MGIMO, Happy Birthday! (by Ambassador Yakovenko)

On 14 October the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) marks its 70th anniversary. This academic institution, ever since its estabilishment, has been playing a key role in preparing officers for the Russian diplomatic service. Let facts speak for itself: about 80 percent of young professionals who joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last year were graduates from MGIMO. Today, MGIMO alumni constitute about two thirds of the Russian foreign service, responding to the multitude of challenges that Russia is facing internationally.
Over seventy years MGIMO alumni became government, diplomatic and business leaders in many countries, including several past and current heads of international organizations, states, governments and foreign ministries.
From the outset, MGIMO was intended to become a unique academic research and education centre for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Today it remains an important source of foreign policy analysis. Many of its professors have a background in the Russian foreign service, making a valuable intellectual contribution to the work of the Ministry, participating in development of policies on a wide range of issues. In recent years several professional associations were established under MGIMO auspices, including the Russian Association of International Studies and the Russian Association of Political Studies.
MGIMO is the guardian of the traditions of the Russian foreign policy and diplomatic service: values of patriotism, teaches respect for international law and principles of the UN, tolerance towards other cultures, mutual understanding and an ability of finding common ground with international partners. Those have always been core values of Russian diplomacy. A comprehensive case for maintenance of the international rule of law was made by Alexander Gorchakov in his circular note on the assuming the position of Foreign Minister in 1856. Russia put forward ideas of convening the Hague Peace conferences of 1899 and 1907 to prevent the outbreak of an All-European war. This position remained key for the Soviet Union’s foreign policy and is strongly believed in today’s Russia.
To mark the anniversary, the Second International Forum of MGIMO alumni is held in Moscow on 13-14 October, bringing together not only diplomats, but also other public officials and members of civil society, academia and business community. Last week, the Russian Embassy in London together with MGIMO Alumni association in UK organised an event to mark this anniversary. More than 200 MGIMO graduates from all walks of life have attended. We hope that this good tradition will continue in the future.