Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at a joint meeting of the Supervisory Board and the Board of Trustees of Russian Foreign Ministry’s MGIMO University, Moscow, January 28, 2020
We are holding a regular joint meeting of MGIMO’s Supervisory Board and the Board of Trustees. This format has traditionally been very effective. The very atmosphere on the eve of our meeting shows that we are going to have a businesslike, collegial discussion in the interests of our university.
This past year we marked the 75th anniversary of our alma mater. Several events have been held both in Russia and abroad. I would like to make a special mention of the 5th MGIMO World Alumni Forum that took place in Uzbekistan. I will not list everything that was done during the past year but I am convinced that you will agree with me: our alma mater met its anniversary head on: with new achievements and practical activity. It has justified, in practice, the status of one of the main elements of domestic academic and science diplomacy.
MGIMO graduates make meaningful contributions to the Foreign Ministry, the Security Council office and other government departments and organisations. Our graduates are also in demand in politological society – organisations like the Valdai International Discussion Club, the Russian International Affairs Council, the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy and other research institutes.
Publishing activities are being stepped up. The university’s magazines are strengthening their status and receiving high ratings in foreign
science citation indices.
I would like to make a special mention of the expansion of the university’s international ties. A breakthrough was made with the opening of the first full university affiliate abroad, in Tashkent. I visited it on January 16 this month and met with the students, professors and teachers.
Now we are about ready to offer the MBA programme in finance in Baku in cooperation with the Diplomatic Academy of Azerbaijan. I believe we will find more forms of cooperation in the future.
I would also like to mention the relevance of MGIMO’s Geneva venue. The number of foreign students and interns is increasing and new education partnerships are growing stronger.
Apart from the double and triple diploma programmes, MGIMO is part of the network of CIS, SCO and BRICS universities.
I would like to mention the unique scientific and education consortium project that includes Russian and American universities and a master’s programme on WMD non-proliferation. Both are highly relevant in our practical policy and I would like to emphasise this.
MGIMO is making a substantial contribution to the development of bilateral interstate cooperation in other areas as well. It is acting as a basic university for dialogue between civil societies in France, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the ASEAN nations. Naturally, I am pleased to note that numerous foreign guests are always eager to get to MGIMO and they consider it important to give lectures to the students and academic personnel.
This year MGIMO will take an active part in important international events held in Russia, especially the BRICS and SCO summits that Russia will host. MGIMO is a participant in many initiatives that accompany their summits and is the organizer of the Russia-ASEAN Youth Forum that will be held in Kazan next September.
Needless to say, we and the university will focus on the issues related to the forthcoming anniversary of the Great Victory, and the anniversary of the UN foundation. The university has specific and very serious plans to take part in the common efforts to preserve the historical truth and prevent the revision of the results of the war against Nazism and World War II. The UN anniversary is directly linked with this. MGIMO Rector Anatoly Torkunov chairs the UN Association of Russia (UNA-Russia), so the university is simply obliged to take part in the anniversary events of this global organisation.
I would also like to note that MGIMO does not limit itself to ties with foreign partners. It closely cooperates with Russian universities that specialise in engineering and the natural sciences (MISIS, MIPT and SCOLIPE). It is planning to cooperate with the Ministry of Agriculture along with Russian producers and agrarian product exporters. It is very important to link the practical goals of our agriculture with MGIMO’s scientific potential at this point. I would like to note that in the spring and summer of this year graduates in joint programmes carried out by MGIMO for the Ministry of Agriculture will fill the vacancies of agriculture attaches in our embassies abroad.
Serious work has been started on the further buildup of the university’s unique linguistic potential. Specialised units have already been established. MGIMO is always striving to meet the needs of this country. Ties with the regions are of special importance in this context. MGIMO is confidently expanding its enduring contacts with them: from central Russia to the Far East. It is also improving its cooperation with pre-university institutions and is upgrading its infrastructure. I believe the construction of a dormitory on Prospekt Vernadskogo will be completed this year.
Today, the main item on our agenda is the strategy for MGIMO development in 2020-2025. Students, graduates and our partners have taken part in this project. This has been discussed at meetings between the Rector’s Office and the Academic Council. Now Mr Torkunov will present it to us.