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MOSCOW, November 14 (Itar-Tass) — More than 200 representatives of Russia and Germany will participate in the 12th Petersburg Dialogue forum opening here on Wednesday.
Forum organizsers have told Itar-Tass that the main theme of the forum is "Russia and Germany Information Societies Facing the Challenges of the 21st Century". Those present will also discuss cooperation in the sphere of small and medium-sized businesses, the future of relations between Russia and the European Union (EU), the development of civil society institutions of the two countries, as well as acute issues.
The main proceedings of the forum are scheduled for Wednesday. In particular, there will be a podium discussion to involve prominent representatives of the civil societies of the two countries, as well as the leaders of the Petersburg Dialogue coordinating commitee, Lothar de Maiziere and Viktor Zubkov.
A ceremony is be also held to present the Peter Benisch Prize which is awarded to young Russian and German journalists for stories devoted to various aspects of Russo-German relations and promoting a better understanding of the way of life and problems of the two peoples. It was instituted in memory of Peter Benisch, one of the patriarchs of FRG journalism, the founder and First Chairman of the Petersburg Dialogue forum. The Prize is awarded every year and has been presented since 2006.
On Thursday the forum's proceedings will go on in eight topical working groups dealing with such subjects as "Politics", "Economics", "Education and Science", "Media", "Civil Society", "Church", "Workshop for the Future", and "Culture". The results of the forum are to be sumed up on November 16 at the concluding plenary session.
The Petersburg Dialogue forum of the civil societies of Russia and Germany was founded in 2001 on the initiative of the then Russian President Vladimir Puitin and the then German Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Its purpose is to deepen mutual understanding between Germany and Russia, develop bilateral cooperation in all segments of society, and additionally to stimulate contacts between the twoccountries.
The principal aim of the forum is to establish a constructive dialogue between the two countries' representatives in all walks of social life. The forum is attended by prominent figures from various spheres of sociallife, and members of young elites.
The Petersburg Dialogue is called upon not only to strengthen Russo-German contacts and promote mutual understanding between the two countries but on the whole to exert a favourbsle influence on Russia-EU contacts.
Nowadays the Petersburg Dialogue forum plays an important and constantly growing role in Russia-Germany relations, and in furnishing a reliable foundation for lasting long-term cooperation between the two countries.