In July 2004, Victor Pinchuk gathered about 30 European leaders for the first Yalta European Seminar to debate Ukraine’s prospects of joining the EU. The participants included Prime Minister of Canada (1993–2003) Jean Chretien, French MP Dominique Strauss-Kahn and member of European Parliament Marek Siwiec. Following the seminar, an independent philanthropic foundation, the Yalta European Strategy, was established in Ukraine to create an international network of support for Ukraine and to strengthen public diplomacy in favor of the country.
The YES Annual Meetings have become an open platform to discuss and look for new ideas and views on paths to European, Ukrainian and global development. These meetings bring together over 350 politicians, diplomats, statesmen, journalists, analysts and business leaders from more than 50 countries. The dialogue on global challenges broadens the vision on the situation inside Ukraine and the prospects for the country’s development in the modern world. It is also an incentive to find common ground between countries, common interests and values. Even though YES Annual Meetings have been held in Kyiv since 2014, Yalta remains a symbol of powerful diplomacy and dialogue.
At the YES Annual Meetings, the world's top opinion leaders present their visions of current and future trends which impact all spheres of life of society. For the past 10 years, the YES Annual Meetings has brought together heads of state and government including Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, Valdis Dombrovskis, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Dalia Grybauskaitė, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Bronisław Komorowski, Leonid Kuchma, Yves Leterme, Mario Monti, Shimon Peres, Petro Poroshenko, Gerhard Schröder, Yulia Tymoshenko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Viktor Yushchenko and Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga. Since 2004, among the speakers have also been seniour ministers, politicians and heads of international organizations like Kofi Annan, José Manuel Barroso, Carl Bildt, Wesley Clark, Hillary Clinton, Arkadiy Dvorkovich, Mohamed ElBaradei, Joschka Fischer, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Štefan Füle, Sergei Glazyev, Herman Gref, Vitaliy Klitschko, Alexei Kudrin, Miroslav Lajčák, Pascal Lamy, Thomas O. Melia, David Petraeus, Martin Schulz, Radosław Sikorski, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Condoleezza Rice, Larry Summers, Strobe Talbott, Shashi Tharoor, James Wolfensohn, Lamberto Zannier and Robert Zoellick. Politicians, businessmen and thinkers, including Newt Gingrich, Richard Branson, Niall Ferguson, Chrystia Freeland, sir Elton John, Arthur Laffer, Eric Lander, Bernard-Henri Lévy, Jin Liqun, Michio Kaku, Paul Krugman, Nouriel Roubini, Jimmy Wales and Muhammad Yunus, have also spoken at YES Meetings.