From February 17 to 19, 2017, the 53rd edition of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) will bring together hundreds of decision-makers in the realm of international security at Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich. Under the chairmanship of Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, more than 500 participants will debate critical security challenges, including the troubling state of the international order and the rise of illiberalism around the world.
The conference agenda focuses on the future of transatlantic relations and NATO after the election of Donald Trump, the state of EU cooperation in security and defense matters, the Ukraine crisis and relations with Russia, the war in Syria, and the security situation in the Asia-Pacific, including in the Korean peninsula. Participants will also discuss terrorism, information warfare, as well as major threats to global health and climate security.
“We are confronted with an international security environment that is arguably more volatile than at any point since World War II,” MSC Chairman Ambassador Ischinger said. “The liberal order many of us have taken for granted is increasingly threatened from within and without. That is why it is so important to find ways to defend and strengthen the fundamental values of the West, and the institutions of a rules-based international system.”
Hundreds of international decision-makers expected
Among this year’s confirmed participants are the new UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Council President Donald Tusk, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and the Presidents of Poland, Ukraine, and Afghanistan, Andrzej Duda, Petro Poroshenko and Mohammad Ashraf Ghani. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orbán, and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi have also confirmed their participation, as have Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the Foreign Ministers of Saudi Arabia and Iran, Adel Al-Jubeir and Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. Participants also include Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the Foreign Ministers of France and Great Britain, Jean-Marc Ayrault and Boris Johnson, and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. The President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, and Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth will also be in Munich, as will Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and singer, co-founder of ONE and activist Bono.
Confirmed representatives of the German Government include the next Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière and Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller. The Bundestag will be represented by more than 60 parliamentarians from all parties.
While the composition of the US delegation has not yet been finalized, all signs point to a particularly strong participation of both the new administration as well as Congress. Several members of the US cabinet, including the Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, General James Mattis and General John Kelly, have already confirmed their participation. The Congressional Delegation is led by Senators John McCain and Sheldon Whitehouse and includes more than a dozen members.
“Since 1963, transatlantic relations have been at the core of the Munich Security Conference. Just a few weeks after the inauguration of the new U.S. President, the MSC is an important opportunity to discuss how Europe and the U.S. can continue to work together in an increasingly challenging international environment,” Ambassador Ischinger stressed. “I hope that we will not mince words and speak honestly about our disagreements as well as about our common interests and values.”
Numerous diplomatic meetings and events outside the main conference halls
As always, the debates in the main conference halls will be accompanied by hundreds of bilateral diplomatic and business meetings as well as complementary events. Many renowned international institutions and organizations, including Chatham House, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Stiftung Mercator, or the Atlantic Council, are using the MSC platform to host discussion sessions and workshops on current aspects of the international security agenda, present new research and bring together key decision-makers in particular fields.
In addition to events limited to conference participants, there will also be events open to the general public, including a TEDxSalon on (In)security, a three-day literature series with Nobel prize laureates as well as a town hall meeting on post-truth politics.
About the Munich Security Conference
Over the past five decades, the Munich Security Conference (MSC) has become a key annual gathering for the international “strategic community.” Since its foundation in 1963 as “Internationale Wehrkunde-Begegnung,” the MSC has been an independent forum dedicated to promoting peaceful conflict resolution and international cooperation and dialogue. In addition to the annual flagship conference in February, the MSC regularly convenes other high-profile events in capitals around the world.
The Munich Security Conference would like to thank the German government, the government of the Free State of Bavaria, the city of Munich and its many partners from the public and private sector for their support. Without them, hosting such a complex event would not be possible.