Thoughts on the Second Annual Meeting of the ECFA Advisory Council

At the Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs we are very proud of the progress we have made since its launch in Brussels last year.   Nowhere have our advances been more in evidence than at the Second Annual Meeting of the ECFA Advisory Council, which was held at the Imperial Hotel in Vienna a fortnight ago.

The Meeting brought together Members of the ECFA Advisory Council for a convivial but intellectually rigorous Board Meeting, followed by a cocktail reception and formal dinner with a host of distinguished guests from various international organisations with HQs or offices in Vienna – including fifteen Ambassadors and representatives from the European Commission, UNIDO, UNODA, the Vienna Economic Forum and the Austrian Foreign Ministry among others.

Foreign Minister Idrissov and Dr. Benita Ferrero-Waldner made in their remarks important points about Central Asia’s global standing, its infrastructure and increasing relevance to the EU, to which various members of the Advisory Council responded.   I am thankful to everyone for what turned out to be a really stimulating and informative round-table discussion.

As I noted during my Director’s Report at the Board Meeting, this was my first Annual Meeting since taking over from Rauan Kenzhekhanuly as Director of the ECFA.   I was greatly impressed by the calibre and the input of all participants, both from within the Advisory Council and elsewhere.    I have listened to a number of helpful and constructive suggestions for ways to develop ECFA and its Annual Meeting, and now that the Annual Meeting is successfully behind us I look forward to enjoying a really good festive season with my family and starting the New Year with a brand new work-plan next year.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone present at the Second Annual Meeting, as well as everyone who has visited our website and subscribed to our Newsletter over the past year.   I look forward to keeping you informed of further developments at the Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs over the course of the next twelve months.

I wish you a very happy holiday and every good wish for 2016!

Zhanbolat Ussenov