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Remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the opening of the 2nd International Forum of MGIMO(U) Graduates, Moscow, 13 October 2014

Ladies and gentlemen,

Mr Torkunov, you’ve described the relationship between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and MGIMO in terms of paternal care. I think that our care is, first, fraternal and, second, reciprocal, because we also borrow a lot from the Institute’s exploratory studies. Seventy percent of those who enter into service at Russia’s MFA are MGIMO graduates. I have repeatedly said that the University is not afraid of competition.

If young people studying at other educational establishments – not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but also in central Russia, Siberia, or in the Russian Far East – want to join the MFA service, they must possess certain skills for passing an interview, as defined by the employment rules. A short while ago, MGIMO Rector Anatoly Torkunov launched winter courses for students from other universities in order to help them master the necessary skills needed for engaging in international activities after graduating from a higher educational establishment, including a job at the MFA.

Today we are pleased to see so many graduates. Not all of them have managed to come, but they are no less dear to us. During the last 70 years, tens of thousands of graduates have formed a powerful constellation of statesmen, politicians, diplomats and businessmen. There are presidents, prime ministers, and foreign ministers among the University’s graduates, some of whom have managed to come today. We are expecting more participants at this level. Of course, there are many MGIMO graduates abroad, who have reached the highest levels of politics, diplomacy, business, journalism and a number of other areas.

The 1st Forum, as Mr Torkunov said, was held at the initiative of President Ilkham Aliyev of Azerbaijan in Baku last year. This is almost a tradition already, and meets with a powerful and positive response from MGIMO graduates. There are 1,250 people from 54 countries who have registered to attend this second forum. This is a serious indicator. On the whole, the Association of MGIMO Graduates has 27,000 members, including 14 associations in foreign countries. Events are held in different states. Several years ago, I took part in a meeting of graduates, who at that moment had jobs or happened to be in New York. It is a long-standing tradition.

The interest in the University confirms the fact that the years of study have not been forgotten. More than that, they have largely contributed to forming each of us as an individual and a professional. Apart from professional skills, our studies have instilled in us a real love for our Motherland and an awareness of what we will do as civil servants, journalists or businessmen. MGIMO likewise inculcates a combination of patriotism and friendliness towards foreign partners. The curriculum is so structured as to enable everyone to find a comfortable path to forming professional skills. And the university heads deserve much credit for this, because they are always marching instep with the times and are constantly on the lookout for additional ways to modernise the educational process. The MGIMO Rector, Anatoly Torkunov, cited statistics characterising MGIMO’s position in the Russian educational system and partially abroad. As far as I know, the University is the first and only Russian institution to receive international accreditation of all of its curricula, which is a great thing. I am sure that this level will be maintained and enhanced. Incidentally, MGIMO was the first institution in Russia to open a joint educational programme with a foreign university. This programme enables students to receive two full-fledged diplomas: from MGIMO and a partner university. Today the University has about 20 such programmes. This is a serious indicator.

Speaking about the mutual care between MGIMO the MFA, reciprocal care, I should say that we actively use very modern research results achieved by the University’s academics. These are aimed at finding creative solutions to difficult problems and analysing the current momentous events in the world. The University publishes academic journals, where we borrow many ideas for our practical work.

MGIMO for years has supported the work of the Russian International Studies Association (RISA). The RISA Convention has emerged as a major display of advances achieved by Russian schools that study international relations and related disciplines. Earlier this year, MGIMO won the right to host the Global University Summit, which it held in April, hosting leading academics and university rectors from Western Europe, the US, China and Japan. This event has also demonstrated MGIMO’s high international prestige.

I am happy to see so many familiar faces. Each of us has his own memories from MGIMO. For some, it is an old house on the bank of the Moskva River, for others, it is this wonderful complex on Prospekt Vernadskogo. But we have always cherished and will continue to cherish the University’s traditions: above all the feeling of comradeship, fellowship and the sense of friendship. Allow me to congratulate you on the upcoming 70th anniversary of MGIMO! All the best!


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