We invite you to participate in the Fourth Annual Harvard U.S.-Russian Investment Symposium, "New Leadership, New Opportunities." The Symposium will once again be hosted by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in conjunction with the U.S.-Russian Business Council, The Conference Board, and this year for the first time the Financial Times. The event will take place at the Sheraton Boston Hotel opening the evening of October 5 and concluding the evening of October 7.
Each of the last two symposia have brought together some 500 senior U.S. and Russian government and business leaders to consider the serious issues involved in considering substantial investment in Russia. We have weathered the euphoria of 1996 and 1997, as well as the collapse of 1998. This year's event, as reflected in the title, is particularly important for both sides, as both Russia and America are electing new presidents in the same year. We have already seen the beginning of positive new developments under President Putin and are hopeful that the new American leader will match these steps in January.
This year, as each year in the past, we will gather the most knowledgeable and influential people from both the West and Russia to seriously discuss what lies ahead. Russians would like to see a more substantial and sustained level of investment on the part of the United States. American investors would like to see the promises of the new Putin government developed into law and then implemented in practice. Serious people from both countries would like to see a stable and mutually profitable business relationship that will assist in Russia's integration in the Western community of nations.
Russia has come a long way toward stabilizing its economy since the crisis of August 1998. In part as a result of higher prices for Russia's abundant natural resources and in part a result of the stimulus to the Russian domestic economy from a discounted ruble, Russia has largely recovered and is building its financial reserves. Many of America's leading corporations have returned to Russia or established new investments there, including McDonald's, Caterpillar, Intel, General Motors, Ford and Gillette. Investment firms are re-evaluating their portfolios to decide if funds should be transferred to the Russian economy. We believe in this environment it is more important than ever to bring together parties from both sides for candid face-to-face discussions that can cut through the mis-information that has accumulated from the past.
President Putin has described foreign investment as a critical aspect of Russia's full economic recovery and German Gref has helped develop a broad economic plan to transform the environment for investments for both Russians and foreigners. We hope you will be able to join us in Boston on October 5-7 (when New England is at its most beautiful) to participate in this important discussion.