2013 John Smith Fellowship Programme

28/06/2013

On 7th June we welcomed our 17 new John Smith Fellows from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Turkmenistan and Ukraine to the 2013 Fellowship Programme.  

Edinburgh

This year JSMT worked in partnership with the University of Edinburgh’s Academy of Government to deliver the first week of the Fellowship Programme in Scotland. After an introductory weekend which included teambuilding with LAMDA’s Paul Jamieson and a very informative tour of Edinburgh city centre, Fellows engaged in a week of workshops, visits and policy debates.

Professor Charlie Jeffrey from the Academy of Government opened the week with a lecture on the Scottish Constitutional debate, outlining the history of the current devolution model and the prospects for the 2014 referendum. This was followed two days of sessions looking issues which included; Engaging Citizens in Policy Debates with Oliver Escobar from So Say Scotland, Governing with Scarce Resources with Elenor Emberson – Director of Financial Strategy in the Scottish Government and Re-organising Policing in Scotland with Nick Fyfe – Director of the Scottish Institute for Policing Research. On Tuesday evening the Fellows attended a formal dinner hosted by the British Council Scotland at the Balmoral hotel.

Charlie Jeffrey

Charlie Jeffrey from the Academy of Government takes Fellows
           through the Scottish Constitutional debate

On Wednesday the Fellows were introduced to the Scottish legal system with a tour of the Scottish Court of Session by Lord McCluskey. The afternoon saw the first JSMT Policy Debate, Hamza Yousaf MSP presented the keynote address on Scotland Today as Shaped by its History. This was followed by a panel debate on Scotland’s Referendums with Stephen Noon (Yes Scotland), Brian Taylor (BBC Scotland), Jeremy Purvis (Devo-Plus), Laura Cram (University of Edinburgh). In the evening the Fellows visited Bute House, home to the First Minister of Scotland, where they were able to meet First Minister Alex Salmond.

Fellows visited the Scottish Parliament on Thursday where they observed First Minister’s Questions. In the afternoon, they returned the University of Edinburgh for part two of the JSMT policy debates with a keynote presentation by Magnus Linklater on the UK Today as Shaped by its History with the panel discussion looking at Integrity in Public Life with Joyce Macmillan (the Scotsman), Daniel Hough (Director of Sussex Centre for the Study of Corruption), and Robert Black (University of Edinburgh).

Away Day and Weekend Retreat

On Friday 14th June the Fellows went on an excursion to visit Polmont Young Offenders Institute, Scotland’s national holding facility for Young Offenders aged between 16-21 years. The visit included a tour of the facilities and a Q & A with officers and prison staff.

Police HQ

                   Fellows at Tuliallan Castle, Scotland's Police Headquarters

A highlight of the Programme was the weekend retreat to Glen House and Traquair House in the Scottish Borders. Fellows were given time to relax and reflect on their action plans and career progression as well as engaging with Jeremy Purvis and Mark Muller QC (JSMT Trustee) on a more a theoretical issue of what the concept of World Government might look like in the future. The visit concluded with a wonderful dinner with hosts of Traquair House Mark Muller QC and his wife Catherine Stuart.

Traquair Toast

Toasting at Traquair, enjoying dinner with Mark Muller QC (JST Trustee)

Attachments

From Monday 17th to Thursday 20th June, this year’s John Smith Fellows undertook a programme of individual attachments tailored to each Fellow’s area of expertise. These attachments are an opportunity to shadow and view at close hand the work of organisations and experts working in similar fields in the UK, and have a significant influence in shaping Fellows’ action plans and future work in their home countries. Below are selected examples of Fellows’ attachment programmes.

Russian Fellow Sergey Sirotenko is the Sports Centre of Excellence Leader at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) Russia. His Action Plan focuses on incorporating legacy planning into preparations for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. In order to inform this work, Sergey met with a range of key organisations managing the social legacy of the London 2012 Olympics including:
The Olympic & Paralympic Legacy Unit (based in the Cabinet Office), Join In, the London Legacy Development Corporation, and Sport England.

Gvantsa Kvinikadze, a Project Manager for the NATO Support Agency (NSPA) in Georgia, aims with her Action Plan to establish a new forum for defence policymaking and discussion. To this end, she met with key individuals and organisations in the Defence policy sphere in the UK, including: Transparency International, the Parliamentary Defence Select Committee, the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, and Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP (Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee).

Talant Sultanov is currently the Director of the National Institute for Strategic Studies (NISS) in the Kyrgyz Republic; his action plan has as its focus the development of financial markets in that country. A significant component of this aim is to obtain a Sovereign Credit Rating for Kyrgyzstan and to this end, Talant had meetings with each of the ‘Big Three’ Credit Ratings agencies – Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch – while in London. Talant’s other attachments included meetings at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to discuss financial sector reforms, and UK Trade & Investment to discuss strategies for promoting foreign investment.

As Head of the International Security Division of the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Cuc’s Action Plan focuses on progress towards resolving the Transnistrian Conflict. Vladimir’s attachments allowed him to view a close quarters the various models of devolved government in the United Kingdom, having meetings at the Parliaments and Assemblies in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. He additionally met key parties working towards the Scottish Independence referendum in 2014, including Yes Scotland, Better Together, and the Electoral Commission.

London Programme

Fellows came together again on Friday 21st June for the JSMT London Policy Forum hosted by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The Policy Forum was planned as a unique opportunity to engage Fellows and young leaders from the UK with some of the big issues which are likely to affect the governance of EU member states, Russia and other CIS countries in the 21st Century. Larry Sherwin from the EBRD gave the opening remarks before a keynote address from Pertros Fassoulas on What it will mean to be European in the Future. The keynote then opened up to a panel debate with Charles Grant from the Centre for European Reform and John Peet, Europe Editor at the Economist. The afternoon looked at Democratisation and Modernisation as a choice for Russia. Oksana Antonenko from EBRD introduced the topic in her keynote address which was followed by a panel discussion chaired by James Mates from ITN between Sir Roderic Lyne, Former British Ambassador to Russia and Anne Koch, Director for Europe and Central Asia at Transparency International.

Policy Forum

Oksana Antonenko, James Mates and Anne Koch discussing democratisation and modernisation

The final week of the Programme included a number of workshop sessions held at Goodenough College on topics ranging from The Future of the Nation State with Craig Oliphant from Saferworld; Conflict Resolution and Conflict Transformation – a case study of the Northern Ireland Peace Process with Dr Paul Dixon, Sir Hugh Orde, Jonathan Powell and Lord John Alderdice; Accountability in the UK system – a case study of the Leveson Inquiry and its aftermath with Professor Brian Cathcart, Lindsay Nicholson and the Rt Hon Lord Hunt. The workshop sessions concluded on Wednesday 26th June with a fantastic morning arranged by the UK Ministry of Justice on anti-corruption and an afternoon session on the Evolution of Political Communication with David Muir, Michael Prescott and Jessica Asato.

Workshop

Dr Paul Dixon, Sir Hugh Orde, Jonathan Powell and Lord John Alderdice on the Northern Ireland Peace Process

Follow-Up Conference

On Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd June our 2012 Fellows returned to the UK for their Follow-Up conference. This is a fantastic networking opportunity – firstly the 2012 Fellows reported on their action plan progress one year on, which was followed by a plenary discussion on the challenges of action plan implementation. On Saturday evening spirits were high over a formal dinner and late night drink around discussions of world politics. On Sunday, the theme of world politics continued with an interactive cross-cohort advocacy exercise where Fellows, in groups, had to present the case for establishing a World Government.

Follow Up Group

2013 and 2012 Fellows with Baroness Smith at the 2012 Follow-Up Conference in London

Action Plan presentations

The final day of the Fellowship saw Fellows presenting their Action Plans in No.11 Downing Street.

We heard from Kyrgyz Fellow, Talant Sultanov, of his plans to improve the investment climate in the Kyrgyz Republic through the development of financial markets. Armenian Fellow, Lilit Petrosyan told of her goal to improve the enforcement of ethical codes in the public service of Armenia. Finally, Andriy Shevchenko talked of his plans to draft a new law that will ensure the freedom of assembly in Ukraine.

Andriy And Armen Action Plans

Andriy Shevchanko (Ukraine) and Edmon Marukyan (Armenia) take questions from
                                  the audience about their Action Plans

The day ended with a drinks reception hosted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne in No.11 Downing Street and dinner hosted by Andy Love MP in the House of Commons.