About the Program
Meeting Russia is a unique public diplomacy program for aspiring leaders. It brings together bright individuals of diverse backgrounds: some are coming from academia, analytical centers, media and private sector, whereas others represent governmental institutions of their respective countries.

The three-day program held in Moscow focuses on Russia's relations with the United States and the European Union, and more generally addresses Russian foreign policy issues. Participants are given a unique opportunity to get a grasp on Russia's internal dynamics and approaches to positioning itself internationally through meetings with senior officials, top experts and by exchanging views with the peers.

Meeting Russia seeks to facilitate productive dialogue among the new generation of leaders and draw attention to the critical points in Russia's relations with the United States and the European Union.
The program is organized and promoted by Creative Diplomacy, a Russian NGO founded in 2010 and working in the fields of soft power and public diplomacy.

Creative Diplomacy runs public diplomacy training programs for young Russian professionals, hosts public events and helps raise awareness of Russia's stance on various international issues.

Since its launch in 2017, the program has been sponsored through grants by the Russian National Charity Fund (2017), the Presidential Grand Foundation (2018, 2019) and the Gorchakov Fund (currently).

Voices of Meeting Russia
Voices of Meeting Russia - Reid Standish (USA)
Voices of Meeting Russia - Miriam Hinthorn (USA)
Voices of Meeting Russia - Lisa Gurth (Germany)
Voice of Meeting Russia - Lauren Rogers (USA)
Voices of Meeting Russia - Dale Bass (USA)
Voices of Meeting Russia - Oliver Roy Pelletier (Canada)
Past Programs
Meeting Russia was first held in February 2017 with 19 participants from eight countries (Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Serbia, Spain, United States).

In fall 2017, Creative Diplomacy promoted the program in New York, Washington, D.C., Brussels and Berlin.

In March 2018 the program was held for the second time and brought together 24 participants from 10 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States).

In March 2019 Meeting Russia was held in Moscow for the third time. Twenty one participants from the United States, European countries, Canada and China visited Moscow to learn about the Russian perspective on international affairs.

The participants of the program visited a number of government agencies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Moscow, the State Duma, the Eurasian Economic Commission and some research organizations, such as the Valdai Club and the Russian International Affairs Council. Meeting Russia also arranged museum tours to the Jewish Museum, the Tolerance Center and the Tretyakov Gallery, allowing the participants to better familiarize themselves with the Russian culture.

On the last day of the program, the international participants were joined by their Russian peers for a heated debate over the Russia–U.S. relations, touching upon the crisis of political leadership, new generation of leaders and prospects for public diplomacy.

In December 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Meeting Russia was held online for the first time. A group of young foreign experts from the U.S., Germany, Canada, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Greece and Spain were eager to learn more about Russia.

The program participants met with prominent specialists in various fields: the Russian foreign policy orientation, international security, national economy, challenges in cyberspace. The special invited speaker was Maria Zakharova, Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. The top official addressed the participants with some key current issues.
Former participants
Participants' feedback
"Meeting Russia is an enlightening experience for anyone interested in the inner workings of Russian foreign policy. All speakers, whether experts or policymakers, were highly qualified in their relevant field of speciality and, above all, were very forthcoming to the participants' questions. Although this year the program was conducted online due to the pandemic, it definitely exceeded my initial expectations. It should not be omitted to mention that the coordinators did a great job in organizing the event and in selecting a great set of speakers. I look forward to meeting the co-participants and the coordinators in Moscow next year."
Alexis Lekakis Kerkyraios, MR2020
"Meeting Russia provides a platform to engage in an active and frank discussion with Russian experts on foreign policy and international affairs. Participants from 'the West' need to prepare to be confronted with views that will surprise and maybe even offend them. That, however, is the reality of relations between Russia and 'the West' today. For anyone who wishes to work on the challenge of this geopolitical divide with Russia, this program can be a valuable opportunity: not only to hear Russian views first-hand and better understand them but also to challenge them and test one's own arguments."
Randolf Carr, MR2020
"Meeting Russia is a very well organized program that gives you the opportunity to engage with experts and leaders to discuss Russian Foreign Policy, addressing important subjects relevant to today's international politics. It is highly informative, covers broad topics and brings young leaders to analyze foreign policy issues, making it a valuable experience. Definitely a program I would recommend to someone that is interested in understanding the different political perspectives between Russia and the West."
Hector Cantu, MR2020
"Even though the pandemic times have completely changed the event's format, Meeting Russia 2020 that I attended this year, was conducted and lead professionally and on a high level. The participants could notice important and knowledgeable guests such as Ivan Timofeev and Maria Zakharova have really taken their time to be with us and debate on the Russian Foreign Policy issues. I especially liked the fact that everyone had a chance to speak up and ask a question connected with the topic while also received a sufficient answer. The knowledge and views that all the participants got at the event cannot be acquired in any other way than by a creative dialog with other side and the event gave us a unique opportunity to get familiar with Russian views on policy issues that are so differently presented through Western media.

Different format deprived us of networking and getting to know with other participants, but I am sure we will have more than enough time for that next year, when we gather together once again, this time live, as Alumni."
Peter Levstek, MR2020
"A rare and unparraled opportunity to engage directly with the makers and shapers of Russian policy, both foreign and domestic. In a short condensed time, PICREADI organized the most diverse lineup of senior Russian policymakers, think tanks (both liberal and establishment), foreign experts, and trade and conflict specialists I have ever encountered during my years of Russian studies. Truly depthful content- I still can't believe I got to talk directly with the Hon. Maria Zakharova! This has been a surreal experience, and the knowledge and insights I've gained over the past week will professionally elevate both me and the organization I am representing."
Parv Aggarwal, MR2020
"I originally applied to this program as a way to expand my horizons and challenge myself to learn about — and better understand — an often maligned country. Indeed this experience showed me a different side of Russia, one where its citizens — like in any other country — want to thrive and advance the progress of its nation. The speakers were of diverse views and came with a great wealth of knowledge. I would highly recommend Meeting Russia for any young professional aiming to learn more about Russia and their geopolitical views.

Many hurdles remain ahead for US and Russia. Nonetheless, I think everyone would agree that a positive and respectful relationship is the most beneficial way moving forward, just not for these two nations, but the world at large."
Carlos Monteverde, MR2018
"I believe that the importance to keep and improve the dialogue between Russia and the West is now stronger than ever. It is so easy to judge when not knowing each other. Meeting Russia is an excellent program, which attacks exactly these issues by bringing together young leaders from Europe and the US to discuss foreign policy with Russian leaders. The results are new insights and a better understanding of the Russian perception of international issues."
Patricia Seige, MR2018
"I was very excited to participate in the 'Meeting Russia' program and I left with an experience that went far beyond my expectations. I feel that the coordinators did a great job on picking the participants and the speakers for the various events. I traveled around Moscow to various venues with an exceptional group of young professionals who were just as enlightening as the experts and government officials that we met. Not only did we discuss many different topics, but we also learned from different perspectives as the coordinators did very well in choosing speakers that often shared different views. Anyone who has an interest in Russia will greatly benefit from this program."
Jesse Metzger, MR2018
"Meeting Russia is a unique opportunity for young European and American professionals to get a sense of Russia's foreign policy from a first-hand experience. The discussions among a diverse group of participants, Russian officials, think tank experts and journalists create an intellectually stimulating environment to challenge one's views and perceptions of the world."
Denica Yotova, MR2018
"Meeting Russia was an outstanding opportunity to engage with other young professionals in interesting debates about Russia's foreign policy. The meetings were insightful and both the organising team and the group of participants were great. Plus, Moscow is always worth a visit!"
Eleonora Tafuro Ambrosetti, MR2018
"Le programme Meeting Russia est une opportunité unique de dialoguer avec plusieurs experts de haut-niveau qui travaillent sur le monde russe/eurasien et d'aborder des questions fondamentales. Bénéficier de la perspective russe est un moyen de rapprochement entre les USA/UE et la Russie/Chine et permet de comprendre les tensions entre les grandes puissances sous un angle unique et pragmatique."

"The Meeting Russia program is a unique opportunity to have a dialogue with many high-level experts specializing in Russia/Eurasia and to address fundamental issues. Knowing the Russian perspective can be beneficial when thinking about means for rapprochement between the United States/EU and Russia/China and it helps understand tensions between great powers in a unique and pragmatic way".
Michael Eric Lambert, MR2018
"This program provides an unparalleled opportunity to get rare and privileged access to institutions and experts inside Moscow that will help anyone further their understanding of Russian foreign policy issues, including those who have lived and worked in Russia before, as well as those who study and analyse the country's affairs from afar. The range of meetings, speakers and participants included in the program guarantees a lively and healthy dialogue around important geopolitical issues. I came away with clearer insight into topics I already had some knowledge of, and new insight into topics I should've known more about. An excellent and very valuable experience."
Rosanna Lockwood, MR2018
"Participating in this programme was a great experience since we were given an insight into a quite uncharted area of foreign policy — the Russian view of many highly debated issues and its argumentation.

Meeting Russia is a high — quality programme which is well — suited for academics, researchers, NGO's and other activists organisations which have an interest in diplomacy, politics and public policy. It is well — organized, nicely structured and gives you a unique opportunity to discuss burning public policy issues with relevant Russian decision and policymakers as well as international relations experts and analysts. I am definitely very grateful for being a participant in such a thought — provoking program!"
Darija Maric, MR2017
"At a time where the frosty rhetoric on a political level alienates Russia and 'the West', programmes and exchanges such as this are crucial to dispel mutual demonizations and stigmatizations. The political alienation must not jeopardize societal exchanges and people-to-people connections, the latter of which contribute to better understandings of each others' societies, histories, and viewpoints. Especially when we disagree on norms and policies: We better talk with each other than about each other".
Moritz Pieper, MR2017
"Meeting Russia program provides a unique opportunity to meet high-profile Russian experts, military officers and politicians one would otherwise not have the chance to talk to. Discussions have been open and frank. Such events are crucially important in order to cut through stereotypes and get to know Russian policy discussions".
Alexander Graef, MR2017
"I thought the agenda was excellent — the meetings presented a good variety of diverse positions in every sense: a balanced mix of governmental, NGO, academic, and commercial organizations and a broad spectrum of political viewpoints".
Emma Elizabeth Dorst, MR2017
"The Meeting Russia program provided us with highly thought-provoking sessions that allowed us to think more clearly and critically about world order and Russia's place in international politics — a highly informative insight into Russian foreign policy discourse and thought. At a time of rapid global geopolitical change, this program should prove invaluable to anyone who wishes to participate".
Zachary Paikin, MR2017
Follow-up Publications
During the program we introduce participants to the broad foreign policy community of Russia, including governmental officials, legislators and experts.

These organizations hosted Meeting Russia discussions in 2019.
Partners of Meeting Russia in 2017-2018