Fourth Joint Conference of MGIMO University and The Fletcher School

On April 1-2, 2019, the fourth joint conference of MGIMO University and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University was held in Boston. The event took place within the framework of an extensive partnership program between the two universities, which was established in 2017. The goals of the conference were to promote mutual understanding between the two leading diplomatic schools and to assess potential for cooperation between Moscow and Washington.

Earlier in March, a similar conference was held in Moscow. Simultaneously, an educational module was organized for students of MGIMO and The Fletcher School, during which they prepared joint reports on strategic stability and climate change. They presented their findings and policy recommendations to Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Ryabkov and to U. S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman.

The conference in Boston was kicked off by Andrey Baykov, Vice President for Graduate and International Programs of MGIMO; Ian Johnstone, Dean ad interim of The Fletcher School, and Daniel Drezner, Professor of International Politics and Co-Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at The Fletcher School. The main objectives of the conference were to discuss different approaches to the principle of non-interference in domestic affairs; compare the Russian and the U.S. understandings of alliances, partnerships, and coalitions; and analyze Russia-U.S. relations in the evolving world order.

Marina Lebedeva, Professor and Head of the World Politics Department at MGIMO; Tatyana Shakleina, Chair of the Department of Applied Analysis of International Issues at MGIMO; Andrey Sushentsov, Director of the Institute of International Studies at MGIMO and Program Director at the Valdai Discussion Club; and Igor Istomin,Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Analysis of International Issues at MGIMO participated in the roundtable discussion.

The roundtable discussion also included Professors Carolyn Gideon, Susan Landau, Richard Shultz, and Joel Trachtman of The Fletcher School as well as Richard Weitz, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at Hudson Institute, and Joseph Nye, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at Harvard University and former Dean of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

In addition, an MGIMO research team comprised of Igor Istomin, Andrey Sushentsov, and Andrey Baykov presented their interim results on the project “Typology of Modern Military-Political Alliances and Models of Relations Between Russia and its Allies,” which is carried out with the support of the Russian Science Foundation. Professors Monica Toft and Mihaela Papa of The Fletcher School participated as discussants, offering valuable recommendations for further research development.

The representatives of MGIMO also participated as guest lecturers in three academic courses of The Fletcher School. Tatyana Shakleina, Andrey Sushentsov, and Igor Istomin of MGIMO spoke in a course on the history of Russian foreign policy taught by Professor Chris Miller. Marina Lebedeva and Joseph Nye participated in Daniel Drezner’s class on power in international relations. Andrey Baykov spoke about the dynamics of international processes in Eurasia in a class on geopolitics, religion, and security in Eurasia taught by Professor Elizabeth Prodromou. Their lectures were of great interest to the students at The Fletcher School.

The conference ended with the presentation of the book titled Russia and the United States in the Evolving World Order, published in English by the MGIMO publishing house in 2018 under the general editorship of Anatoly Torkunov, Tatyana Shakleina, and Norma Noonan (Augsburg College). Co-editor Tatyana Shakleina, co-authors Andrey Baykov and Igor Istomin, as well as Chris Miller, Assistant Professor of International History and Co-Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at The Fletcher School, who previously published a positive review of the book in the prestigious foreign policy magazine Orbis, participated in the panel discussion.

Students of previous joint educational modules and courses between The Fletcher School and MGIMO University were widely involved in the two-day conference events. The MGIMO delegation was received by Ian Johnstone, Dean ad interim of The Fletcher School. The parties underlined the strategic level of cooperation and positively assessed the regular nature of joint academic courses and student exchanges. Both schools are members of APSIA, the oldest club of the most prestigious schools of international relations, numbering 38 universities from around the world.

The discussions did not always allow U.S. and Russian experts to overcome their differences. Nevertheless, they prompted a deeper understanding of one another’s positions. The joint conference attracted substantial student and public interest. Representatives of the two leading diplomatic schools of Russia and the United States agreed to continue fruitful educational and academic cooperation, including holding another joint conference in Moscow in March 2020 and a panel discussion at the next Annual Convention of the International Studies Association.

This piece was translated and republished from MGIMO website.

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