MGIMO Awards Honorary Doctorate to UN Secretary-General António Guterres

MGIMO Awards Honorary Doctorate to UN Secretary-General António Guterres

13 May 2021

On May 13th during a solemn ceremony at the University the UN Secretary-General António Guterres was conferred an Honorary Doctor degree. The high-ranking guest was received by the Rector and Chairman of the United Nations Association of Russia Anatoly Torkunov. Following the ceremony, as is tradition, the Secretary-General delivered a doctoral lecture to students and faculty.

When introducing the Secretary-General, the Rector emphasized that MGIMO has traditionally maintained close cooperation with the United Nations: "The University has maintained the reputation for training first-rate international experts, with many of our graduates serving at international organizations, including the United Nations. I am sure that some of young people in today’s audience have already chosen their career path and seek to become part of the UN family."

Anatoly Torkunov thanked the Secretary General for his longstanding support and special attention to the Model United Nations. This year António Guterres’ message was read out to the participants at the C-MIMUN 2021 opening ceremony and greatly encouraged them.

"More than 30 years ago the United Nations Association of Russia brought to the country the idea of holding UN Youth Models, supported by MGIMO. During this time tens of thousands of university and secondary school students from all over the world have participated in them. I would like to highlight that this year the Association is celebrating its 65th anniversary," said the Rector.

To the strains of Gaudeamus anthem, Anatoly Torkunov announced the unanimous decision of the Academic Council of the University to award the degree of MGIMO Honorary Doctor to António Guterres for his outstanding contribution to strengthening peace, international cooperation and friendly relations between peoples. The Rector presented the guest with the mantle and diploma and gave the floor for the traditional doctoral lecture.

António Guterres thanked the Rector for his trust, noting that he was honored to visit Moscow just days after the Victory Day and receive a MGIMO Honorary Doctor degree. The Secretary-General also addressed the participants of the Vitaly Churkin Model United Nations and emphasized that Mr. Churkin was a unique diplomat who was a dedicated champion of the United Nations values.

The Secretary General’s doctoral lecture highlighted the challenges facing the global community in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, including economic and health matters, mass vaccination, sustainable development after COVID-19, as well as several other issues that require joint efforts of key global players such as climate change, nuclear agenda, terrorism, etc.

The lecture was followed by the traditional Q&A session. Journalists and students asked about the measures taken by the UN to combat the ideology of nazism and racism, the humanitarian aspects of the digital revolution, the effectiveness of the vaccination campaign in the fight against the pandemic, etc.

The event was attended by Special Assistant of the UN Secretary-General Miguel Graca, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Head of the Counter-Terrorism Office Vladimir Voronkov, Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN and the UN Security Council Vasily Nebenzya, Associate Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Stephanie Tremblay, Head of the UN Information Center in Moscow Vladimir Kuznetsov, as well as MGIMO Vice-Rector for Strategic Development Artem Malgin, and Head of UNESCO Department and Vice-President of the World Federation of the United Nations Associations Alexey Borisov.

Previously, MGIMO was visited by several UN Secretaries-General, including Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Kofi Annan, and Ban Ki-moon.