Lennart Meri Conference 2021: French researchers in the spotlight

September 3, 2021 / September 5, 2021

From September 3 to 5, 2021, the 14th edition of the Lennart Meri Conference will be held in a hybrid format. A rich and dense program that gives a large space to French researchers and intellectuals.

Organized by the International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS), the Lennart Meri Conference is a major annual meeting in Tallinn on security, defence and foreign policy issues, from the perspective of the North-East European regions. Intellectuals, researchers and public decision-makers from all over the world will gather in Tallinn from 3 to 5 September.

The theme of this year’s 14th Conference is inspired by a fragment from the poet Horace, Nam tua res agitur, paries cum proximus ardet, which means: You too are in danger when your neighbor’s house is on fire. Thus, the Lennart Meri Conference has naturally chosen to dedicate this edition to the “My Neighbour’s Problem Today – Mine Tomorrow“.

For this edition, the program of the Lennart Meri Conference offers a privileged voice to French researchers and intellectuals. High level representatives will intervene throughout the meeting.

The conferences will be livestreamed on this link.



  • Clément Beaune, Minister of State for European Affairs of France

Clément Beaune has been Minister of State for European Affairs of France since 2020. Prior to that, from 2017 to 2020, he was a special adviser within the diplomatic unit of the Presidency of the Republic of France. Previously he served as deputy CEO of Groupe ADP (2016-2017) and European, international and budgetary affairs adviser to the Minister of the Economy, Industry and the Digital Sector (2014- 2016). From 2013 to 2014, Clément Beaune was a technical adviser on the budget to the Prime Minister.


  • Philippe Errera, Director General for Political and Security Affairs, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France

Philippe Errera was appointed director general for political and security affairs at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France in 2019. Previously, he was director for strategic affairs (2013-2015), and director-general for international relations and strategy (2015-2018) at the French Ministry of Defence. Before that, he served as the French Ambassador to NATO (2011-2013). From 2007 to 2010, he was adviser, and then chief of staff to the minister for foreign and European affairs. He served as director for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation (2006-2007), after having been deputy director of the planning staff , from 2003. Philippe Errera was first posted abroad to the Embassy of France in Washington, as counsellor in charge of politico-military affairs from 1999 to 2003. He served as an exchange diplomat at the US Department of State (1998-99).

  • Thomas Gomart, Director, French Institute of International Relations

Dr Thomas Gomart is the director of IFRI, the French Institute of International Relations. He previously served as its vice president for strategic development (2010-2015) and the director of its Russia/NIS Centre (2004-2013). Joining IFRI in 2004, he set up the Russia/NIS centre. His academic and professional background has been closely related to the post-Soviet space, but also to wider international issues (security, energy, and digital governance). He teaches at the French Military School of Saint-Cyr (use of military power in international relations and geopolitics of energy). He regularly contributes articles to the French and the international media. As a researcher, he is currently working on Russia, digital governance, country risk, and think tanks.

  • Sylvie Kauffmann, Editorial Director, Le Monde

Sylvie Kauffmann is the editorial director and foreign affairs columnist at the French newspaper Le Monde. She was the editor-in-chief of the paper in 2010-2011. She is also a regular guest essayist in the opinion pages of The New York Times. She joined Le Monde in 1987 as the Moscow correspondent. From 1988 to 1993, she was the eastern and central European correspondent. She then moved to the United States, first as Washington correspondent and then, from 1996 to 2001, as New York Bureau chief. Back in Paris, she headed the in-depth reporting section of Le Monde and then became deputy editor. From 2006 to 2009, she was reporter-at-large in Asia, based in Singapore.

  • François Heisbourg, Senior Advisor, International Institute for Strategic Studies

Dr François Heisbourg has served in government, industry, and academia. He has sat on national and international blue-ribbon bodies, notably: the French government’s White Paper La France face au terrorisme (2006); the defence and national security white papers (under President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007-8 and President François Hollande in 2012-13); the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament; the International Commission on the Balkans; and the EU Commission’s group of personalities on security research and development. He dealt with defence and national security issues as part of Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign. He has written extensively on defence and security questions and is a frequent contributor to specialist and mainstream media. His latest book is Le Temps des prédateurs (Odile Jacob, Paris 2020), and the previous is a historical memoir Cet étrange nazi qui sauva mon père (éditions Stock, 2019). He is also special advisor to the Paris-based Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique.

  • Bruno Tertrais, Deputy Director, Foundation for Strategic Research

Dr Bruno Tertrais is deputy director of the Foundation for Strategic Research. His areas of expertise include geopolitics and international relations, strategic and military affairs, nuclear deterrence and non-proliferation, US policy and transatlantic relations, security in the Middle East and in Asia. He is a member of the Group of Eminent Persons of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission; of the Group of Eminent Persons for the Substantive Advancement of Nuclear Disarmament; of the International Institute for Strategic Studies; of the editorial board of The Washington Quarterly; and of the editorial board of the Journal of Security and Strategic Analyses. He is also a senior fellow at Institut Montaigne, and a scientific adviser to the French government’s High Commissioner for Planning.

  • Tara Varma, Head of the Paris Office, European Council on Foreign Relations

Tara Varma is a policy fellow and head of the Paris office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), where she follows French foreign policy and European and Asian security developments. She looks particularly at current French defence and security proposals in the European framework. She is also interested in Asian security, and the role Europeans could play in it, notably in the Indo-Pacific region. Tara Varma joined ECFR in January 2015 as a coordinator and then deputy head of the Paris office. She previously worked and lived in Shanghai, Delhi and Paris.

  • Patrick Calvar, Founding Partner, C-Conseil

Patrick Calvar is the founding partner of C-Conseil, a strategic intelligence consulting company. He is a special advisor at the Montaigne Institute, an independent French think tank dedicated to public policy in France and Europe, and a senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, an independent UK think tank on international defence and security. Patrick Calvar spent over 30 years in the French security and intelligence services, starting his career during the Cold War. He joined the police in 1977 and the security service in 1984. He has worked at all levels of responsibility and was eventually appointed deputy director of the security service. In 2010, he became director of intelligence of the foreign intelligence service, the General Directorate for external security. In 2012, he was appointed Director General of the French security service, the General Directorate for Internal Security. He retired from government service in May 2017. He was awarded Officier de l’ordre national du Mérite in 2016 and Officier de l’ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur in 2017.

  • André Loesekrug-Pietri, Chairman, Joint European Disruptive Initiative

André Loesekrug-Pietri has held leadership positions in private equity, government, industry and as an entrepreneur. He is a former assistant to the CEO of Aerospatiale-Airbus, chairman of a Capital Fund, and special advisor to the French Minister of Defence. Currently André Loesekrug-Pietri serves as the chairman of the Joint European Disruptive Initiative. He launched the fi rst Darpa-type Grand Challenge from Europe in 2020. He is a member of the Innovation Board of the Munich Security Conference. He has been named Young Leader by the World Economic Forum. He attended Sup-Aero aerospace engineering school, is a private pilot, and a Colonel with the French Air Force People’s Reserve.

  • Nicolas Tenzer, Chairman, Centre for Study and Reseach on Political Decision

Nicolas Tenzer is a senior civil servant, academic, writer and editor. As the former head of department at the Strategic Planning Offi ce, he has written three offi cial reports for the French government. He is a guest professor at Paris School of International Aff airs and chairman of the Center for Studies and Research on Political Decision. Nicolas Tenzer is also the publisher of Desk Russie, a newsletter on Russia and former Soviet countries. He was a director of the Aspen Institute from 2010 to 2015 and has acted as its treasurer and president. He has the authored 22 books and hundreds of papers on foreign and security policy and risk analysis. He is invited as guest speaker at numerous international and security conferences. He is also the owner of a leading strategy blog, launched in June 2021, called Tenzer Strategics.

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