The II World Forum of MGIMO Alumni dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Moscow State Institute was held in Moscow from 13-14 October 2014. I was visiting Russia at the time and was fortunate to attend the event. I would like to share my impressions for anyone who is interested.
First of all, I was overwhelmed by the scale and excellent organization of the events. The forum was attended by approximately 5,000 people. Among these were more than 1,250 guests from over 50 countries, including Representatives of the Association of MGIMO Alumni from all over the world. It was very interesting to meet with diplomats from abroad, including Mongolia, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Poland and others. The events in the Institute and the Kremlin Palace took place in a congenial and welcoming atmosphere, which encouraged all of us to meet new people and to remember pleasant moments from our school years. It was very exciting to meet with alumni who were pioneers that participated in the construction of buildings of our Institute. There were attendees from a huge range of years from recent graduates to alumni who graduated in 1948. I was so happy to see my favorite professors from the Department of International Economic Relations, including my scientific advisor Natalia Arkadyevna Piskulova, Liliia Sergeevna Revenko, other former classmates, and postgraduate students.
I was lucky to meet with representatives from other Alumni Associations and was very curious to learn about their activities in other countries, such as Bulgaria and Switzerland, who are also planning to celebrate our school 70th the anniversary. I also had an opportunity to discuss our own organization, the MGIMO Alumni Association in North America (MAANA), and gave a short interview to representatives from the MGIMO Endowment foundation who asked me to discuss the topic: “What does MGIMO mean for you?” In answer, I told them how important MGIMO has been in my life and how much it meant to me to be a student and graduate of the University. I also stated that my life continues to be directly connected to MGIMO and that, despite the fact that I now live in the US, I continue to do work supporting MGIMO and MAANA. I stated that MAANA has an excellent working team and that there are great opportunities for the continued development of the Association. I discussed how our Association in the United States is working to develop relations with foreign partners, including American and European, promoting our organization in the US, strengthening our brand awareness and continuing to develop trade and economic ties with Russia. I also talked about our planning for our own anniversary celebration in the US and our hope that more MGIMO alumni living in North America will show interest in joining our Association and participate in its work. Finally I talked about the important role MGIMO has played in my life, how fortunate I was that I entered the University and thanked the organizers of the Forum for all the work they did to make the event possible.
At the event at the Kremlin palace we received a warm greeting from Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russia Federation, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Rector of MGIMO Anatoly Torkunov and a number of prominent political figures. Everything was wonderfully organized from the business and educational programs to the cultural and entertainment events. The Forum was attended by over 50 speakers, including leading teachers and experts from MGIMO who spoke on current issues pertaining to the economy and education. There were some especially interesting reports presented on trends in energy policy and diplomacy.
A very well-done film was shown about MGIMO that presented interesting facts about the Institute. It discussed the history of the University since it was founded on the basis of the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages, all the way to the present. It was great to learn about the first professors of the university and its famous alumni. Many books about MGIMO were exhibited at the forum and were given as a gift to all the participants.
The concert at the Kremlin Palace was outstanding! There were an assortment of the best soviet and modern songs performed by famous singers, such as the ensemble “Yalla”, Valery, Syutkin, ensemble “Syabri”, Laima Vaikule, Anne Veski, Alexandr Serov, and Alsou. The singers all warmly congratulated the graduates on the anniversary. Especially I was struck by the very kind and thoughtful words of Alsou, Laima Vaikule, and Alexandr Serov who proudly said that his daughter had graduated from MGIMO last year.
Everyone who attended owes a debt of gratitude for the great work done by the many volunteers that supported the event. A significant number of these were current students of MGIMO who sincerely tried to make each guest’s stay as comfortable as possible. I was lucky to talk with some of them and learn more about the preparation for the Forum.
“On behalf of the volunteers of the 70-year anniversary of the MGIMO, first of all, I would like to sincerely thank all those who came to the event. MGIMO University – it is you, dear graduates! It is very nice to see the faces of the graduates who have returned after many years to the walls of our Alma Mater. The love, respect and gratitude of the assembled alumni was seen in in every smile, every glance and the kind words of thanks heard over and over. Each alumnus goes his own path after graduation and all these roads diverge to careers and countries all over the world. So it is very moving that so many Jubilee and other MGIMO graduates from various faculties and years of graduation, and who now live and work in different parts of our planet, again come together and remember the happy days as a student at our University.
We, the volunteers, while still not graduates, are incredibly proud to be able to say: “We are students of MGIMO!”
Thank you, dear graduates of MGIMO! You wear the proud name of “Mgimovtsev” and glorify our university and its merits and achievements! And all that was done to make this Forum possible was is done for you, because you are the MGIMO alumni. 300 volunteers from different faculties were involved making this Forum happen and we all shared a desire to become a part of this historic event. It has been a tremendous amount of work, very hard and time-consuming, but it was terribly interesting and important for all of us. There were hundreds of organizational meetings to plan the work and dozens of sleepless nights. But all of this pales in comparison with the emotions, millions of smiles and grateful looks what received in return.
On behalf of myself, I would like to say that, no matter where I go to seek my fortune, in any part of the world, I will always remember the lines from the hymn that connect us all as MGIMO students. No matter where we cast our fate in this world, our guiding star shines above the arches of our beloved Institute!”
I am also extremely proud of our institute and its outstanding graduates. It’s nice to feel like a graduate of one of the leading universities of global importance, as well as part of a large and united international community of MGIMO alumni scattered around the world, but connected by one single feeling of patriotism and loyalty to the traditions of our Alma Mater.
On behalf of our team – MGIMO Alumni Association in North America (MAANA), I would like to express our gratitude to the MGIMO Alumni Association, volunteers and all the organizers of the Forum for making possible the wonderful celebration of the 70th anniversary of MGIMO! Thank you again for your serious work and those happy moments experienced again in the walls of our native Alma Mater. We really appreciate your hospitality, assistance in rallying the alumni, and the development of business and friendly relations among the huge MGIMO brotherhood throughout the world!
Looking forward to see you soon!
Marina Babaeva (Institute of Foreign Economic Relations (IVES)’2005) and MAANA team