Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 4th International Forum of MGIMO Alumni Astana, October 6, 2017
I am pleased to attend this forum, which has already become a tradition. I hope you will keep it up. To begin with, I would like to read out greetings from President of Russia Vladimir Putin to the participants and guests of the 4th International Forum of MGIMO Alumni:
I send my sincere greetings on the occasion of the opening of the 4th International Forum of MGIMO Alumni.
This year, delegates from many countries’ government agencies, diplomats, international affairs experts, journalists, public figures plus business people have met in Astana, which is now viewed, with good reason, as a global centre of multilateral diplomacy, international economic cooperation and Eurasian integration processes.
MGIMO University is highly respected in Russia as well as other countries and enjoys recognition for its research schools and solid traditions of fundamental education. The multinational community of MGIMO alumni is united not only by warm feelings for their Alma Mater, but also by their commitment to the principle of mutual respect and a sincere interest in the promotion of international cooperation.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, Senate Speaker Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who is a MGIMO graduate, as well as to all other Kazakhstani colleagues who contributed to the preparations of this large-scale event.
I am confident that those present at the forum will hold interesting and instructive discussions, which will help strengthen friendship as well as mutual understanding between nations.
I wish you success in your work and all the best.
For my part, I would like to express gratitude to the Kazakhstani leaders and personally to the President of Kazakhstan, the Senate Speaker, as well as to all our friends for helping us with the organisation of this forum and for giving such a warm plus hospitable welcome to its participants.
I am glad to be meeting with you again. I see quite a few familiar faces and friends in this hall. The high level of delegates from dozens of states is convincing proof of the inviolability of the MGIMO fraternity. All of us, no matter where we are working right now, are bound together by years of studying at our Alma Mater, which was a home away from home for many.
We are proud that our university is not going rusty but continues to develop very dynamically. It is increasing its academic and research potential and firmly holds its place in Russian and international academic ratings. It is improving the system of training international affairs experts in many spheres, from the economy and political science to public management. Last year, MGIMO celebrated an important event: the opening of its new campus in Odintsovo, the Moscow Region.
MGIMO continues to expand its international ties, offers its faculty and students a chance to have onsite training abroad and develops ties with new foreign partners. A recent example of this kind is an agreement on cooperation between MGIMO University and the Institute of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, which was signed during President Putin’s official visit to Ashgabat.
Of special significance for diplomats is that MGIMO not only trains foreign policy personnel and is the world’s leader by the number of foreign languages taught, but also that it is the embodiment of the principle of friendship of nations. There are people from over 50 states among its alumni.
The MGIMO leadership is doing their best to maintain an atmosphere of ethnic and religious accord at the university, promoting the awareness of patriotism and respect for people from other cultures and religions, plus the ability to put forth one’s position openly together with listening to one’s counterpart. These qualities are crucial for experts in foreign affairs in any country. Today, as the development of a stable polycentric world order which reflects the cultural and civilisational diversity of the world continues, it is vitally important to educate our young people in a spirit of openness as well as mutual understanding, rather than pre-programming them for confrontation.
Russia is conducting an active foreign policy, is advocating a balanced and future-oriented unification agenda. It is also working to develop equal and mutually beneficial relations with all states and integration associations without exception on the basis of respect for international law and each other’s interests, as well as non-interference in other’s internal affairs. Our university is noted for this approach, when nobody forces their formulas on others, and when truth, justice and ability to think independently are given the pride of place.
I hope that the forum’s rich agenda will not only help you revive the MGIMO spirit and enjoy its inimitable atmosphere, but will also allow you to discuss new initiatives aimed at promoting mutual trust as well as understanding and deepening cooperation between nations.
In conclusion, I would like to speak in my capacity as Chairman of the MGIMO Board of Trustees and express my sincere gratitude to all our friends on this board, both Russian and foreign nationals. Special thanks go to the trustees who donate to the MGIMO Endowment Foundation and therefore co-finance the university’s sustainable development.
I wish you productive discussions, unforgettable impressions and all the best.