Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a joint meeting of the Supervisory Board and the Board of Trustees of Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), March 2, 2018

Friday, 02 March 2018 11:17

Colleagues, friends,

I am very pleased to see all members of MGIMO University’s Supervisory Board and Board of Trustees. Our joint meetings have become an important element of decision-making in administration of the university and a venue for discussing new ideas and plans. I would like to highlight the importance of our meetings as a mechanism of public control over the university’s activities. For the Foreign Ministry, as well as for other ministries and agencies that focus on foreign policy and international relations and have contacts with international partners, MGIMO University remains a crucial source of international relations specialists.

Today MGIMO is more than an educational centre. Here, our colleagues from Russia and abroad receive further training on dealing with new threats and challenges, information security, sports diplomacy and sports rights. There is no need to tell you how important these issues are in the current situation. The teaching process is conducted in close cooperation with such partners as the Council of Europe, OSCE, UNCTAD, WTO and international arbitration tribunals.

Of course, we highly value MGIMO as a source of personnel for the Foreign Ministry and other government agencies, as I have said, but it also plays an invaluable role as an intellectual repository and an important information and analysis partner for our foreign policy projects.

Research results are becoming more and more impressive. MGIMO is affiliated with 11 academic journals included in the State Commission for Academic Degrees and Titles system. It holds stable high positions in prestigious international rankings. Popularisation of Russian expert approaches and research is an important element for promoting an objective image of our country abroad and improving our reputation in the academic community. I think we can all praise MGIMO, which continues intensive work in this area, raising its popularity as a source of credible analytical information about Russia and about our approaches to key issues of global and regional security and international development.

I believe that in order to strengthen our positions in academic diplomacy (there is such a term) we must use the potential we have to the full, first of all, the fact that MGIMO is a key structure for our discussion mechanisms with a number of countries, for example, the Russian-Czech Discussion Forum. We should pay special attention to the Trianon Dialogue, a new channel of Russia-France cooperation between our countries’ civil societies. It was established last year by a joint decision of President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of France Emmanuel Macron during Vladimir Putin’s visit to Versailles last summer. Anatoly Torkunov will co-chair the Trianon Dialogue forum from Russia’s side and France’s former Ambassador to Russia Pierre Morel will represent his country.

This year MGIMO will actively participate in the Year of Japan. There is a good base for this: there is a joint group of historians based at the university, and experts in Japanese studies, both those working at MGIMO and MGIMO alumni (such as Fattah Shodiyev), hold top positions in professional rankings and head bilateral institutions of informal cultural and business communication and information exchanges.

The MGIMO ASEAN Centre also provides unique opportunities to promote cooperation with multilateral institutions. The tasks of this important organisation include cooperation in organising business missions for Russian entrepreneurs and heads of the Russian regions to ASEAN countries.

Speaking about the regional element of MGIMO activities, I would like to mention the successful implementation of the Odintsovo campus project we held together with Governor of the Moscow Region Andrey Vorobyov. The campus has the traditional components of higher education as well as the Gorchakov Lyceum and even secondary vocational education in profile areas: economics, law and banking. MGIMO took a daring step opening new areas and training programmes in business and applied IT sciences, system analysis and modelling of socioeconomic process. I believe we can see from the results that the university did not make a mistake in taking this step. This means the digital economy is closely integrated with the education process.

MGIMO continues to strengthen its positions as a core university for retraining regional and municipal administration personnel of the Moscow region and its activities give a boost to the region’s entire education system. In addition to Governor of the Moscow Region Andrey Vorobyov, I would like to mention Head of the Odintsovo District Andrey Ivanov, who also focuses much attention on MGIMO’s work at the campus.

Another important issue is the promotion of MGIMO’s infrastructure opportunities together with a substantial education reform. I am primarily talking about the 18-storey dormitory building on Prospekt Vernadskogo. It still has a long way to go, but the main work has already been completed.

The reform process will take another several years. However, we are systematically implementing the tasks we have set as part of the MGIMO Development Strategy we approved in 2015. The MGIMO Endowment Foundation, established with the support of the Broad of Trustees, which we are sincerely grateful for, provides for its successful implementation and has become an important project financing mechanism.

Incidentally, after our meeting last year, when we had a detailed presentation, many of those present became our partners in developing the university and implementing several projects. Let me once again express my gratitude for your help.

The Strategy’s main priorities are related to strengthening the faculty and administrative staff, as well as improving the quality of education, further promoting the university in the Russian education export development programme, digitalising education content and updating our IT resources. MGIMO is becoming involved in new education and research areas such as the environment, natural resource management, commodity market analysis, innovation management and such areas as mathematics and economics, which I have already mentioned, together with completely new approaches to studying finance and risk management. Elevating the MGIMO economic school to an entirely new level is an ambitious task, but a task that we can accomplish. I believe we have chosen well the areas to focus on in the Strategy, and we must thank the entire teaching staff headed by MGIMO Rector Anatoly Torkunov for this.

Today we will listen to Anatoly Torkunov, who will speak about the university’s achievements last year and its main financial indicators for this year. You have received detailed materials on the issues in advance.

The Supervisory Board is actively working off-campus and overseeing MGIMO’s economic, administrative and organisation activities. The Supervisory Board’s task is to look at these processes from a long-term perspective and to approve a draft resolution following discussions – of course, taking into account the remarks, proposals and comments made during our meeting today.

Thank you for attention and now I give the floor to Anatoly Torkunov.

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