Thousands of students and alumni have gathered in Moscow to celebrate the birthday of Russia’s People's Friendship University.
The university was founded 50 years ago and has produced hundreds of prominent scientists and statesmen who have gone on to work all over the world.
Around 30% of students of this one-of-a-kind institution of higher education come from abroad – mainly African, Asian and South American states. According to the university’s head Vladimir Filippov, its goal is to educate the global elite.
“When our students return home, they have to compete with graduates from universities in Europe and the US. Our school prepares members of the global elite. But not just the political elite – our students are highly qualified specialists in all areas from business and science to humanities,” he said.
Around 100,000 graduates of the university now work in approximately 165 different countries around the world.
President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, President of Honduras Porfirio Lobo Sosa, and President of Guyana Bharrat Jagdeo are among its most notable graduates.
The date of the university’s foundation, 1960, is a significant one as on this year many African countries gained their independence from colonial powers.
It was established in order to allow the new states to learn from the Soviet experience and established closer ties with the USSR.
“We need to remember that this is a unique educational institution. When it was founded it had unprecedented opportunities for young people from developing countries to receive quality education. Nowadays, it still fulfills the same function. Young people study here and go back home to become leaders in their field. The world needs this university,” Abdrakhman Silla, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Mali, who graduated from the PFUR in 1989, said.
A scientific conference and a festival will be held within the walls of the university to mark the anniversary.