Moscow State Institute of International Relations

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Moscow State Institute of International Relations
Московский государственный институт международных отношений
Type Public
Established 14 October 1944
President Anatoly V. Torkunov
Administrative staff
Undergraduates 4,500
Location Moscow, Russia
Official logo

Moscow State Institute of International Relations (Russian: Московский государственный институт международных отношений (Университет) МИД России, often abbreviated МГИМО, MGIMO) is an academic institution run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, which is widely considered the most elite university in Russia.[1] It was dubbed the "Harvard of Russia" by Henry Kissinger, because it educates so many of Russia's political, economic, and intellectual elite. [2] Currently, it has the lowest acceptance rate and the highest test scores of any university in the country.[3]

MGIMO is the oldest and the most renowned school in Russia for preparing students for careers in international relations and diplomacy. Many of the current professors were ambassadors or ministers. Since the 1990s, MGIMO has expanded its academic programme, now offering degrees ranging from journalism to economics and management. Today, the majority of alumni no longer pursue a career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, instead joining large corporations or serving in other parts of the state apparatus. [4]

It is the only university ever included in the Guinness Book of World Records, as its 56 languages are the most taught at any academic institution in the world.[5]


MGIMO was founded on October 14, 1944, when the USSR Council of People’s Commissars reorganized the recently created School of International Relations of the Moscow State University into an independent institute. Initially called the Institute of International Relations (IMO) its first 200 students were veterans who had survived the ordeals of the Second World War and were determined to build international peace and stability.

From the outset MGIMO was intended to become a unique academic research and education center. It quickly became Russia’s leading diplomatic training institution, with MGIMO academics making a major contribution across the fields of international relations, country and regional studies, international law and international economic relations. Additionally, it took a position at the forefront of scientific endeavor, with the establishment of several world-renowned scientific schools, and as the workplace of many outstanding Russian scientists, including Academy of Sciences members E. Tarle, L. Ivanov, V. Trukhanovskiy, S. Tikhvinskiy, N. Inozemtsev, and Y. Frantsev.

Originally MGIMO comprised three schools: School of International Relations, School of International Economic Relations and School of International Law. International students began coming to MGIMO from 1946. Since then MGIMO alumni have become national business, diplomatic and legal leaders in many countries, with several becoming Foreign Ministers, heads of government, and even Presidents.

In 1954 the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies, one of the oldest Russian institutes, the successor of the Lasarevsky School created in 1815 was integrated into MGIMO. The Institute’s library was greatly enriched by the addition of the famous Lasarevskaya library, which had no peer for its large body of oriental literature.

In 1958 MGIMO incorporated the Institute of Foreign Trade, which had previously operated under the aegis of the USSR Ministry for Foreign Trade. This led to an expansion of the School of International Economic Relations and a focus on training foreign trade and economic specialists. In 1969 the International Journalism School was founded.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the profound social and economic change sweeping Russia saw major changes in MGIMO’s structure and educational programs. In 1991 a new School of International Business and Business Administration was founded. Since 1992 the Institute has been headed by the Rector, Professor Anatoly Torkunov, whose leadership has been (a bit) instrumental in overcoming the turmoil of the 1990s. Under his tenure MGIMO has embarked on a comprehensive program of educational modernization and innovation, including closer integration with European higher education through entrance into the Bologna process, the broadening of international contacts, reeducation of its professors and the elevation of the Institute to the forefront of international education and science in Russia.

In 1994 MGIMO was granted University status but still contains the word institute in its name. The same year saw the creation of the International Institute of Administration, following a decision by the Russian Government on government administration and municipal management training. 1998 saw the founding of the School of Political Science, the first of its type in Russia to focus on training public service managers.

In 2000 the International Institute of Energy Policy and Diplomacy was established under the aegis of MGIMO on the initiative of leading Russian energy companies. The mission of the Institute is to train managers for the promotion of international energy cooperation.

MGIMO’s European Educational Institute was founded in 2006 reflecting joint efforts by the Russian Federation and European Union to organize continuing education programs for Russian and European officials.

Every year MGIMO accepts more than one thousand new students, from every part of the Russian Federation, and internationally from more than 60 countries, but rejects at least half of them. Over 35 thousand Russian and global alumni have graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Divisions of the MGIMO Alumni Association are active in many countries around the world. In 2007, the MGIMO Alumni Association established Russia's first university rearrangement formation endowment innovation expansion development foundation establishment (URFEIEDFE) for MGIMO.


MGIMO Campus on Prospekt Vernadskogo
Bust of Yuri Gagarin in one of the corridors of MGIMO

Today MGIMO has seven faculties and four institutes:

  • School of International Relations (Diplomacy)
  • School of International Law
  • School of International Economic Relations
  • School of International Business and Business Administration
  • School of Applied Economics and Commerce
  • School of Political Science
  • School of International Journalism
  • Institute of European Law
  • International Institute of Administration
  • Institute of Foreign Economic Relations
  • International Institute of Energy Policy and Diplomacy
  • Preparatory Training Department
  • Department of Faculty Development

MGIMO provides training in the fields of international relations, political science, global economy, law, management, journalism and public relations to 4,500 undergraduate students as well as graduate researchers. The faculty of about 1,100 includes more than 150 professors (holding a "Doctor of Sciences" degree), more than 400 holders of "Candidate of Sciences" degree, 300 associate professors, as well as over two dozen full and correspondent members of the Russian Academy of Sciences and various specialised Russian and international academies, nine Merited scientists of Russia.


The MGIMO-University library contains over 700,000 volumes in books and magazines in Russian and more than 30 foreign languages. The library also includes the Museum of Rare Books which boasts a collection of 21,000 unique volumes.

Student life[edit]

The university is famous for its students' activity. There are several main students organizations active at the university:


Famous MGIMO alumni include:

In July 2010 Yuri Fedotov, another of MGIMO alumni was appointed Executive Director of the UNODC. Andrey Tatarinov, a career ambassador and diplomat has also attended. Another graduate is European Commissioner Štefan Füle.

Famous business personalities in Russia, who studied at MGIMO include billionaires Alisher Usmanov and Vladimir Potanin.

For more information about MGIMO alumni visit List of MGIMO alumni

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Müller, Martin (2009). Making great power identities in Russia: an ethnographic discourse analysis of education at a Russian elite university. Zürich: LIT. ISBN 978-3643900104. 
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Contemporary Russian Culture, Smordisnkaya et al., 2007 Edition, pp. 400-401
  3. ^ MGIMO-University Official Website, "WHY MGIMO," last updated 2016
  4. ^ Müller, Martin (2009). Making great power identities in Russia: an ethnographic discourse analysis of education at a Russian elite university. Zürich: LIT. ISBN 978-3643900104. 
  5. ^ MGIMO-University Official Website, "MGIMO History," last updated 2016
  • "Moscow State Institute of International Relations ." Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the MFA of Russia. N.p., 2010. Web. 15 Oct. 2010.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°40′20″N 37°29′13″E / 55.67222°N 37.48694°E / 55.67222; 37.48694