55 and going strong: Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia marks jubilee

One of Russia’s largest and most prestigious academic institutions, the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (PFUR) marks its 55th anniversary this year. The university, which at one time was known for being the alma mater of many revolutionaries and freedom fighters in the developing world, is ranked in the 601-650 position in the latest QS World University Rankings. RBTH presents a historic gallery to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the university’s founding.
1.The Peoples’ Friendship University was established on February 5, 1960. Until the early 1990s, it bore the name of the first Prime Minister of Congo, Patrice Lumumba.
2. The USSR sought to spread the Russian language and culture to colonial and post-colonial states by providing training and education to young people from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
11. Despite all the changes it has faced, PFUR has managed to preserve an atmosphere of friendship between people from different countries and cultures.
7. In the late 1980s, PFUR was one of the first educational establishments in the USSR to switch to the Western model of higher education - offering a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.
10. The Peoples’ Friendship University has had notable alumni throughout its history, ranging from presidents and politicians, to linguists, medical researchers, historians and poets.
8. “In 1993, when I became rector, we had just 5,700 students from 109 countries. There are now 28,000 students and the number of students graduating in a single year is now the same as was the total number of students 20 years ago,” says the university's rector.
9. There are now 28,000 students from more than 150 countries studying at PFUR, even more than in the Soviet times.
4. On September 1, 1960, Russian language studies were introduced at the six main faculties: engineering, history & philology, medicine, agriculture, science, and law & economics.
3. During the height of the Cold War, Soviet leaders tried to promote Communist values.
6. A lot of politicians from Asia, Africa and Latin America visited the university. In April 1977, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was a guest of the university. His successor Mahmoud Abbas earned his doctorate degree at PFUR.
5. “It is necessary to create an opportunity for closer contacts daily, both in the dormitory and in the classroom. Everything will follow from there. Love will follow, kids will follow,” says the PFUR Rector Vladimir Filippov.
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