br />

biotechnology, creative and recreational industries. “In<br />

2016, 40 % of young people aged less than 24 years in<br />

the EU preferred to be self-employed and only 4,1 %<br />

succeeded”. Therefore, the ministry encourages universities<br />

to promote entrepreneurial skills in the curricula and to<br />

build new systems for structured knowledge and technology<br />

transfer.<br />

At first view, in my opinion, the type of support instruments<br />

provided by the government are the right ones, but the<br />

structure to ensure their effective exploitation is still<br />

under construction, certainly at the universities. Hence<br />

this deserves at least a follow-up workshop on exchange<br />

of best practices – Belgium being a country where<br />

structured university technology transfer has existed for<br />

at least 25 years. Maria Niculescu, Directrice de l’Ecole<br />

Supérieure de la Francophonie pour l’Administration et le<br />

Management (ESFAM) – Sofia, talked about how to include<br />

entrepreneurship practice in the curricula. She elaborated<br />

a particularly original example: ESFAM students from<br />

developing countries can choose a special project to carry<br />

out under supervision during their studies, giving them<br />

the opportunity to prepare for the subsequent launch of a<br />

company in their homeland.<br />

Abdellah Touhafi, professor at VUB and CEO of the spin-off<br />

company Lumency (smart lighting), made a presentation on<br />

the development of Lumency, emphasizing the symbiosis<br />

between his entrepreneurial ambitions and the different<br />

players in the regional innovation ecosystem, including the<br />

university’s technology transfer office.<br />

Nikolay Dentchev, Professor Entrepreneurship and<br />

Corporate Social Responsibility at VUB, emphasized<br />

the need for support mechanisms to create (social)<br />

entrepreneurial dynamics and to coach potential social<br />

entrepreneurs. He presented a very successful model,<br />

namely VUB’s social entrepreneurship platform, and gave<br />

an open invitation to share the platform structure with a<br />

similar endeavour in Bulgaria. As a result, in follow-up to<br />

the CIDIC mission, a workshop on new business models<br />

will be organized from 26 to 28 June 2018 in the Bulgarian<br />

University of National and <strong>World</strong> Economy.<br />

Teodor Sedlarski showed a video presenting Sofia Tech<br />

Park, a successful example of interaction between private,<br />

public and academic institutions. Ivan Todorov, head expert<br />

at Invest Bulgaria Agency, spoke about the policies for<br />


132<br />

foreign investments in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian startup<br />

association (BESCO), an active organization that takes<br />

up an important interface function in bridging the gap<br />

between the startup ecosystem and government agencies,<br />

was represented by its vice-chairman Dobromir Ivanov.<br />

Milanka Slavova, Professor at the University of National<br />

and <strong>World</strong> Economy, presented the results of a 2008-<br />

2009 study on attempts to establish technology transfer<br />

infrastructure in Bulgarian universities. At that time, these<br />

were unsuccessful. She analyzed the main bottlenecks,<br />

a traditional story that I often encountered in classical<br />

universities: they are at the forefront in research but tend<br />

to be ultraconservative when it comes to their internal<br />

structuring and governance.<br />

Professor Desislava Yordanova quoted an OECD<br />

report “Bulgarian higher education institutions exhibit<br />

narrow understanding of the concept innovative and<br />

entrepreneurial university (OECD, 2014)”. She confirmed<br />

the most important bottlenecks hampering the transition<br />

towards an entrepreneurial university. She ended her talk<br />

with some of the best practices at the University of Sofia,<br />

illustrating that “times are changing”. Let us collaborate<br />

in an international context, skip some transition phases<br />

in the transformation process towards an entrepreneurial<br />

university and accelerate the change. As a result of the<br />

CIDIC mission, a joint workshop is being set up in Q4 of<br />

2018.<br />

“Cooperation between academia and business is a<br />

good proxy for the quality of both, but it is rarely<br />

institutionalized and above all virtually unknown even<br />

within academia and business circles,” says Professor<br />

Todor Yalamov. This statement has indeed been confirmed<br />

quantitively in many studies. He mentions that in Bulgaria<br />

academic entrepreneurship has been a story of ups and<br />

downs: “Academic entrepreneurship has deep roots in<br />

technical universities: highly institutionalized in the<br />

80s, banned in the 90s leading to a lot of exits from<br />

academia, invisible in the 00s, too noticeable in the 10s.” I<br />

appreciated his statement that academic entrepreneurship<br />

not only exists in technological domains, economics and<br />

finance but also in the humanities such as for example<br />

philosophy (ontologies). Establishing a meaningful<br />

involvement of humanities is indeed a challenge to be<br />

developed everywhere in the world.<br />

“Our ambition for research is that it impacts society.<br />

We used to think of impact as starting with an idea, then<br />

developing that idea into a prototype, then turning the<br />

prototype into a product, then marketing the product,<br />

and so on – it is a long march and the problem with long<br />

marches is that most ideas don’t make it. I will provide<br />

examples of a different model, one where society is part of<br />

the research process,” said Prof. Robert Calderbank (Duke<br />

University, International Francqui Chairholder 2017-2018<br />

at VUB), in his lecture on “Data+”.<br />

These new models require a large paradigm shift for<br />

universities: living labs, citizen science, transdisciplinary<br />

R&D, and research and innovation platforms are bringing<br />

new societal stakeholders in the core of Campus life<br />

and require novel university governance attitudes and<br />

mechanisms. These developments provide valuable<br />

opportunities for a country like Bulgaria – where the<br />

classical sequential way of societal impact creation<br />

sketched by Calderbank is not yet fully structured<br />

inside the university – to skip a few stages and join the<br />

international community in these change dynamics.<br />







On 27 November 2017, the 6th CEEC-China in Budapest<br />

decided that Bulgaria will host the “7th Meeting of State,<br />

Government leaders of China, CEE Countries” in 2018.<br />

With this as a background, the Confucius Institutes at<br />

VUB and Sofia University decided to organize a panel<br />

on 16+1 in EU-China relations on 25th April in Sofia.<br />

Scholars from Central and Eastern Europe and China<br />

discussed EU-China relations in general and CEEC-<br />

China cooperation as well as Bulgaria-China relations.<br />

H.E. Mr. Haizhou Zhang, the Chinese Ambassador to<br />

Bulgaria, gave the keynote speech. According to him,<br />

EU-China relations went through development periods of<br />

constructive partnership, comprehensive partnership and<br />

comprehensive strategic partnership, and three dialogues,<br />

namely high-level strategic, high-level economic and<br />

trade, and high-level people to people. The EU is China’s<br />

number one trade partner and China is the EU’s number<br />

two trade partner. In 2017, bilateral trade reached US<br />

$616.92 billion, with increases of 8% and 20% in exports<br />

and imports, respectively.

EU-China cooperation provides the fundamental basis<br />

for the growing relationship with the CEEC. The 16+1<br />

framework forms an important part of this, and serves as<br />

a valuable addition to EU-China relations. Collaborative<br />

projects between China and the CEEC should not,<br />

therefore, divide the EU and hamper European<br />

integration.<br />

Foreign policy is to serve domestic politics and economic<br />

development. Professor Chunrong Liu from the Fudan<br />

Centre at Copenhagen University discussed recent<br />

Chinese domestic political changes and their impact<br />

on Chinese foreign relations and the interconnectivity<br />

with the EU and the CEEC. Professor Nako Stefanov<br />

from Sofia University commented on the Chinese “new<br />

normality” economic policy. He concluded that “new<br />

normality”, together with the fourth industrial revolution<br />

(based on the fusion of diverse technologies) for which<br />

China is well-positioned, explained China’s active<br />

international cooperation programmes such as the<br />

Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), providing bigger<br />

opportunities for further EU-China and CEEC-China<br />

cooperation.<br />

EU-China and CEEC-China cooperation<br />

is important for both sides<br />

Professor Chun Ding, Jean Monnet Chair of the Centre<br />

for European Studies at Fudan University, Shanghai,<br />

gave an overall review of EU-China economic relations.<br />

Specifically, he discussed several key areas of ongoing<br />

EU-China economic disputes such as the free market<br />

economy status, trade imbalance, comprehensive<br />

investment agreements, European skepticism on the BRI,<br />

… He remained quite optimistic about the future of EU-<br />

China relations and especially the CEEC-China economic<br />

cooperation. Professor Weiping Huang, Jean Monnet<br />

Chair of the Centre for European Studies at Renmin<br />

University of China, compared the advantages of CEEC-<br />

China cooperation for both China and the CEEC.<br />

For China, it is an opportunity to promote further market<br />

reform and innovative capacity development. China and<br />

the CEEC have a long-standing deep-rooted friendship.<br />

The six-year 16+1 mechanism has already produced<br />

an early harvest. He suggested five fields for further<br />

cooperation, namely trade and investment, connectivity,<br />

cooperation modes, financial support, and people to<br />

people communication.<br />

The Role of the Balkan region and Bulgaria in<br />

EU-China and CEEC-China relations, and the BRI<br />

Professor Dinko Dinkov from Sofia’s University of<br />

National and <strong>World</strong> Economy, gave a presentation on “The<br />

Balkans Crossroad: Opportunities for enhancing EU-China<br />

Relations”. He argued that the Balkans are well located on<br />

the crossroad connecting Europe, Asia and Africa. It is a<br />

paradox that the region’s infrastructure remains very poorly<br />

developed, with restricted capacity to support the current<br />

high level of interactions in all fields of social and economic<br />

life. The CEEC-China cooperation framework and the BRI<br />

provide good opportunities for the region to promote the<br />

interests of the EU and China, as well as the region itself,<br />

and to reinforce the development of Balkan infrastructure,<br />

transport, communication and trade.<br />

Professor Georgi Chobanov from Sofia University<br />

provided a picture of Balkan short cuts in a modern silk<br />

road. It seemed to him that the BRI can be regarded as<br />

a world geo-political and geo-economic development,<br />

and a win-win project for generating additional resources<br />

and furthering the historical convergence of Eastern and<br />

Western Civilizations. He also advocated the concept of<br />

the “Rose Road”, i.e. “the short cut of the Silk Road via<br />

Bulgaria”. The city of Bourgas and the Port of Bourgas<br />

could serve as a logistic centre on the Silk Road, both<br />

on land and sea, with further railway connections to<br />

Plovdiv–Sofia-Vidin and Central Europe. Professor<br />

Evgeniy Kandilarov from Sofia University gave a detailed<br />

analysis of the role of Bulgaria in the 16+1 and the BRI.<br />

The inclusion of the 16+1 cooperation mechanisms into<br />

the BRI was the most important and promising element<br />

for the CEEC.<br />

The Bulgarian government declared its strong commitment<br />

to supporting Chinese companies wishing to invest in<br />

Bulgaria in sectors in which Bulgaria has traditional<br />

strengths, especially those providing high added value and<br />

increased competitiveness, such as engineering, automotive<br />

technologies, electronics, information and communication<br />

technologies, the chemical and pharmaceutical industry,<br />

agriculture and the food industry, increasingly supported<br />

with the facilities of new industrial zones and hi-tech parks.<br />

Bulgaria has always emphasized its desire to attract Chinese<br />

companies to invest in Bulgarian industrial zones, which<br />

are supported by the National Company Industrial Zones.<br />

Professor Xiang Deng, Jean Monnet Chair from Sichuan<br />

University in Chengdu, described recent developments of<br />


the China-Europe cargo railway. So far there have been<br />

more than 6.300 trains from 33 Chinese cities, which have<br />

reached 36 cities in 13 European countries, including<br />

1.000 trains from Chengdu to Lodz, Poland. But they<br />

also experienced some problems, such as high outbound<br />

transport costs, high operating expenditures, low bargaining<br />

power of the stakeholders and high subsidies. Further<br />

expansion will be subject to local dynamics, and further<br />

opening up of the BRI within a long-term perspective.<br />

European-Asian cooperation<br />

in higher education<br />

Professor Maria Stoicheva, Jean Monnet Chair and Vice<br />

Rector for International Cooperation of Sofia University,<br />

presented a new project called EURASIA: European<br />

Studies Revitalized Across Asian Universities, co-funded by<br />

the EU’s Erasmus+ Programme. The project, coordinated<br />

by Sofia University, includes five European, two Chinese<br />

and two Indian universities. The main objectives are to<br />

contribute to capacity building in the field of EU studies, to<br />

strengthen the internationalization of education, to improve<br />

competences and skills in the partner institutes for higher<br />

education, to encourage intercultural communication, and<br />

to provide faculty and young researchers with innovative<br />

opportunities for training, mobility and learning exchanges.<br />

Everyone in the panel agreed that educational cooperation<br />

should be promoted as a very important component of EU-<br />

China and CEEC-China relations.<br />

countries. Bulgaria-China trade increased 29.8% in 2017,<br />

but the total trade only represented a combined value of<br />

US $2.13 billion. Professor Xinning Song stated that EU-<br />

China relations are entering a new era. China’s strategy of<br />

seeking a stable and balanced power in its relationships,<br />

and of positioning China as a safeguard for global peace,<br />

a contributor to the world economy, a participant in<br />

global governance and a maintainer of international order,<br />

provides new opportunities to deepen the EU-China<br />

partnership.<br />




The underlying themes of the discussion at the Bulgarian<br />

National Assembly were economic diplomacy and political<br />

economy. “Economic diplomacy is the field of diplomacy,<br />

whether or not in partnership with non-state actors, aiming<br />

at maintaining and creating domestic economic prosperity<br />

by means of policies and actions in relation to foreign<br />

countries,’ explained Gunter Gaublomme, Director of<br />

the Brussels <strong>Diplomatic</strong> Academy. The strength of this<br />

definition is that it refers to what economic diplomacy really<br />

is, namely securing a nation’s domestic economic prosperity,<br />

and that this purpose is realized not only through the<br />

commonly known instruments, such as trade fairs, economic<br />

missions, … but is also taken care of by the legislature and<br />

the executive (i.e. government and diplomats).<br />

134<br />

Discussion and conclusions<br />

The European and Chinese participants had great<br />

expectations about the further evolution of EU-China and<br />

CEEC-China relationships. Professor Antonya Tsankova<br />

from the Chinese Studies Department of Sofia University<br />

appreciated the achievements of the 16+1 cooperation and<br />

the BRI over the last five years. At a recent meeting, leaders<br />

from Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Serbia confirmed<br />

their willingness to work together in support of the 16+1<br />

and the BRI initiatives. Increased efforts are needed to find<br />

new, concrete formulae for cooperation. Although CEEC-<br />

China cooperation has progressed, trade and investment<br />

between the CEEC and China are still limited. In 2017, the<br />

trade volume was US $67.98 billion, an increase of 11.6%,<br />

but this is still only 1.65% of China’s total foreign trade,<br />

and 9% of China’s trade with Europe. The CEEC is still<br />

not the main destination of China’s FDI in Europe. Some<br />

90% of China’s FDI is still with the traditional developed<br />

Rumen Gechev, Bulgarian parliamentarian, remarked that<br />

sometimes the preliminary studies on potential economic<br />

and financial impacts of laws adopted by the parliament are<br />

inadequate, resulting in insufficiently refined laws that often<br />

have to be modified and brought into line with EU directives<br />

afterwards. This creates a perception in the international<br />

community of instability which is harmful for business and<br />

investments. He welcomed regular meetings with mixed<br />

delegations such as the CIDIC mission.<br />

Gunter Gaublomme proposed to create a Balkan Chair in<br />

the Brussels <strong>Diplomatic</strong> Academy. He felt that diverging<br />

views can lead Eastern and Western Europe to grow apart:<br />

“I am convinced that a lack of mutual understanding<br />

lies at the basis of this threat to European construction.”<br />

The Chair would aim to bring together the positions of<br />

both sides, from the point of view of society, business,<br />

academia and governments, so that enhanced awareness<br />

and understanding would facilitate European cooperation.

A university, being a neutral platform for discussion, is the<br />

ideal forum to host this dialogue.<br />

The Bulgarian Development Bank, represented by Sophia<br />

Kassidova, described its business model that is aimed at<br />

developing and invigorating the economy, as well as its<br />

policy in support of small and medium-sized companies,<br />

startups and infrastructure. The infrastructure connecting<br />

countries within the Balkans has not been sufficiently<br />

developed in the aftermath of the recent turbulent history<br />

and wars in the area. The BDB also has a policy of<br />

promoting international relationships and cooperation,<br />

particularly with Asia and Europe.<br />

As with the previous CIDIC missions, the CIDIC DEAC<br />

days in Sofia were overwhelmingly rich in terms of content<br />

and camaraderie among all participants, and they have<br />

directly resulted in several new exciting collaborative<br />

initiatives that will take place in the coming months.<br />



Economic diplomacy is as old as diplomacy itself.<br />

Together with security and military politics, it forms the<br />

DNA structure of diplomacy. One can argue that the<br />

establishment of the League of Nations in 1927 marked<br />

the sudden interest in and rapidly increasing importance of<br />

economic diplomacy. Business representatives, economists<br />

and diplomats came together to answer the question how<br />

international trade could be promoted. The idea was that<br />

the elimination of trade barriers could stimulate growth<br />

in international trade. Till then, economic diplomacy had<br />

consisted of bilateral trade diplomacy; now a new dimension<br />

was added: multilateral negotiations. Bilateral trade treaties<br />

were incorporated in a multilateral network based on the<br />

principles of free trade. As such, international trade became<br />

based on a set of uniform rules and agreements.<br />

Other milestones in the process of enhancing the role of<br />

economic diplomacy, were the Bretton Woods system and<br />

Europe’s economic integration. Furthermore, it was Bill<br />

Clinton’s famous words “It’s the economy, stupid!” that<br />

gave economic diplomacy a significant boost in the 1990s.<br />

America’s economic diplomacy went into overdrive. The<br />

main aim of the United States’ foreign policy became that<br />

of regaining the apparently deteriorating American power<br />

position in the world economy. Old market positions had to<br />

be recaptured and new market shares had to be sought after.<br />

The reemergence of economic diplomacy was noticeable<br />

in nearly all OECD countries. There are several reasons<br />

to explain its renewed importance. Shifting economic<br />

power balances, sharp international economic competition,<br />

monetary instability, the extension of the trade agenda<br />

to include services and ICT, and the promotion of<br />

deregulation, all caused an uncertain environment for<br />

companies to operate in. Companies had to knock on the<br />

door of their governments asking for help; governments had<br />

no other choice than to help them, otherwise they would<br />

have been disadvantaged by their foreign competitors. 1<br />

Economic diplomacy’s important role is also clearly<br />

illustrated by its economic return. In the Netherlands, for<br />

example, trade missions led by experienced government<br />

officials increase the country’s welfare by 100 to 200<br />

million euro per year. 2 Knowing that this kind of mission<br />

only represents a very small part of economic diplomacy<br />

activities, one can only conclude that economic diplomacy<br />

– at least in this case – succeeds in its aim to increase the<br />

country’s economic prosperity.<br />




Under the auspices of H.E. Mrs. Maya Dobreva,<br />

Bulgarian Ambassador to Belgium, H.E. Mr. Francois<br />

Bontemps, Belgian Ambassador to Bulgaria, and<br />

supported by strategic partners: UNICA – Network<br />

of Universities from the Capitals of Europe, BDA<br />

- the Brussels <strong>Diplomatic</strong> Academy, <strong>Diplomatic</strong><br />

<strong>World</strong>, UBB - part of the KBC group, BMW.<br />

April 24th: Visit to the municipality authorities,<br />

guided tour of the city, working session and B2B<br />

meetings at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce,<br />

CIDIC European Awards Ceremony, diplomatic<br />

reception at the Belgian Ambassador’s residence.<br />

April 25th: Two parallel discussion panels at Sofia<br />

University, session at the National Assembly,<br />

CIDIC’s dinner<br />

April 26th: Visit to the National History Museum<br />

and Boyana Church<br />

1 Coolsaet, R., Kesteleyn, J., Na honderd jaar: wederopstanding van de<br />

economische diplomatie, in Internationale Spectator, vol.: 64, issue: 2,<br />

94-96<br />

2 Okano-Heijmans, M., Hantering van het begrip economische<br />

diplomatie, in Internationale Spectator, Jaargang 64 nr. 2, Februari<br />

2010, p. 73.<br />



SOFIA 2018<br />

PRINTIVO is a young biotech company working in the<br />

field of bio-fabrication and tissue engineering. The staff<br />

developed a cutting-edge 3D-bioprinting technology and<br />

a unique bio-ink formula capable of sustaining cellular<br />

life and proliferation. Currently, they are focusing on<br />

3D-bioprinted bone and cartilage grafts for dental and<br />

orthopedic procedures. Several private clinics are involved<br />

in pilot tests and trials. The business model is a print-ondemand<br />

platform for highly customized and personalized<br />

tissue grafts. They plan to widen their portfolio to five<br />

different tissue analogs by the end of 2019. Printivo received<br />

the international CIDIC award for its capacity to become<br />

a real game changer in biomedical industry, based on new<br />

technology developed in-house, its creative innovation<br />

potential and the synergy within its interdisciplinary team.<br />

MICAR INNOVATION is a drug discovery factory. The<br />

company has found a niche where it is able to create a large<br />

societal impact by improving the quality of life through new<br />

blockbuster drug molecules for a large class of diseases.<br />

It focuses on non-clinical Proof-of-Concepts (POCs) in<br />

preclinical R&D and Hit-to-Lead (H2L) achievements in<br />

areas such as neuroscience, oncology, cardio-vascularity,<br />

dermatology, rare diseases. MICAR21 is their drug<br />

discovery platform for small molecule drug candidates.<br />

The business model is based on licensing their intellectual<br />

property to commercial partners and on the creation new<br />

spin out companies. Micar Innovation received the CIDIC<br />

award for its well-chosen positioning in a complex and long<br />

value chain, where it can create key-value contributions by<br />

delivering non-clinical POCs. The company can be qualified<br />

as a fountain of intellectual property and an IP broker for<br />

new pharma startups and big pharma industry.<br />

AMMEX, SPADEL and EUROSENSE, companies rooted<br />

in Belgium, received the international CIDIC awards for<br />

their involvement in strong commercial and collaborative<br />

activities with Bulgaria.<br />

136<br />

From left to right: Prof. Anastas Gerdjikov, Gerdjikov, Rector - Sofia University, Prof. Zhang Jinming, Executive Vice President University council – Renmin University<br />

of China, Prof. Jan Cornelis, Pro Vice Rector – Vrije Universiteit Brussel, H.E. Mrs. Maya Dobreva – Bulgarian Ambassador to Belgium. © Barbara Dietrich

© Barbara Dietrich<br />

BACES and Sofia University received a joint International<br />

CIDIC award presented by the Bulgarian Ambassador to<br />

Belgium, H.E. Mrs Maya Dobreva, for their multicultural<br />

and trans-disciplinary approach in bridging the gap in<br />

intercontinental contemporary societal studies and building<br />

bridges of mutual understanding.<br />



BACES, the Brussels Academy for China and European<br />

Studies is a platform for exchanging new ideas concerning<br />

contemporary China and China-Europe relations. It promotes<br />

understanding and critical analysis in this area. BACES<br />

was officially launched in China, at Diaoyutai State Guest<br />

House in Beijing, on 6 September 2014 by EU Commissioner<br />

Androulla Vassiliou and China’s Vice premier Liu Yandong,<br />

in support of the EU-China High Level People-to-People<br />

Dialogue. From the start, BACES was supported by the<br />

Huawei chair on Contemporary China Studies. The founding<br />

members are: the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Renmin<br />

University of China (RUC), Sichuan University and Fudan<br />

University. After the launch, membership has been extended<br />

to three European universities, Ghent University, Lancaster<br />

University and Sofia University. This extended membership<br />

fits into the strategy to establish among European partners<br />

several geographical foci, currently Bulgaria and the Balkan<br />

area, UK, Belgium and Western Europe. The platform<br />

provides post-initial education, research and policy advice.<br />

It is supported by the scholarship programmes of CSC<br />

(China Scholarship Council). At this moment it operates<br />

along 4 thematic clusters: Competition, Governance and<br />

Representation, Investments, Innovation & Technology<br />

Transfer.<br />

The signature of the BACES partner agreement<br />

with Sofia University took place on 24 April 2018 in<br />

Sofia. Rector Anastas Gerdjikov of Sofia University<br />

signed the agreement after prior signature by the<br />

Rector of VUB Caroline Pauwels. Prof. Zhang<br />

Jianming (Executive Vice Chairman of the University<br />

Council at RUC) and Prof. Jan Cornelis (Pro Vice<br />

Rector Internationalization at VUB) co-signed as<br />

witnesses. BACES and Sofia University received<br />

a joint International CIDIC award presented<br />

by the Bulgarian Ambassador to Belgium, H.E.<br />

Mrs Maya Dobreva, for their multicultural and<br />

trans-disciplinary approach in bridging the gap in<br />

intercontinental contemporary societal studies and<br />

building bridges of mutual understanding.<br />

BACES: www.baces.be<br />





PILOT4DEV is an independent initiative<br />

that connects global stakeholders active in<br />

Pilot development initiatives in the areas<br />

of Climate, Cities, Governance, Conflicts/<br />

Stability, the Environment and more generally<br />

the implementation of SDGs including Gender<br />

Equality.<br />



Environment and Climate Change are increasingly gaining<br />

momentum among decision-makers, the private sector and<br />

civil society. Initiatives and opportunities are mushroomed:<br />

36.000 jobs linked to circular economy should be created<br />

in Belgium only before 2020, the European Union has<br />

issued a new strategy on circular economy, management<br />

of plastic waste in the last weeks. The pledges of the Paris<br />

Agreement to keep Global Warming below the threshold of<br />

1,5C is a strong basis for actions, reinventions, changes and<br />

transitions to more sustainable actions including renewable<br />

energies as a growing market, and energy efficient buildings.<br />

SDGs provide a logical and needed answer to the challenges<br />

of the world we have created.<br />

tragic: we are not enough aware of it. It does not care<br />

about good feelings and virtuous outrage … not even about<br />

justice”. According to recent estimates released last June<br />

by newspapers The Guardian, 1,2 million plastic bottles<br />

are bought every minute, and this figure only reflects an<br />

ocean of challenges. The impacts of human activity on<br />

climate but also on health and the environment are often<br />

underestimated. The European Parliament’s reports indeed<br />

show that half a million premature deaths occur yearly in<br />

Europe because of poor air quality. Floods, heat waves and<br />

desertification will be increasing, while the level of seas is<br />

threatening coastal areas. Oceans are becoming acid and<br />

polluted with plastics and micro-beads. Agriculture and<br />

fisheries in specific areas are threatened, and mega cities of<br />

more than 5 million inhabitants become the norm creating<br />

enormous challenges …<br />

They recognise the need for systemic change and integrated<br />

action on all dimensions of sustainability. While the actions<br />

for climate change are both ambitious and timid, growing<br />

world’s population and economic activities increase<br />

pressure on resources and results in an unjust distribution<br />

of wealth and inequalities. There will therefore be no easy<br />

victory, and among certain circles, awareness raising on<br />

the dangers of climate change are still insufficient to lead to<br />

consistent action.<br />

138<br />

Experience, research and history show that country’s<br />

choices and decisions aren’t always rational and based<br />

on rational choices. French political scientist Raymond<br />

Aron used to write about the 20th century “History is


Another threat is unpredictability linked with instability.<br />

The geopolitical situation is more instable and unclear<br />

than in the last decades because of the emergence of new<br />

threats. We have moved away from clear and identified<br />

blocks and partnerships to “less formal alliances”. The<br />

necessary search for stability in a new quickly changing<br />

environment will need to go hand in hand with economic<br />

needs, and the fight against climate change. The way things<br />

look, climate may appear at the bottom of the priorities’<br />

list … while we need stronger leadership, improved global<br />

governance and better mobilization of financing potential.<br />

The third problem, and equally important is the lack of<br />

clear-cut solutions to solve climate change. In the areas<br />

of energy, green economy, waste management, growing<br />

demography or even sustainable urbanization, there is<br />

no easy solution. It is almost impossible to find a holistic<br />

approach where partners could agree. But why is climate<br />

always presented on the bottom of priorities whereas<br />

drastic choices are needed? The question of fossil fuels, but<br />

also demography booming to 9 billion in the next decades<br />

are likely to hamper optimistic forecasts and scenarios.<br />

One of the findings of U.N. International Resource Panel<br />

is that “the richest countries consume on average 10 times<br />

more materials than the poorest ones and consumption<br />

has been in the last decades a stronger driver of growth<br />

in material use than the population growth.” Inequalities<br />

and climate justice are really a big part of the problem in a<br />

context where Official Development Aid is decreasing …<br />

In addition, there is no international convention on the use<br />

of the resources … In particular, the question of fossil fuels<br />

being at the center of the world’s production and economy<br />

starts becoming problematic in the view of the current<br />

situation.<br />

In conclusion, we should nurture all possible progress.<br />

Jobs created by circular economy in Belgium for instance<br />

are very good news. It shows that we can make progress<br />

and involve civil society, industries and governments in<br />

finding solutions. But optimism will not be sufficient.<br />

We will need a lot of raising awareness, coordinated<br />

international action, better measurable solutions and<br />

certainly additional resilience and mitigation measures …<br />

This is why we have created PILOT4DEV to share<br />

thoughts, ideas, strengthen existing actions and policies,<br />

connect initiatives to decision-makers. We fight for<br />

Sustainable Development!<br />

Please join us and get in contact www.pilot4dev.com<br />





Encyclopedia of Russian avant-garde – is the<br />

first publication of its kind, comprehensively<br />

reviewing the history and theory of the<br />

avant-garde movement in Russia, dating<br />

back to 1907-1932 by the authors. The chiefeditors,<br />

authors of the idea and leaders of the<br />

scientific and editorial work are art historians<br />

Andrey Sarabianov and Vasily Rakitin.<br />

Published in three volumes, the encyclopedia contains<br />

more than 1.200 encyclopedic articles and 4.000<br />

illustrations. The first and second volumes of the edition<br />

are devoted to biographies of participants of avant-garde<br />

movement - artists, architects, writers, playwrights,<br />

everyone who played a more or less significant role in a<br />

given context. The third volume, consisting of two books<br />

is dedicated to the history and theory: ideas, concepts,<br />

schools, exhibits and more, that are important and<br />

necessary for understanding the avant-garde art.<br />


The publication is intended to fill numerous gaps in the history<br />

and correct inaccuracies and errors that occurred in the avantgarde<br />

science in previous years. To succeed in this ambitious<br />

goal the team of 238 of the best professionals around the<br />

world was formed by the chief-editors of Encyclopedia. The<br />

"Encyclopedia of Russian avant-garde" was created with the<br />

active participation of 88 foreign and domestic museums.<br />

The edition received a number of national awards, including<br />

the "Book of the Year" and won the national contest<br />

"Best Books of the Year - 2015". At the end of 2016,<br />

the encyclopedia was published in French (1st and 2nd<br />

volume), and in March 2017, it was presented at the Georges<br />

Pompidou Center in Paris. The publisher has already started<br />

work on the English edition and is negotiating with potential<br />

partners interested in financing this large-scale project.<br />

To order books in Russian:<br />

http://rusavangard.ru/buy/<br />

To order books in French:<br />

www.apopsix.fr<br />

To buy books in Paris:<br />

Librairie Flammarion Centre Pompidou<br />





This report is about people who made it based on<br />

their skills for negative headlines: counterfeiters.<br />

Deception/counterfeiting was already used by the<br />

primeval hunters when they imitated the sounds of<br />

animal calls. Cave painting proves that. This deception<br />

would have been considered a vital skill, and no one<br />

would have begrudged the hunters success.<br />

AND TODAY?<br />

When spectacular art forgeries become publicly known,<br />

the skill of the counterfeiter is admired, like the skills of<br />

the early hunter. On the other hand, the experts who have<br />

previously recognized the counterfeiter’s art as the work of<br />

great masters are being taunted.<br />

The enthusiasm to discover the yet unknown and to make<br />

the first in the world goes hand in hand with a lack of care.<br />

Numerous forgeries aroused attention: alleged Hitler diaries<br />

by Konrad Kujau, for which the magazine “STERN” paid<br />

almost 10 million DM in 1983; the Hungarian Elmyr de<br />

Hory, about whom Orson Welles made a film; Christian<br />

Goller, whose Grünewald-counterfeit graced the wall of a<br />

museum; in 2005, the discovery of an edition of Galileo<br />

Galilei with hitherto unknown pen- and ink drawings,<br />

celebrated by experts as genuine and authentic - the list<br />

could be considerably continued.<br />

sculpture of a Cupido, in which the young Michelangelo was<br />

involved.<br />

There are two versions of the story. Cardinal Lorenzo di<br />

Pierfrancesco, for whom Michelangelo worked in Florence,<br />

recommended that Michelangelo should bury the statue of<br />

Cupid in order to make it look antique and sell it in Rome<br />

at a high price. Another report says that it was the art<br />

dealer Baldassare di Milanese who buried the Cupido in<br />

his Roman vineyard and then sold it as an antique for 200<br />

scudi to Raffaele Riario, Cardinal of San Giorgio. The scam<br />

was discovered when a cardinal’s visitor stated that he had<br />

seen the Cupido in Florence when it was not yet antique.<br />

Milanese had to take back the Cupido against payment of<br />

200 scudi. Michelangelo had previously been paid only 30<br />

scudi, the Cupido unfortunately could not be sold for a<br />

higher price. Michelangelo as a cheated cheater? Vasari’s<br />

report suggests it, no matter which version is right.<br />

142<br />

Three forgers have drawn my attention since my early years:<br />

the sculptor Michelangelo, the violinist Fritz Kreisler and<br />

the painter Henricus Antonius “Han” van Meegeren.<br />


Giorgio Vasari (1511-1<strong>57</strong>4) narrates in his 1550 and<br />

1568 published “Le Vite ...” about more than 100 artist<br />

biographies, including the forgery of an 80 cm marble<br />


Forgery/counterfeiting happens in all areas of art, even in<br />

music. The world famous violinist Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962)<br />

was not only celebrated as a virtuoso performer, but also as<br />

a composer.<br />

He named some of his own compositions as the works<br />

of great masters whose autographs he owns: Antonio<br />

Vivaldi, Gaetano Pugnani, Giuseppe Tartini. The music

critics were enthusiastic about the discoveries that Kreisler<br />

presented in his concerts. The ever-increasing desire of<br />

musicologists for insight into the compositions, for the<br />

purpose of classification into the respective complete work,<br />

led to a scandal in 1935, when Kreisler had to declare that<br />

he had composed them himself. The music critics that<br />

were previously cheering, were ashamed. The popularity of<br />

Kreisler did not get detracted by that.<br />

Incidentally, Leopold Mozart is also said to have taken over<br />

the art of decorating Tartini in his violin school.<br />


Berthold Brecht’s “Die Dreigroschenoper” refers to John<br />

Gay’s Beggar Opera, some of his poems to François Villon.<br />

In recent years it has become public knowledge that the<br />

dissertations of many politicians are plagiarized/forged.<br />

In New York, Chinese Pei-Shen Qian paintings sold at a<br />

famous gallery for tens of millions as Rothko, Pollock and<br />

de Kooning.<br />

Meegeren were really forged/counterfeit for over two years.<br />

Finally, the “white lead” containing white polymers of the<br />

20th century proved the counterfeiting.<br />

In addition, “white lead” did not exist in Vermeer’s time<br />

period. Since 1967, these analyses have finally been<br />

confirmed and accepted. However, there were already<br />

experts in van Meegeren's lifetime who called his Vermeer<br />

paintings as forgeries. Han van Meegeren was not convicted<br />

as a forger or counterfeiter, but for fraud and tax evasion.<br />

The government also claims taxes on forged/counterfeit<br />

assets.<br />

And: the ingenuity will not create a counterfeiter fate if he<br />

remains unrecognized.<br />

How many unrecognized genius forgers/counterfeiters are<br />

still out there?<br />

Maximilian Krenn<br />


A successful forger/counterfeiter was the Dutchman Han<br />

van Meegeren (1889-1947). His Vermeer paintings were<br />

bought at enormous prices by museums, dealers and<br />

collectors.<br />

Even Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring bought a van<br />

Meegeren -Vermeer for 1,650,000 Gulden. This led to an<br />

indictment of van Meegeren in 1945 for collaboration with<br />

the enemy. To keep his honor and deny the collaboration, he<br />

declared that he had painted the Goering-Vermeer himself,<br />

which no one believed.<br />

In prison, he proved his allegations and painted an<br />

additional Vermeer, and listed the other paintings made by<br />

him. Van Meegeren had thoroughly prepared himself for his<br />

counterfeits. He studied the technique and materials used<br />

by the old masters; he painted on canvases of old paintings;<br />

he used color pigments that were common in artists time<br />

period. Even he himself made errors that were recognized:<br />

much later and only by chemical analysis.<br />

An international commission of experts appointed by the<br />

court examined whether the paintings mentioned by van<br />

Maximilian Krenn, Art Curator & Collector<br />






In today’s increasingly competitive business<br />

environment, efficient network communications<br />

are the key to success in many organizations.<br />

UltiNetS (Ultimate Internetworking Solutions) is<br />

headquartered in Malawi and registered office<br />

in the USA.<br />

UltiNetS is a technology-driven social enterprise and licensed<br />

Internet Service Provider (ISP) with extensive expertise in<br />

providing innovative, advanced internetworking and cloudbased<br />

technology consultancy services and solutions to<br />

businesses and individuals.<br />

“These real world solutions allow businesses to successfully<br />

respond to the constantly increasing demands of the local<br />

and global marketplace and capitalize on technological<br />

changes that are forever becoming part of our society.<br />

UltiNetS design, manage and operate the ultimate transport<br />

infrastructure and enabling services for our clients to<br />

communicate and transfer technology. In other words,<br />

InterNetworking platform for current and emerging services;<br />

- Network Transport Design<br />

- Network Management and Operations<br />

- Network and Transaction Security Management<br />

- Cloud and Internet Access Provisioning.”<br />

- More than 20 Years of Highly trained and experienced<br />

industry engineers and technicians<br />

- Our proven, Comprehensive UltiNetS Integrated Solutions.”<br />

“To ensure efficient communication and secure information<br />

access for our target users is extremely challenging<br />

considering that our target user deployments are essentially<br />

low resource environments with no / unreliable / expensive<br />

power grid, major ongoing operations cost constraint, limited<br />

skill set of users and administrators and no environmental<br />

control systems (air conditioning, dust, humidity). In our<br />

response we ensure our solutions are designed with certain<br />

goals and attributes which include usefulness, affordability<br />

(low up-front and on-going costs), sustainability, reliability<br />

and flexibility in supporting range of uses such as relief,<br />

economic development, education, agriculture in rural and<br />

developing communities while providing ease of maintenance<br />

through local support skill development.”<br />

144<br />

“UltiNetS services are marked out by creative conception<br />

and clever technical solutions. We can guarantee a very<br />

cost–effective high level of performance, functionality,<br />

security, ease of use and administration possibilities with<br />

our adaptable solutions portfolio that we work to fit our<br />

clients’ needs perfectly. We provide our clients with marketleading<br />

edge solutions specially targeted to achieve their<br />

business objective. These solutions are built using our unique<br />

combination of:<br />

- Our process discipline, client-driven, customer- and resultoriented<br />

Integration Methodologies<br />

Malawi is one of the world’s least developed and poorest<br />

countries, beset in recent years by declining GDP growth,<br />

high inflation, and a rapidly depreciating currency.<br />

Telecommunications operators have been affected by<br />

currency devaluation, which has delayed their ability to fund<br />

network upgrades. In addition, the government in mid-2013<br />

instituted a tax on internet services, the additional cost of<br />

services being passed on to consumers. Mobile penetration<br />

remains very low in comparison to other African countries<br />

average, this allows for considerable opportunities for<br />

further growth. Internet market in Malawi is characterised

Esther De Valliere<br />

by mobile network operators and internet services providers,<br />

a national fibre backbone, and the country recently gained<br />

access to international submarine fibre optic cables for the<br />

first time when a transit link via neighbouring countries was<br />

completed. SimbaNET (part of Wananchi Group) has been<br />

contracted through funding from <strong>World</strong> Bank, to build and<br />

operate a fibre-optic cable linking Lilongwe the capital, where<br />

there is a virtual landing point to Tanzania for access to the<br />

sub-marine cables. These developments provide tremendous<br />

opportunities for UltiNetS in terms of accessibility of<br />

wholesale price and reliable international bandwidth<br />

resulting in low consumer cost.<br />

As a landlocked and densely populated country that suffers<br />

from widespread poverty, Malawi has one of the lowest rates<br />

of internet access in the world. Currently internet penetration<br />

in Malawi is at 6.8% against a mobile SIM penetration of 40%<br />

of the population with mostly the rural communities heavily<br />

underserved. However, the regulator has recently established<br />

a Universal Service Fund (USF) in an effort to accelerate<br />

internet and mobile services penetration in the rural areas.<br />

Malawi has a high demand for high speed internet in terms of<br />

multimedia applications especially in rural areas where fixed<br />

broadband connectivity is very limited or non-existent. While<br />

currently internet penetration is still very low there is still<br />

potential for growth beyond the current 6.8% based on linearly<br />

projected growth. The broadband internet market is very<br />

competitive in the urban areas compared to rural areas with<br />

almost five major broadband wireless access service providers.<br />

Quality of service (QoS) is very poor which results in<br />

extremely substandard quality of user experience (QoE) with<br />

lack of enforceable service level agreements (SLA). UltiNetS<br />

passionately believes with advanced development of wireless<br />

access technologies, harmonisation of legislative pieces and<br />

consolidation of global efforts to connect the unconnected at<br />

lower tariffs is achievable and should be a human right.<br />


One reason that discourages broadband service deployment<br />

in rural areas is the cost of recovery on investment.<br />

Basically, many operators do not see any business sense in<br />

the rural areas. Such an initial investment cost is largely<br />

the cost on base transceiver station (BTS) equipment and<br />

the associated client premise equipment (CPE) in the case<br />

of fixed broadband wireless service. However, following<br />

a global coordinated move for Digital Switchover (DSO)<br />

by discontinuing analogue TV transmission, the world was<br />

presented with a Digital Dividend offering real opportunities<br />

for wireless innovation. One such innovation opportunity<br />


146<br />

is the concept of dynamic spectrum sharing and white<br />

spaces created by Digital Dividend (470 - 690 MHz TV<br />

band).Television White Spaces (TVWS) technology has the<br />

potential to cover extended ranges or distances compared<br />

to traditional fixed broadband solutions due to its robust<br />

propagation characteristics. This implies fewer BTS and<br />

CPE infrastructure and hence reduced cost. Other reasons<br />

for the reduced cost on TVWS infrastructure deployment<br />

is the reduced power consumption on the TVWS BTS<br />

compared to traditional telecommunication equipment. These<br />

characteristics attract new approaches to fixed broadband<br />

connectivity in rural areas with high possibility to achieve<br />

universal access to ICT services.<br />

The term TV White Space spectrum refers to frequencies in<br />

the ultra-high frequency (UHF) television broadcast bands that<br />

are either unassigned or unused by existing broadcast or other<br />

licensees. Television broadcasts occupy designated channels in<br />

the UHF bands, with the assignment of channels to broadcasts<br />

varying by location. Not all the designated channels are in<br />

use for broadcast in any given market, giving rise to “White<br />

Spaces” in which a channel that is not used for broadcast<br />

may be available for other purposes. Unused TV channels<br />

are available in the UHF band, allowing for throughput of<br />

up to 30 Mbps. The reach is over 20 km even under nonline<br />

of sight (NLOS) conditions. TVWS radios in the UHF<br />

band can easily overcome hills and other obstacles while still<br />

providing broadband connectivity of over 3 Mbps bandwidth.<br />

NLOS technology is ideal for hilly areas and also allows the<br />

penetration of obstacles such as buildings and forest foliage<br />

as illustrated below, this sets TVWS technology apart from<br />

competing technologies using higher radio frequency bands.<br />

The cost and complexity associated with traditional<br />

wired broadband infrastructure makes TVWS the optimal<br />

solution for the significant broadband coverage gaps in<br />

the underserved areas. Even though market opportunities<br />

for fixed access in developed markets seem limited, TVWS<br />

technology can use the low deployment cost of wireless to<br />

provide wide range of next generation ICT solutions and<br />

quality broadband internet services in developing markets.<br />

UltiNetS is currently deploying a countrywide broadband<br />

infrastructure in for commercial use. On completion, the<br />

network will comprise more than 80 core nodes connected<br />

to speeds of up to 1.24 Gbps, more than 100 TVWS base<br />

stations sectors connecting in excess of 3.000 TVWS client<br />

nodes connected to almost 15.000 Wi-Fi access points and<br />

serving a user subscription of more than 1.2 million.<br />

UltiNetS took a decision to build its own wireless national<br />

backbone and tower locations across the country. “We’ve<br />

bought all that equipment, and we will be the only ISP with<br />

a countrywide footprint. Most operators have cherry picked<br />

the premium users. We’ve taken a different model, we want<br />

to blanket the country and offer services to the underserved<br />

consumers in much simplified and affordable fashion. We<br />

took a conscious decision to build our own towers because<br />

the current co-sitting fees (on other operator’s towers) are<br />

very high.” UltiNetS considers TVWS technology to possess<br />

the ability to change the current communications paradigm<br />

and give users the power to shape and control the processes<br />

of accessing and utilising the communication networks. The<br />

time has come for an integrating technology that simplifies<br />

broadband internet connection for all humanity. TVWS<br />

technology can provide a cost-effective broadband access<br />

solution in areas beyond the reach of traditional DSL and<br />

cable. Currently we have an operational link to a refugee<br />

camp 40 miles north of the capital Lilongwe in Dowa<br />

district. User connectivity is provided through TVWS and<br />

local Wi-Fi access points. According to UNHCR, the camp<br />

has almost 30,000 inhabitants so it is really a town in its<br />

own right. UltiNetS built, manages and operates the wireless<br />

access points covering part of the camp and are looking<br />

to increase in order to provide coverage to the wider local<br />

host community through the purchase of vouchers to enable<br />

access to the Internet.<br />


Malawi is an agro-based economy, meaning with increased<br />

connectivity and real-time access to localized data, TVWS<br />

can bring new efficiencies to this country’s agriculture<br />

industry. Farming drives the rural Malawian economy,<br />

contributing significantly to gross domestic product; it<br />

should be a priority to provide farmers across the country<br />

with all available resources and innovations to help them<br />

succeed domestically and internationally. Esther De Valliere<br />

an entrepreneur and founder of GreenXtraPower Ltd.,<br />

a company based in Malawi producing Moringa leaves<br />

and oil since 2011, is working with UltiNetS to deploy<br />

innovative TVWS-driven agriculture technology solutions.<br />

GreenXtraPower is an ecologically organic farm in district<br />

Nkhotakota with more than 35 workers on a 45 hectare land.<br />

The Moringa leaves and oil are purely organic, pesticide-free<br />

and handmade with care by local farmers and exported to<br />

many countries and is known for its anti-bacterial and antiinflammatory<br />

benefits. Integrating data-driven techniques<br />

in the Moringa farming will help boost productivity by<br />

increasing yields, reducing losses and cutting down input

costs. These techniques have seen sparse adoption owing to<br />

high costs of manual data collection and limited connectivity<br />

solutions. This project will build an end-to-end Internet of<br />

Things (IoT) platform for the farm enabling seamless data<br />

collection from various sensors, cameras and drones with<br />

very different bandwidth constraints. The solution will be<br />

designed to ensure system availability even in the face of<br />

power and Internet outages due to bad weather; scenarios<br />

that are fairly common for a farm. Cloud connectivity for the<br />

sensor data will enable persistent storage as well as long-term<br />

or cross-farm analytics.<br />

In deploying the GreenXtraPower farm with an IoT<br />

solution, we solve three key challenges. First, to enable<br />

connectivity within the farm, the solution leverages recent<br />

work in unlicensed TVWS to setup a high bandwidth link<br />

from the farmer’s home Internet connection to a novel<br />

weather aware solar powered IoT base station on the farm.<br />

A sensor, cameras, drones and smartphones will connect<br />

to this base station over Wi-Fi; this ensures high bandwidth<br />

connectivity within the farm. Second, Internet connection to<br />

the farm is typically weak, expensive or non-existent, making<br />

it challenging to transfer high bandwidth drone videos<br />

(multiple GBs) to the cloud and enable farm management to<br />

access accurate and timely market information. Furthermore,<br />

farms are prone to weather-related network outages that last<br />

weeks. Such system unavailability impedes a farmer’s ability<br />

to take adequate preventive actions, do inspections and leads<br />

to loss of valuable sensor data. The solution uses a PC at the<br />

farmer’s home as a gateway for the farm data while serving<br />

two purposes: a) it performs significant computation locally<br />

on the farm data to consolidate it into summaries that can be<br />

shipped to the cloud for long-term and cross-farm analytics,<br />

and b) the gateway is capable of independent operation to<br />

handle periods of network outage, thus leading to continuous<br />

availability for the farmer.<br />

Finally, while drones are one of the most exciting farm<br />

sensors today, they suffer from poor battery life. Getting<br />

aerial imagery for a farm requires multiple drone flights and<br />

a long wait time in between when the batteries are being<br />

charged. We use the fact that farms are typically very windy,<br />

since they are open spaces. Thus, we incorporate a novel<br />

path planning algorithm in the farm gateway that leverages<br />

wind to help the drone accelerate and decelerate, thereby<br />

conserving battery. This algorithm is motivated by how<br />

sailors use winds to navigate sailboats; the system will enable<br />

precision agriculture applications where farm inputs over<br />

different parts of the farm depending on the requirement<br />

are adapted. This technique requires a precision map with<br />

information about each location in the farm, for example,<br />

the soil temperature, soil moisture, nutrient levels, etc. To<br />

construct this precision map, existing solutions for precision<br />

agriculture require a dense deployment of in-ground sensors<br />

which is expensive (as well as cumbersome to manage) as<br />

the size of the farm monitoring grows. Unless these sensors<br />

are deployed densely within a farm, the estimated precision<br />

map can be very inaccurate. Since the gateway has access<br />

to both the drone videos and sensor data, it enables a novel<br />

low-cost mechanism that uses drone videos in combination<br />

with sparse ground sensors to generate precision maps for<br />

the farm. Beyond application in precision agriculture, the<br />

system can be used for other applications like monitoring<br />

temperature and humidity in storage spaces to ensure that<br />

the produce does not go bad, using cameras plugged at<br />

different locations, to monitor cow sheds, selling stations and<br />

integrating surrounding smallholder farmers etc. To the best<br />

of our knowledge, this will be the first integrated system of<br />

its kind in a sub-Saharan Africa region automating the entire<br />

value chain. The direct connection between smallholder<br />

farmers and clients will boost income of the farmers in<br />

Malawi while cutting transaction costs, intermediate<br />

administration and save time.<br />


Executive Chairman - Richard Chisala is a social<br />

technopreneur and highly qualified internetworking<br />

specialist with enormous experience working in senior<br />

technical positions at Accenture, Siemens, BBC, Intel<br />

Corporation and Middlesex University, UK, Designing<br />

Internetworking Infrastructures and Integrating<br />

Telematic Products and Services including the first UK<br />

privately owned fixed broadband wireless network in<br />

Cambridgeshire. Richard holds a BSc. in Electronics<br />

and Communications Engineering from Newport<br />

University, USA and MSc in Telematics from Middlesex<br />

University, UK. He is currently studying for an MBA in<br />

International Business at University of Cumbria in UK.<br />

Richard holds a number of Industry accreditation in<br />

Networking, Security and Storage technologies.<br />





“These are excellent pieces of work achieved by<br />

our nurses under the supervision of Sheba. It is<br />

gratifying to note that our nurses have distinguished<br />

themselves. I believe they are now ready to work at<br />

the University of Ghana Medical Centre. There's<br />

no doubt that the training has been excellent and<br />

I firmly believe that the knowledge and experience<br />

they have gained will be translated into action at<br />

UGMC when it starts. We want to be unique in<br />

Africa and we want to start right. Our nurses have<br />

got it. Congratulations to all who have contributed<br />

to this success story.”<br />

The opening of a new hospital is always an important<br />

occasion and a source of pride to any community and the<br />

establishment of an advanced Academic Medical Center in<br />

Africa is a cause for great celebration.<br />

The University of Ghana Medical Centre would, in the words<br />

of Former President (2012-2017) John Dramani Mahama, be<br />

“among the best centers for medical training in Africa”, and<br />

the impact on medical training would be enormous across the<br />

country. “The 650-bed facility is the first of its kind in West<br />

Africa and second to only a few in South Africa.”<br />

The construction of the $217 million medical center,<br />

initiated by the Government of Ghana and the University<br />

of Ghana, was undertaken by the Israeli company EDC.<br />

The International Division of the Sheba Medical Center,<br />

Tel Hashomer, Israel, was commissioned to develop and<br />

undertake training programs for the future senior staff of<br />

the hospital.<br />

this unique health project had the highest level of clinical<br />

and academic experience as well as a pioneering vision.<br />

The training programs were thus specifically designed<br />

to enhance their leadership and management skills<br />

in preparation for their future role as the foundation<br />

upon which the new hospital could integrate the latest<br />

technologies and medical equipment as an advanced<br />

functioning living medical center.<br />

The Sheba Medical Center (SMC) participated in the staff<br />

recruitment and selection phase and shortly afterwards,<br />

started receiving the newly recruited senior staff at SMC for<br />

hands-on training sessions in groups of 30 at a time.<br />

148<br />

From the very beginning it became abundantly clear that the<br />

senior staff of the hospital (managers, physicians, nurses,<br />

administrators) shared the dream of establishing the new<br />

hospital and making it the crème de la crème of Ghana’s<br />

hospitals. All those who were selected to participate in<br />

Professor Aaron Lawson

These phenomenal women and men left their families,<br />

country and patients for periods of 3 to 18 months, believing<br />

in their ability to make a significant difference to health<br />

care in Ghana. The training program undertaken by Sheba’s<br />

senior staff included presentations, lectures, workshops,<br />

clinical work, tours, medical literature reviews, conferences<br />

and more. The many subjects covered included: the principles<br />

of hospital management; management of care models:<br />

protocols, medical records and clinical standards; personnel<br />

management: employee recruitment and retention; conflict<br />

management skills; Implementation of new technologies<br />

and equipment; patient safety and risk management; IT in<br />

the medical field; principles of bioethics: health promotion<br />

messages and preparing for the new hospital.<br />

The Sheba Medical center is proud to act as a facilitator<br />

for this project, combining the many different elements of a<br />

hospital together and making them into a single viable entity.<br />

Most of the Ghanaian medical staff did not know each other<br />

before arriving at SMC; clinical, administrative and service<br />

standards were non-existent and each of the selected leaders<br />

had their own individual agenda, experience and habits.<br />

Over the training session period, very close and warm<br />

relationships developed between the Ghanaian and Sheba<br />

teams and importantly among the newly recruited Ghanaian<br />

staff. The feelings of the many nurses are best shown in the<br />

wonderful letter we received:<br />

“I deem it a great privilege to represent this group in thanking<br />

all who have made this training program a success. Our utmost<br />

gratitude goes to God almighty whose grace has been with us<br />

from the onset till today. We say a big thank you for accepting<br />

us and accommodating us during our clinical experience at<br />

the various departments. Our appreciation also goes to Dr.<br />

Ella Koren, Principal of the Ziva Tal Academic School of<br />

Nursing and your vibrant team, who took us in and made your<br />

premises available for some of our lectures, simulations and<br />

demonstrations, and above all giving us a pool of knowledge to<br />

tap from. Organising such an experience requires meticulous<br />

planning and execution with an eye for detail. We cannot<br />

thank you enough for all the care, love and support shown<br />

towards us in these past three months: the food, shelter, our<br />

numerous and diverse needs and demands and the tours.<br />

In the words of Oscar Wilde, “the smallest act of kindness is<br />

worth more than the grandest intention.”<br />

God bless you all. We will miss you.<br />

We look forward to seeing you in our new hospital in Ghana.”<br />

It was SMC's greatest privilege and honor to be part of the<br />

establishment of Ghana's new advanced academic medical<br />

center. Our interaction with the wonderful and talented<br />

personnel from Ghana was a truly enriching experience for<br />

the staff of the Sheba Medical Center and we look forward<br />

to a long lasting friendship and collaboration.<br />




“This synagogue will inspire our patients and<br />

provide them with the spiritual strength to heal.”<br />

Featuring an eye-catching combination of modern design<br />

and traditional motif, Sheba Medical Center unveiled its<br />

spectacular new “Beit Yehuda and Tamar” synagogue mid-<br />

May at a ceremony that attracted rabbinical luminaries,<br />

community leaders, noted philanthropists and the hospital’s<br />

executive staff.<br />

Prominent businessman and philanthropist, Lev Leviev,<br />

along with his wife Olga, who have contributed to several<br />

major projects at Sheba in the past, highlighted by the Olga<br />

and Lev Leviev Heart Center, spearheaded the renovation<br />

and expansion of the synagogue along with several other<br />

families, who donated funds to create the one-of-a-kind<br />

architectural marvel. Artistic high glass-stained windows, a<br />

ceiling diamond and a hanging Torah Ark in the shape of a<br />

Star of David accentuate the synagogue’s unique design by<br />

German painter and glass artist, Yvelle Gabriel, a Christian<br />

born in Mainz, who was deeply inspired by the work of<br />

Marc Chagall. Gabriel created the artistic design of the<br />

synagogue and was motivated by building spiritual bridges<br />

between Germany and Israel, between Christians and Jews.<br />

Chagall’s last work ever before his death were the amazing<br />

windows in the St. Stephan Cathedral in Mainz.<br />

Brimming with pride and excitement, Professor Yitshak<br />

Kreiss, director General of Sheba Medical Center said, “It<br />

is important that we treat our patients in a humane manner.<br />

This synagogue will inspire our patients and provide them<br />

with the spiritual strength to heal.”<br />

150<br />

Synagogue Opening - Ceremony<br />

© Sheba Medical Center

© Sheba Medical Center<br />

Mr. Leviev revealed, “This hospital is such a special place.<br />

I have seen people coming to the old, original synagogue,<br />

which did not have enough room to accommodate every<br />

patient, many of whom were attached to their infusion<br />

lines, crying during the prayers. It is my wish and hope<br />

that this new, larger synagogue with its amazing glass art<br />

will provide them the comfort they need to pray for mercy<br />

from the Almighty and recover quickly from their illnesses.”<br />

Synagogue, church or mosque – all houses of worship!<br />

At Sheba, the synagogue is open to all patients in need of<br />

spiritual support and comfort, regardless of origin, color<br />

and creed.<br />


Synagogue Opening - Chief Rabbi of Russia<br />

© Sheba Medical Center<br />

Synagogue Opening - Yvelle Gabriel and Prof. Yitshak Kreiss with Certificate<br />

<br />

© Sheba Medical Center<br />

152<br />

Synagogue Opening - Lev Leviev, Rabbi Yitzhak Youssef, Prof. Yitshak Kreiss<br />

© Sheba Medical Center





Prof. Yitshak Kreiss<br />

Director General of the Sheba Medical Center<br />

Israel’s National Hospital and City of Health since 1948<br />

For his direct involvement and devotion to<br />

aiding any human being in need of assistance, from all walks of life.<br />

For treating victims of conflicts and<br />

disasters all over the world.<br />

For his ground-breaking research which has helped<br />

to develop state-of-the-art natural disaster medical relief concepts,<br />

making him a global expert and leader in this category.<br />

For his steadfast contributions to current global medical challenges.<br />

June 14, 2018<br />

Barbara Dietrich<br />

<strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

Owner and CEO<br />




Jacqueline Couder (Director International Relations<br />

at VUB), Ami Azar (Project Coordinator Arabic<br />

language courses), Jan Cornelis (Academic Attaché<br />

CIDIC)<br />




In October 2016, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)<br />

launched a project on Arabic language learning for children<br />

aged 6-15 in Brussels. The children follow extra-curricular<br />

courses, four hours a week. The project was designed in<br />

response to the large migration influx, the need for new<br />

innovative answers to integration problems in the host<br />

countries and concern about the quality of teaching and<br />

teachers for Arabic language learning as a second language.<br />

We are convinced that teaching about important social<br />

themes and intercultural values in the children’s mother<br />

tongue or language of their country of origin, will help them<br />

in developing a strong positive image of their own identity.<br />

Language is indeed pivotal in this development. More<br />

languages mean better mutual understanding, tolerance and<br />

awareness.<br />

Children take their graduation certificate and gift from VUB.<br />

of our courses is the modern curriculum, independent of<br />

religion and illustrated with cartoon figures from Arabic<br />

and European origin. We just finished the first course<br />

book, tailormade for this type of classes. It is now ready for<br />

printing – the first of eight! The project received a financial<br />

contribution from the King Baudouin Foundation.<br />

154<br />

You can read more about the societal and individual<br />

offspring of the Arabic Language Classes in <strong>Diplomatic</strong><br />

<strong>World</strong> 54. Since 2016, the success has been impressive: the<br />

first year we had 164 children, now 300 with a waiting list<br />

of another 300 candidates. A unique selling proposition<br />

The main characters of the curriculum. (two from Arabic origin<br />

and two from European origin)<br />

On 5 May, VUB organised the graduation ceremony for<br />

graduates of the 2nd year of the Arabic Language Classes.<br />

Despite the competition with the Iris festivities in Brussels<br />

and open-door events in several schools, a total of 8<br />

buses packed with cheerful children and parents arrived<br />

on campus from the 4 locations of the Go School Group<br />

in Brussels where classes are organised. After a word of<br />

welcome by prof. Sonja Snacken, VUB Vice Rector for<br />

International Relations, the children danced and sang<br />

their hearts out, accompanied by the Wassel music band.<br />

H.E. Dr. Yousef Bataineh, Ambassador of the Hashemite<br />

Kingdom of Jordan in Belgium, H.E. Jasem Mohamed<br />

Albudaiwi, Ambassador of the State of Kuwait in Belgium,<br />

H.E. Mohammed Ameur, Ambassador of the Kingdom of<br />

Morocco in Belgium and H.E. Fadi Hajali, Ambassador of<br />

Lebanon in Belgium, addressed the lively audience with<br />

great enthusiasm.

The Kuwaiti ambassador Mr. Jassim M. Al-Bdaiwi, the Jordanian ambassador Mr. Yousef Bataineh, the Moroccan ambassador Mr. Mohammed Ameur,<br />

vice rector VUB for international relations Prof. Sonja Snacken, the wife of the Lebanese ambassador Mrs. Ksenia Hajali, the Lebanese ambassador<br />

Mr. Fadi Hajali, pro vice rector VUB Prof. Jan Cornelis, director international relations office Dr. Jacqueline Couder, Directeur Foundation<br />

& Fellowship Mrs. Isabelle Marneffe.<br />

The ambassadors awarded the certificates to the children, as<br />

well as some goodies from VUB and a t-shirt offered by H.E.<br />

Albudaiwi. The audience and the project team went ecstatic<br />

when H.E. Albudaiwi announced financial support for the<br />

project. The children were the center of attention, but the<br />

VUB students were not forgotten by H.E. Bataineh, who<br />

announced 5 internship places at the Embassy of Jordan.<br />

The members of the VUB International Relations office,<br />

the VUB experts in linguistics and the team of teachers<br />

are already preparing for the next schoolyear and the<br />

summertime will be devoted to further development of<br />

course materials. As of September 2018, Arabic language<br />

classes will also be broadcast by Radio AraBel for a broader<br />

societal outreach.<br />

The Kuwaiti ambassador Mr. Jassim M. Al-Bdaiwi<br />


“I was so pleased to take part in your team's endeavors<br />

who obviously exerted genuine efforts with sincerity and<br />

passion. I congratulate you all. I am certain this event and<br />

the program will be a milestone in the life of many graduate<br />

children. Many of them have been inspired to work for a<br />

brighter future.”<br />

Extra efforts are still necessary to reach sustainability<br />

of the project. The VUB Foundation<br />

www.vubfoundation.be is looking forward to receiving<br />

your suggestions: consultation of your network for<br />

potential donors, direct financial contributions or<br />

other creative ideas.<br />







Stop and sit for one minute before reading those<br />

words, and Imagine. Imagine that you are able<br />

to see the world from the inside out. If you can<br />

visualize that, picture you have the key for society<br />

transformation, evolution and revenue opportunities.<br />

The world is perceived by constant social development<br />

challenges. We are used to analising society deductively and<br />

not inductively and both are necessary. Too many children in<br />

Africa, too few children in Europe, overpopulated civilisations<br />

and scarce business mindset owners. The list continues.<br />

We can express opinions aloud and try to convince<br />

ourselves that the power remains only externally but<br />

the solid rock is formed internally, after which we move<br />

externally. Multilateral perspectives are a question of global<br />

survival. Propaganda marketing techniques are breakable at<br />

a little breeze of challenge. True professional relationships<br />

mean true results in the right timing and the positive<br />

momentum of corporate values.<br />

Like Mark Twain said, “Whenever you find yourself on the<br />

side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” After<br />

serving more than a hundred countries, there are two global<br />

laws of Business Prosperity that usually not all companies<br />

recognise immediately: it’s the financial value of Cultural<br />

Relationships Intelligence and Corporate Diplomacy. The<br />

foundations of the ability to build and maintain reputation<br />

with real business development while its protocol must be<br />

integrated into the daily lives of our organisations.<br />

To communicate well at the global professional ground is<br />

key to success, and will impact any future venture. Different<br />

stakeholders have different histories, values, backgrounds<br />

and even economic philosophies and those facts makes us<br />

question if there are social and professional boundaries of<br />

loss and gain in the balance sheet.<br />


The current businesses and social environments are<br />

multicultural, multi-generational and multilingual. This<br />

context will push any business and public institution to<br />

examine new models of communication around the world<br />

constantly. Businesses don’t want to wait, governments<br />

don’t want to speed up. This is what I call, a moment of<br />

impact, the way the choice is made. To wait when timing<br />

demands speed when the green light is there.<br />

156<br />

Conscious of diversity, we need to re-balance social,<br />

international and business relations, thus creating<br />

improvement and confidence at any position. Understanding<br />

corporate diplomacy importance starts with awareness, but<br />

moves to a question of consciousness.

Not as easy as it sounds because future failed<br />

organisations simply don’t invest in long-term<br />

relationships and are confused on the concepts of<br />

flexibility and opportunity.<br />

An Innovation in Diplomacy methodology within a solid<br />

corporate diplomacy strategy awards us a self-awareness of<br />

who we are and what we stand for in our corporate culture.<br />

“The empires of the future are empires of the mind,” said<br />

Winston Churchill, and it is valid today.<br />

Corporate Diplomacy and Cultural Intelligence are<br />

blistering topics inside of an organisation today. The job<br />

market demands men and women who are cross-culturally<br />

astute in dealing with the stakeholders to build a productive<br />

relationship — a relationship in which a stakeholder is<br />

helped to obtain his objectives while delivering on added<br />

value. In any given situation, knowledge of those skills is a<br />

talent that can be learned.<br />

Business success in international markets is more than just<br />

being the greatest in the known bubble. It requires building<br />

bonds of understanding within and across distinct strategic<br />

communication philosophies. Therefore, it is a central<br />

instrument for today’s official, manager or professional<br />

ready for worldwide opportunities.<br />

If we are thinking about a big investment decisions of<br />

100 million euros or small investments of 10 million,<br />

firms follow business models, indicators and analyses<br />

that were previous defined. When we define corporate<br />

diplomacy methodologies as add-on indicators, we are not<br />

talking about vague introductions or non-valued business<br />

development actions but quantifiable results through<br />

partnerships and reputation measurement tools that clearly<br />

show the financial and social impact in the workplace.<br />

Ines Pires<br />

to create the ecosystem that helps to channel and quantify<br />

the market opportunities and avoid mistakes that cost<br />

organisations millions of euros by failing to develop<br />

intelligence-care with external stakeholders.<br />

Now stand up, imagine you can see the world from outside<br />

in. If you can visualize both pictures now “inside out” and<br />

“outside in” you have the key for society transformation,<br />

evolution, revenues opportunities but above all to impact<br />

others.<br />

In her new book, Corporate Diplomacy, The ISPD+<br />

Innovation in Diplomacy Group founder, Ines Pires<br />

advises public and private organisations to build the<br />

capability to communicate strategically to develop<br />

long lasting alliances.<br />

We update the momentum and monitoring progress<br />

of initiatives such as business innovation and state<br />

sustainability with whatever indicators they are tracking.<br />

Corporate diplomacy strategies linked with cultural<br />

intelligence figure out how external stakeholders link into<br />

the existing indicators and how we can monitor those addons<br />

and improve upon those existing indicators.<br />

To strengthen innovative strategic communication in<br />

organisations we must make the structural changes to adapt<br />

to new markets in new realities. Relationships are built and<br />

maintained based on reputation and trust. Partnerships<br />

among sectors, industries and philosophies will continue<br />

ABOUT<br />

Ines Pires is an economist, human interactions<br />

scholar and entrepreneur. Due to her vision to fill<br />

the gap between cultural intelligence learning across<br />

industries and business development results, she is<br />

an interactions innovator. She has different awards<br />

and advised Forbes 500 corporations, governments<br />

of more than 100 countries and she is a published<br />

author. She is the founder of the ISPD Group and the<br />

global network Innovation in Diplomacy.<br />

https://youtu.be/z5UUyHyrbDU<br />






The Automobile Club de Monaco is a motoring club<br />

that organizes the Monte Carlo Rally, a car race<br />

that starts at points all over Europe and converges<br />

in Monte Carlo. Its first edition took place in 1911,<br />

starting from 11 cities in Europe including<br />

St. Petersburg.<br />

The Monte Carlo Rally was ordered by Prince Albert I<br />

of Monaco, as an important means of demonstrating<br />

improvements and innovations to automobiles. On January<br />

21st, 1911, 23 cars set out for the first Monte Carlo Rally<br />

from 11 different locations. The rally was judged on driving,<br />

the elegance of the car, passenger comfort and the condition<br />

in which it arrived in the principality. Andrei Nagel was the<br />

fastest driver of the race that started in St. Petersburg.<br />

The early days of the motoring sport in Russia began<br />

in 1898 when the first races took place just outside of<br />

St. Petersburg. In 1902, the country’s first and most<br />

influential automobile association, the St. Petersburg<br />

Automobile Club (or “SPAK”), was founded. It promoted<br />

the automobile culture by holding races, exhibitions and<br />

cooperating with newspapers and magazines devoted to the<br />

auto industry.<br />

158<br />

Tsar Nicholas II<br />

One of SPAK’s founders was Andrei Nagel, the most<br />

famous automobile journalist and car racer in Imperial<br />

Russia. He was somewhat of a celebrity, with fans referring<br />

to him as “a man who eats distances and snacks on tires.”<br />

Nagel not only organized and took part in car races<br />

and exhibitions, but also participated in international<br />

competitions in Europe. For example, in 1911 he beat 87

competitors and finished first in his Russo-Balt car in<br />

the St. Petersburg to Monaco rally that crossed 3.2<strong>57</strong><br />

kilometres in 195 hours 23 minutes. For his victory Nagel<br />

received a state prize from Tsar Nicholas II. In 1902, Nagel<br />

also founded the first magazine devoted to the automobile<br />

industry in Russia named Automobile.<br />

During the first Rally, the weather conditions were extreme<br />

during the journey in Central Europe to the Principality<br />

of Monaco. The racers went via Riga (where they were<br />

chased by a pack of wolves and were nearly devoured),<br />

Königsberg, Berlin, Heidelberg and Belfort. The weather<br />

only softened from Lyon to reach Avignon. Nagel and his<br />

companion Mikhailov arrive as first competitors in the<br />

Principality by following the road from Berlin. The total<br />

distance was 3.2<strong>57</strong> kilometres, with a peak speed of 167<br />

km/h.<br />

Nagel and Mikhailov were ranked ninth in the Rally<br />

overall. Their car was decorated with flags for their victory<br />

tour and at the princely palace they received the Longest<br />

Course Award, and that of the resistance. The Imperial<br />

Automobile Club gave a gala evening where they were<br />

offered a bonus of 600 francs at the time. Upon Nagel’s<br />

return, the Tsar awarded him membership of the Order of<br />

St. Anne.<br />

Prince Albert I<br />





160<br />

What associations come to your mind when you<br />

hear the "International Economic Forum"?<br />

Probably, like most of us, you imagine presidents, bankers,<br />

owners of the largest corporations, in a word – the<br />

authorities and the powerful ones who gather to solve<br />

global problems and tasks at the highest level. And of<br />

course, the media and journalists who are rushing to tell<br />

everything most important and significant on air, not<br />

missing a single detail. Unwittingly or not, we are watching<br />

this major event in the global economy on TV screens, in<br />

newspapers and magazines, on the Internet. Not always<br />

understanding the meaning of what is happening, but all<br />

hoping for a change for the better, we follow the Forum<br />

with interest, where so many influential people from all<br />

over the world are gathered and huge sums of money are<br />

spent. However, this is what we see from the outside. How<br />

does the Forum look from within, and who are those<br />

members of the Forum?<br />

I was lucky to participate in such a project called “The<br />

Peace Rally’, which is a part of the program of the<br />

St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2018. After<br />

receiving an invitation from the organizer of the rally and<br />

the President of the Future of the Motherland Foundation,<br />

I started this exciting journey. Without any exaggeration,<br />

I would like to express my gratitude to the organizer of<br />

the Peace Rally and the president of the Future of the<br />

Kiury Usmanov, David Datuna, Denny Greve and Jüri Tamm<br />

Denny Greve and David Datuna<br />

© Barbara Dietrich<br />

Motherland Foundation Kiury Usmanov, not so much for<br />

the invitation, but for his active participation and charitable<br />

projects contributing to the unification of Europe and<br />

Russia.<br />

At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, I<br />

found myself surrounded by famous people with whom<br />

I could communicate without cameras and restrictions.<br />

However, before I talk about those with whom I had the<br />

rare opportunity to talk, I want to note the very atmosphere<br />

of the event. We must not forget that the Peace Rally was<br />

first held in May 2017, and was attended by representatives<br />

of the European aristocracy and business elite of the Old<br />

<strong>World</strong> on personal rarity cars. The rally was held under the<br />

slogans: "Europe loves Russia", "Europe supports Russia"<br />

and "We are together". Participants of the rally passed<br />

through the territory of 11 states of Europe, appealing<br />

for peace and cooperation with Russia. We may say that<br />

the peacekeeping mission that began in 2017 found its<br />

continuation in 2018. Now the retro cars were joined by<br />

sports cars, and in addition to representatives of aristocratic<br />

circles and business elite, famous figures of show business<br />

took part in the rally. The motto of the Peace Rally 2018<br />

was "The countries of the West and Russia have a common

peacekeeping road". All of this had reflection in the spirit of<br />

the event, which was held in a warm, friendly atmosphere.<br />

Despite the fact that participants of the Peace Rally were<br />

from many countries, there was absolutely no stiffness in<br />

communication.<br />

Of course, one should recognize the great merit of the<br />

organizers of the project in this. Despite the rich program,<br />

everything went very smoothly and clearly. We did not have<br />

to wait or suddenly rush somewhere, almost everything was<br />

thought through to the smallest detail. Perhaps, that is why<br />

the participants had plenty of time for informal friendly<br />

communication, which, in my opinion, is the key to further<br />

successful business relations. Of course, we were very lucky<br />

with the weather – warm sunny May in St. Petersburg added<br />

success to the event.<br />

Among the world-famous people invited to participate in the<br />

Peace Rally with whom I had the opportunity to talk I want<br />

to highlight Jüri Tamm, Olympic athlete, Honorary Consul<br />

of Monaco in Estonia, Vice President of the National<br />

Olympic Committee of Estonia, and David Datuna, an<br />

American artist. Sports and art have long gone hand in<br />

hand in strengthening peace and friendly relations not only<br />

between people, but also between countries. Therefore, it<br />

was quite logical that I met these people on the Peace Rally.<br />

According to numerous publications David Datuna is one of<br />

the most sold and expensive artists in the world. He became<br />

famous for his works made with a unique technique. With<br />

the help of modern technologies, diligence and brilliant<br />

ideas, he proved that despite ethnic and cultural separation,<br />

the whole world is bound by a chain of outstanding<br />

personalities and actions. The flags of nearly 80 countries,<br />

created by him for several years, help us to understand how<br />

far his work is spreading and that it really has no limits.<br />

Kiury Usmanov<br />

© Kiury Usmanov<br />

<br />

But also because the very concept of his art, emphasizing<br />

the individuality of any object, makes us think and look at<br />

something that is familiar to us in a completely new way.<br />

In my opinion, the Peace Rally, which is a part of the<br />

St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, is also trying<br />

to change the stagnant stereotypes and offer a softer type<br />

of dialogue between countries. As a representative of the<br />

Kingdom of Norway, it was very important for me to make<br />

my own small contribution to this project, since diplomacy,<br />

the establishment of friendly and mutually respectful<br />

relations in all spheres of activity are the fundamental<br />

principles of Norwegian society. This event has left an<br />

indelible mark on my heart, with warmth I remember<br />

a few days spent on the Peace Rally in communication<br />

with people who really worry about the future and are<br />

contributing to the strengthening of peace.<br />

When I found out that David Datuna was invited to<br />

the Peace Rally, I certainly had a desire to talk to him<br />

personally. How surprised I was when after personal<br />

communication this famous artist turned out to be a very<br />

sincere, open person, without a drop of arrogance, a man<br />

who is really passionate for his job. Almost immediately,<br />

I realized that if one of the modern representatives of the<br />

creative elite could be invited to the Peace Rally, this person<br />

should only be him, David Datuna. Not only because his<br />

work is permeated with modern technologies and meets the<br />

goals of the event itself. After all, the Peace Rally has farreaching<br />

goals, and therefore needs the newest technologies.<br />

<br />

© Barbara Dietrich<br />



© Barbara Dietrich<br />



30 May 2018<br />

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BMD1800215 - <strong>Diplomatic</strong> sales_2017 - Serie 5_270x210_BEUK.indd 1 14/02/18 16:55

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