On September 1, 2015, the Russian Federation observed “Knowledge Day,” where top government officials visit schools throughout the country. During this occasion, His Excellency Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister to the Russian Federation, visited his alma mater, MGIMO University.
MGIMO Rector Anatoly Torkunov opened the ceremony and introduced Minister Lavrov.
During his remarks, Minister Lavrov pointed out that MGIMO, after celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2014, has fully unleashed its potential and turned into a globally renowned academic and educational centre in the area of international affairs and related fields. The Foreign Minister also noted that “the tradition of training highly qualified specialists in international relations did not start just 70 years ago, as MGIMO inherited following its merger with the Institute of Oriental Studies the scientific traditions, teaching staff and unique library of the famous Lazarev Institute”.
Minister Lavrov went on to share his insights into current international affairs, touching on the risks associated with the “Islamic State” and the need to apply the UN Charter principles in a universal manner. He also flagged up the role MGIMO has played in promoting international scientific cooperation between universities worldwide and informed the audience that MGIMO was designated the venue for the forthcoming Global University BRICS summit this October.
Following the Minister’s address to the students, he opened a Q&A session for the students, in which he explained Russia’s stances on different global affairs.
It was during this session that first year student from Malaysia Ikmal Khanafiah asked, “My first question is, how should we approach and resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and issue? And my second question is, after this event would you take a ‘selfie’ with me?”
Minister Lavrov replied, “Of course I would [in regards to the ‘selfie’].”
The event ended with Minister Lavrov leaving the hall and meeting with reporters and other students, who followed Ikmal’s lead in asking for selfies.