Moscow State Institute of International Relations

Moscow State Institute of International Relations (Russian: Московский государственный институт международных отношений (Университет) МИД России, often abbreviated as MGIMO University, MGIMO (МГИМО)) 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 is one of the top universities in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, as well as a think tank. MGIMO is reputable for the prominent role of teamwork, analytical thinking, critical reasoning, and strategic planning as key aspects of its training methodologies.

MGIMO University
Московский государственный институт международных отношений
EstablishedOctober 14, 1944; 75 years ago (1944-10-14)
Endowment1,7 billion roubles (27 million euros)
RectorAnatoly V. Torkunov
Academic staff
1,254 (2019)
Students9,729 (2019)
Officiaتحانتننوحتاما۹ق۷۳۸۷۴۷۴۸۳۶۶۷۳۸۵۵۳۷کرتبتبنابتl logo

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] It is the alma mater of the largest number of Forbes list members and representatives of the political elite according to Forbes Russia.[4]

MGIMO offers numerous educational programs in 18 key fields of study, including international relations and regional studies, politics, governance, diplomacy, world economy, law, journalism, foreign trade and management, energy affairs, linguistics, and environmental studies. It offers MBA and Executive MBA programs, and pre-university tutorials as well. According to the Guinness Book of Records, MGIMO teaches 53 full time languages during every academic term, the most in any academic institution.[5]

The University pays special attention to distance learning and digital technologies. Since 2016, MGIMO has been recording and publishing its distance courses at Coursera.[6] As of today, Coursera contains 20 courses by MGIMO professors.  MGIMO has integrated an LMS (Electronic Learning Management System) in the educational process.[7] Moodle and Stepik (Russia) platforms are used as well.

MGIMO has three campuses – in Moscow, in the Moscow Region and in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) as well as an educational centre for law studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Today, there are about 10,000 students at MGIMO from 74 countries. International students account for about 16% of the total number of students.

In 2020 MGIMO has started to implement a new Development Strategy designed for the University by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) - a management consulting firm and one of the leaders on global market.[8]

MGIMO is a centre for the Russian-French Trianon Dialogue, the Russian-Czech Discussion Forum,[9] the Russian-Austrian forum Sochi Dialogue, ASEAN Centre.[10]


MGIMO was founded on 14 October 1944 by a special decree of the Soviet Government on the basis of the recently established School of International Relations of the Lomonosov Moscow State University. The first 200 students were veterans who had survived in the Second World War and were determined to build international peace and stability.

By early 1950s, MGIMO comprised three schools, since its ancestor, the School of History and International Relations was added by the School of International Law and the School of International Economic Relations. In 1954 the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies, one of the oldest Russian institutes and the successor of the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages created in 1815, was integrated into MGIMO.

In 1958, MGIMO incorporated one more university – of Foreign Trade – and became the national leader of education and expertise in International Relations.

In 1969 the School of Journalism and the School of Law were added to the scope of education and research fields.

In the second half of 1980s MGIMO became a fully open institution. In 1989, admission on a commercial basis started and first students from Western countries began to arrive. In the late 1980s, MGIMO became the first national university to establish its own business school that later in 2012 emerged as the School of Business and International Proficiency.

1992 saw the creation of the School of International Business and Business Administration.

In 1994 MGIMO was granted university status but traditionally contains the word institute in its name. The same year saw the creation of the International Institute of Administration. The same year a Department of Politics was introduced within the School of International Relations and evolved into the separate School of Political Science in 1998.

The next decade saw the further buildup of reforms and improvement of educational quality, including newly opened schools and Master programs with the number of partnering universities abroad. In 2000, two educational divisions were established - Institute of Energy Policy and Diplomacy and School of Applied Economics and Commerce. In 2005, the European Studies Institute was opened on MGIMO basis.

In 2011, the Institute for Foreign Economic Relations was transformed into the School of Applied Economics and Commerce. In 2013 The School of Governance and Global Affairs was launched as the first Russian school to train international students in English at Bachelor’s level.

In 2016, MGIMO officially opened the Odintsovo Branch – its first campus located in the Moscow suburban area. The campus is also a home for MGIMO Gorchakov Lyceum.

In 2017, the International Institute of Administration and the School of Political Science merged into the School of Governance and Politics.

The school is a full member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA), a group of schools of public policy, public administration, and international studies.[citation needed]

International rankingsEdit

In Russia, MGIMO is the school that offers the best salaries to its graduates, above any other Russian university.[11]

Global university rankings

QS Overall 348

Global think tank rankings

University Affiliated Think Tanks 8
Most Significant Impact on Public Policy 33
Central and Eastern Europe 16

In recognition of its remarkable international education and research, MGIMO has been awarded «5 Stars» in the QS Stars Audit, thus becoming the first university in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and amongst BRICS countries to be bestowed with this accolade.[12]

MGIMO Odintsovo Campus

In 2020, MGIMO ranked 348th in the QS World University Rankings.[13] According to the employment rate of graduates in the first year after graduation, MGIMO ranks 1st - 100 points out of 100 possible.

In the same year, the Global Go To Think Tank Index Report 2019 ranked MGIMO 8th in the world in Best University Affiliated Think Tanks index, 33rd - Think Tanks with the Most Significant Impact on Public Policy, 16th - Top Think Tanks in Central and Eastern Europe.[14]


Today MGIMO comprises three campuses (Moscow, Moscow Region and Tashkent, Uzbekistan) , an educational platform in Geneva for law studies, ten schools, three institutes and one business school.

MGIMO schoolsEdit

  • School of International Relations
  • School of International Law
  • School of International Economic Relations
  • School of International Business and Business Administration
  • School of Applied Economics and Commerce
  • School of Governance and Politics
  • School of International Journalism
  • School of Preparatory Training
  • School of financial economy
  • School of linguistics and cross-cultural communication

MGIMO institutesEdit

  • International Institute of Energy Policy and Diplomacy
  • European Studies Institute
  • School of Governance and Global Affairs
MGIMO Tashkent Campus, Uzbekistan

MGIMO became one of the first Russian universities to establish their own business school. In 2019 the Advisory Board of the MBA Association (AMBA)[15] accredited the MBA and Executive MBA programs of the MGIMO Business School. The same year MGIMO joined European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD[16]) - leading international network and most respected professional association in business education and management.

There are 19 corporate departments at MGIMO, e.g. of the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia, of such companies as Rosneft, Transneft, ADV Group. MGIMO cooperates as well with other Russian universities - Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, National University of Science and Technology "MISiS", Stavropol and Kuban State Agrarian Universities:

  • Department of International Military-technical Cooperation and High Technology run by the Rostec State Corporation;
  • Department of Global Energy Policy and Energy Security run jointly by Rosneft Oil Company and MGIMO-based Rosneft’s Centre for corporate training and development;
  • Department of Foreign Economic Activities in Energy Transportation run by Transneft;
  • Department of Economics and Banking Business run by Gazprombank;
  • Department of International Transport Operations run jointly with Russian Railways and Ural Mining and Metallurgical company;
  • Department of World Electric Power Industry, jointly with Rosseti;
  • Department of Economic and Antimonopoly Regulation run by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia;
  • Department “ADV — Information Technology and Artificial Intelligence”;
  • Department of World Commodity Markets, jointly with Non-Commercial Partnership for Mining Industry Development Assistance and LCC “Karakan Invest”;
  • Department of Trade and Trade Regulations;
  • Department of International Complex Problems of Nature Management and Ecology;
  • Department of Economic Policy and Public-Private Partnership (sponsored by the Public-Private Partnership Development Centre and IKEA);
  • Department of Corporate Security, jointly with PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel;
  • Department of Global Processes in the Field of Subsurface Resources, jointly with Rosgeo;
  • Department of Regional Management and National Policy;
  • Department of Entrepreneurship and Corporate Governance (corporate department of “Business Russia” party);
  • Department of International Agrarian Markets and Foreign Economic Activity in the Agro-Industrial Complex (corporate department of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Russian Federation);
  • Department of the Ministry of the Housing and Utility Sector of the Moscow Region “Urban Infrastructure Management and Territorial Development”;
  • Department of Asset Management (in accordance with the cooperation agreement with Region Group company).

Dual degree programsEdit

A key priority of MGIMO international policy is the development of bilateral and multilateral international relations, and the promotion of educational and scientific exchange. Cooperation agreements with more than 170 foreign partners from 57 countries – universities, diplomatic academies, institutes, and research centers – help to ensure the highest global standards in educational and research work.[17]

The University has more than 30 dual/triple degree programs with the leading universities of Europe and America, undergraduate and postgraduate programs in English, French, Italian, German and Chinese.In implementing bachelor and master programs MGIMO partners with foreign universities, including Sciences Po, Bocconi University, Freie Universität Berlin, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

MGIMO Main Campus

Science and researchEdit

The University faculty represents more than a thousand professors and teachers, including about 20 members of the Russian Academy of Sciences, about 250 Drs.habil. and more than 700 Ph.Ds. Each year MGIMO has special courses of foreign visiting professors. Among them are, e.g. a famous American foreign policy expert from Columbia University Robert Legvold and Professor of Government at Dartmouth College (USA) William Wohlforth. The University often welcomes most prominent guests – Presidents, Prime Ministers, leaders of international organizations, who come to MGIMO to give a lecture to students.

MGIMO has granted honorary doctorate degrees to prominent foreign politicians, public experts, diplomats and scholars, working in the field of international relations and foreign policy among which President of France (2007–2012) Nikolas Sarkozy, President of the European Commission (1999–2004) Romano Prodi, President of the French Institute of International Affairs Thierry de Montbrial, Prince of Monaco Albert II, President of Chile Veronica Michelle Bachelet Jeria and many others.[18]

The Institute of International Studies of MGIMO comprises 12 research centers and accumulates the scientific and intellectual output of the University. Early the research structures were presented by Problem Research Laboratory for System Analysis of International Relations (1976-1990), Center for International Studies (1990-2004), and the Research Coordination Council for International Studies (2004-2009). These 12 centers now cover a wide range of international isues ranging from developments in the post-Soviet space to disarmament and conflict settlement, from the Asia Pacific to Middle East.

MGIMO is member of leading international organizations, including

MGIMO actively contributes to the Russian Political Science Association,[19] the United Nations Association of Russia (RISA),[20] a number of Russian foundations and non-governmental organizations, as well as leading global think tanks.

MGIMO University is the founding member of the Russian International Studies Association.[21] RISA is one of the most dynamic national associations dealing with international relations studies[citation needed] and a member of the International Studies Association (ISA). The goal of RISA is to preserve and develop the best traditions of interdisciplinary research and teaching in the sphere of international relations. RISA pursues the aim of maintaining a high professional level of research and teaching of international relations and world politics in Russia, as well as extending the network of professional contacts with foreign associations and establishing close ties between researchers and educators. The President of RISA is Anatoly Torkunov, Rector of MGIMO-University, Full Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. RISA conventions are held on a regular basis, publication of participants’ reports and articles following up. RISA is also an organizer of a series of international consortia, conferences, scientific and educational seminars and round tables.

Language studiesEdit

MGIMO teaches 53 languages; a Guinness world record.[citation needed]

Student lifeEdit

MGIMO provides a wide choice of opportunities for students’ social life.[22] The Cultural Center provides creative classes and events. Each student of the University has a full cultural panoply to choose from: Ballroom Dance, Modern Dance, the choir (PROXENOS)[1], the orchestra (SYMPHONY), a Literary and Poetry Club, the MGIMO Theatre, and a Painting Club.

The Volunteer Center, established in 2011, provides training for almost 1,000 students who have a chance to practice their skills at large international events. MGIMO volunteers have worked at the FIFA World Cup 2018, the XXII Olympic Games and the XI Paralympic Games.

MGIMO foreign students organize national clubs inside the International Students Association. The Association acts on the principles of openness, equality, voluntary participation, freedom and independence. Within each club, students have more opportunities to talk about their own culture and to integrate. They arrange National Gourmet Days and celebrate their national and religious holidays.

There is a number of other student clubs including Student Union,[23] Moscow International Model United Nations (MIMUN) (in 2017 was named after Vitaly Churkin), Student Science Society[24] (includes Business Club, Debate Club, Germanic Studies Club, etc.), Russian Association of Public Relations Students[25]


Over the years, more than 60,000 students have become MGIMO graduates including more than 12,000 foreign citizens from over 80 countries. In 1991, MGIMO Alumni Association[26] was founded to support the community of MGIMO graduates. The association comprises more than 14,000 members and consolidates 32 alumni clubs abroad. Among MGIMO graduates, there are three Presidents, 12 Foreign Ministers, eight Prime Ministers, and more than 1200 Ambassadors of Russia and other countries.

In 2006, the MGIMO Board of Trustees was established with Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, as its chairman. The trustees are Russian high-ranking officials and prominent public figures, mostly MGIMO alumni, as well as Russian and foreign leaders of business and philanthropic community (such as Ingvar Kamprad, the IKEA founder, and Frederik Paulsen, chairman of the board of directors of Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation in Lausanne). MGIMO was the first university in Russia to establish an Endowment Fund thanks to support of its graduates who are worldwide known philanthropists. MGIMO Endowment today is the biggest university foundation in Russia. It provides support to students projects and their foreign internships.[27]

Notable MGIMO alumni include:

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

For more information see also List of MGIMO alumni.


  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. ^ Kaz'mina, Irina; Mitkevich, Anastasia; Safronova, Anna (27 June 2019). "Университеты для будущей элиты. 100 лучших вузов России по версии Forbes". Forbes Russia (in Russian). Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Most languages taught in an academic institution". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) / МГИМО (Московский государственный институт международных отношений МИД России) Online Courses". Coursera. Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  7. ^ "Learning Management System (LMS)". Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  8. ^ "BCG at Moscow State Institute of International Relations | Career Opportunities". Retrieved 2020-06-11. External link in |website= (help)
  9. ^ "Czech-Russian forum established in Moscow | Prague Monitor". Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  10. ^ ASEAN, МГИМО. "ASEAN Centre in MGIMO-University, the MFA of Russia". Retrieved 2020-07-15.
  11. ^ "Russian universities where graduates get highest salaries are specified". Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  12. ^ "MGIMO Receives 5 QS Stars". Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  13. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2020". Top Universities. 2019-06-05. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  14. ^ "MGIMO in Ranking of the Best Think Tanks". Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  15. ^ Buchan, Ellen. "School of Business and International Proficiency, MGIMO University retains its place among elite MBA providers with AMBA re-accreditation". Association of MBAs. Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  16. ^ "List of Members - EFMD Global". Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  17. ^ "Partner Universities". Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  18. ^ "Honorary Doctorates". Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  19. ^ "Russian Political Science Association". Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  20. ^ "United Nations Association of Russia". Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  21. ^ "Home". Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  22. ^ "Social life". Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  23. ^ "Student Union". Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  24. ^ "Научное студенческое общество - Подразделения МГИМО". Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  25. ^ "Российская ассоциация студентов по связям с общественностью (РАССО) - Подразделения МГИМО". Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  26. ^ "Ассоциация выпускников МГИМО". Retrieved 4 June 2019.
  27. ^ "Brief information". Retrieved 2020-06-11.
  • "Moscow State Institute of International Relations ." Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the MFA of Russia. N.p., 2010. Web. 15 October 2010.

External linksEdit

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