On September 1st, the Russian Federation observed “Knowledge Day”, where top government officials visit schools all throughout the state. During this occasion, His Excellency Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister to the Russian Federation, graced his alma mater, MGIMO University, with his presence.
In room 314, students awaited the Minister’s arrival, to which he was greeted by a rain of applause. The whole event was in Russian; however, students from the School of Government and International Relations, BA in Governance and International Affairs (English), were given wireless headphones in order to listen to the translators on Channel 2.
First year BA student Boian Venev, from Bulgaria, describes his experience as one that sets the mood for the next four years. He states, “Mr. Lavrov gave an eye-opening speech that gave insight into the conservatism of Russian politics. In addition, it was inspirational, especially for all the first year students.”
Following the Minister’s address to the students, he opened a Q&A session for the students, in which he explained Russia’s stances on different global affairs.
It was during this session that a first year BA student from Malaysia, Ikmal Khanafiah got up and asked, “My first question is, how should we approach and resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and issue? And my second question is, after this event would you take a ‘selfie’ with me?”
Minister Lavrov replied, “Of course I would [in regards to the ‘selfie’].”
When asked about his experience Ikmal describes it as, “one of the best starts to put the next four years into motion.”
In regards to his reasoning he states, “I just wanted to see Mr. Lavrov smile; the atmosphere of the whole event seemed a bit too serious. However, I was at the same time concerned about the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli issue, to which I wanted to gain some wisdom and advice for later on down the road. Furthermore, I also want to set the tone for my future career in politics because when I become Prime Minister of Malaysia, I aim to have stronger relations with Russia for it is a great country, and I believe that the future of the world lies in the East. Meeting Mr. Lavrov is an unforgettable experience, but I would like to be able to meet with President Vladimir Putin since he has been my role model for a very long time.”
The event ended with Minister Lavrov leaving the hall and meeting with reporters and other students, who followed Ikmal’s lead in asking for selfies.