MGIMO Anniversary Celebrations at Alexandrinsky Theater in St. Petersburg

MGIMO Anniversary Celebrations at Alexandrinsky Theater in St. Petersburg

30 November 2019

November 29th-30th, graduates and friends of MGIMO met up in St. Petersburg for the «MGIMO-on-Neva» meeting. A special edition of the play «Optimistic Tragedy. Farewell Ball», the winner of the «Golden Mask» theatrical award this year, was organized for the University at the famous Alexandrinsky theatre. The event was set up in the framework of the University’s 75th anniversary celebrations at the initiative of the Managing Director of the Alexandrinsky theatre and MGIMO graduate (International journalism) R. Dosmukhamedov, and sponsored by the General Director of the company «Northern Capital Highway» also an MGIMO graduate (International Economic Relations) A. Bnatov.

The place to hold the event was not chosen by chance as in April this year, MGIMO Rector A. Torkunov joined the Board of Trustees of the Alexandrinsky theatre, and an agreement on cooperation was signed between the theatre and MGIMO. Over the course of a few months, teams on both sides worked to implement the terms of the agreement, organizing a series of lectures and master classes on Russian culture and art, literature and drama. Ambitious plans have also been made for next year.

On the eve of the evening performance, which was postponed in order to meet the needs of the visiting guests, a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Alexandrinsky theater was held. The meeting was chaired by the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chairman of the Board of «Gazprom» A. Miller. The Governor of St. Petersburg A. Beglov and the former French Prime Minister (2007-2012) F. Fillon attended the meeting. A. Beglov spoke about the future development plans for the theatre and the role it plays in its urban environment. F. Fillon compared the Alexandrinsky theater to the Parisian Comedie Francaise, mentioning a number of different opportunities for the Russian theatre to cooperate with French artistic communities. Francois Fillon spent the whole evening with the group from MGIMO, actively discussing various aspects of the Trianon dialogue. A. Torkunov, during his speech at the Board of Trustees, spoke about cooperation between France and Russia in the sphere of theatres and described different directions of the Alexandrinka Theatre’s international activity, including cooperation with young Polish artists and a promising and complex Korean project.

The program for the first half of the day comprised a master class in TED-style on the «Creative economy», organized by MGIMO’s School of Business and the Alexandrinsky theatre. The Deputy Artistic Director of the Alexandrinsky Theater A. Chepurov and the Director of the School of Business A. Mirzoeva greeted the guests. A number of participants gave talks in TED format including the General Director of the European Business Coaching Center, the President of the Russian Representative Office of the International Coaching Federation (2010-2013) N. Dolina, the Research Director of the MGIMO MBA programs «Management in the Fashion Industry» and «Strategic Marketing and Management» D. Yadernaya, the Partner of the Moscow Bar Association GRAD, Head of the practice «Fintech, blockchain and cryptocurrency», the lawyer M. Agranovskaya and the Head of the International Relations Department of the Alexandrinsky theater A. Platunov.

All these activities were a prelude to the main event. In the evening guests attended the play «Optimistic Tragedy. Farewell Ball.» on the theatre’s historical stage, and those who arrived early visited the Museum of Russian Drama, which has a unique exhibition about the oldest Russian drama troupe. By half past eight, the room was full with eight hundred MGIMO graduates and friends of the University.

The meeting ahead of the performance was opened by MGIMO Rector A. Torkunov and the Artistic Director of the Theater V. Fokin. The Rector extended this thanks to the theatre for the warm welcome and gave V. Fokin and R. Dosmukhamedov the MGIMO Order of merit.

The performance was greatly appreciated by the audience, and no one in the hall was left unmoved. Artists on the stage bowed for a long time, held back by the incessant applause.

After the performance, the audience went to the new stage, where a ballroom dancing class was organized, at the initiative of MGIMO graduate E. Grafodatskaya. Over fifty couples danced the waltz, the quadrille, and the almost-forgotten Mazurka.

This part of the evening was kicked off by the General Director of «Northern Capital Highway» and MGIMO graduate (International Economic Relations) A. Bnatov. In his speech, A. Torkunov read out to the audience excerpts from the congratulations sent by UN Secretary-General A. Guterres for the University’s 75th anniversary. The meeting was attended by members of the University’s different clubs, representing Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Benelux countries, Spain, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Slovakia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Finland and Switzerland.

Foreign graduates of the University gathered at the first meeting of the International Council of the Alumni Association and met with MGIMO Rector A. Torkunov to discuss projects to expand the international reach of the association. The participants shared the results of meetings held abroad for the 75th anniversary of the University, and agreed to organize an international Council in different countries on a yearly basis.

On Saturday, the MGIMO delegation visited some of the main sites of St. Petersburg (the Russian Museum, the exhibition hall «Manege», the Imperial porcelain factory). The discussion on theatrical art continued at an intellectual brunch, sponsored by the Alexandrinsky theater.

The event was sponsored by MGIMO’s traditional partners, the company «Dixie» and the Kizlyar brandy factory.

— See the MGIMO web-site for russian version