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The XXI century will be a сentury either of total all-embracing crisis or of moral and spiritual healing that will reinvigorate humankind. It is my conviction that all of us - all reasonable political leaders, all spiritual and ideological movements, all  faiths - must help in this transition to a triumph of humanism and justice, in making the XXI century a century of a new human renaissance.

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28 November 2011

The Waves of Change in the Mediterranean: The New Policy Forum Conference in Montpellier, France

On November 24-25, 2011, in Montpellier in southern France, the New Policy Forum (The Gorbachev Forum) and the Languedoc-Roussillon Region held the international conference themed “Policymakers’ Responsibility in a Changing World. The Mediterranean: The Waves of Change”.

The conference gathered together more than 60 political figures, experts, journalists and civil society leaders from over 30 countries in the Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, the United States, Latin America and Asia. Representatives of the Mediterranean Region and Arab countries, including members of the opposition political movements and groups actively involved in the recent events in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt that led to the downfall of dictatorial regimes in those countries featured prominently among those present at the conference.

The conference was opened by President of the Languedoc-Roussillon Region Christian Bourquin. The Founder and President of the New Policy Forum Mikhail Gorbachev made extensive opening remarks setting the tone for the conference (see the link below)

The themes discussed at the conference plenary sessions and panels included the origins and initial outcomes of the “Arab Spring”, the relationship between Islam and democracy, the strategic implications of the recent political developments and shifts in the Northern Africa for the international situation in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and the role the European Union and the international community could play to encourage and promote democratic transformations triggered by the developments in these regions.

Particular attention was paid to the positive prospects and inherent political risks linked to the current transitional stage in international politics characterized by a truly Global Political Revolution started 20 years ago by Perestroika in the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

In addition to the discussion of current important events taking place in Northern Africa, the conference in Montpellier allowed its participants to continue a wider discussion of the prospects for the development of a Dialogue between the World’s Great Civilizations born in the Mediterranean that started at the Forum’s events held in Granada, Spain, and Sofia, Bulgaria. This discussion will be taken further at the New Policy Forum’s events scheduled for 2012.

More details of the contents of the discussions that took place at the conference in Montpellier and the texts of presentations made by its participants will be shortly posted on the websites of the New Policy Forum and the Gorbachev Foundation.

Mikhail Gorbachev’s Opening Remarks at the New Policy Forum Conference in Montpellier, France, November 24, 2011

Mikhail Gorbachev’s Closing Remarks at the New Policy Forum Conference in Montpellier, France, November 25, 2011