Foundation and History

Dedicated to Friendship

Peoples’ Friendship University (PFU) was founded on 5th February, 1960 by the USSR Government. On 22nd February, 1961, the University was named after Patrice Lumumba — one of the symbols of the African peoples’ fight for independence. Students and academics could be free to pursue their learning, teaching, and research activities at PFU, without being subject to political context, but firmly directed to the grand principles of friendship and mutual support.


International from the Very Beginning

In 1960, Russian language studies for international students started at the preparatory Faculty. On 1st September, the Russian language studies were introduced at the six main PFU faculties (Engineering faculty, faculty of History and philology, Medical faculty, Agricultural faculty, faculty of Science, faculty of Law and economics). The first 288 students from 47 countries graduated in 1965. The University started to expand. Generous donations from the Soviet Government enabled  PFU in 1966 to start the construction of a new campus in the South-Western district of Moscow.

By 1975, the University had more than 5600 graduates, among them 4250 people from 89 foreign countries. That year, the University was awarded the Peoples’ friendship Order for achievements in training experts for Asian, African and Latin America countries. The University’s name was changed to the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia on 5th February, 1992 by the RF Government, which is considered the University’s founder.

To remain relevant and to compete academically and intellectually with other high-ranked international universities of Europe and Asia, RUDN throughout its history made connections with academic institutions and leading academic figures elsewhere in Eastern and Western Europe, and all over the world. What started out of necessity soon became a success strategy: RUDN currently maintains ca. 100 partnerships at the university-wide level, including academic exchange network and joint program-partnerships.

Today Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia is one of the leading state higher educational institutions of Russia. It is the only university in the world every year uniting students from 140 countries. The University has a multidisciplinary structure of faculties and majors, typical for classical universities of the world. More than 77 thousand graduates of the University work in 170 countries, among them more than 5500 holders of PhD and Doctorate degrees. Specialists are prepared in 62 majors and lines of study. More than 29 thousand graduate and postgraduate students from 140 countries are currently studying at the university. They represent more than 450 nations and nationalities of the world. The University is a renowned research center. It is a team of 4500 employees, among them 2826 highly qualified teachers. The University intellectual fund comprises more than 870 author’s invention certificates and 150 patents of the Russian Federation in practically all fields of University scientific research.

Many foreign and Russian political and public figures and outstanding scholars and scientists became RUDN Emeritus Professors. Among them are presidents of Namibia, Angola, Sri Lanka and South African Republic, Gabon and Nigeria; prime-ministers of Bangladesh, Kazakhstan; UN Chief Executive Officer on Education, Culture and Science; Director of CEPES.


RUDN Continuity

Professor Sergey Vasilievich Rumiantsev, Doctor of engineering, Honored scientist of the RF, was the first Rector of the University. He actively took part in the foundation of the University and remained its Rector till 1970.

Professor Vladimir Frantsevich Stanis, Honored scientist of the RF, Doctor of economics, became the second Rector of the PFU. It was he who proclaimed the «cult of knowledge» at the University, heading it from 1970 to 1993. In this period, the Peoples’ Friendship University became a major international scientific and educational centre.

From 1993 to 1998, RUDN was headed by Vladimir Mikhailovich Filippov, a 1973 PFU named after Patrice Lumumba graduate. He held the position of the Minister of education of the RF from 1998 to 2004, and was appointed the Primeminister’s Assistant on culture and education in 2004. In the period since 1998 to 2005, RUDN was headed by professor Dmitry Petrovich Bilibin, a 1966 RUDN named after Patrice Lumumba graduate, Honored scientist of the RF, Doctor of medical sciences. He was acting Rector till 2004, and was elected Rector of the University in 2004. V.M. Filippov, professor, Doctor of sciences in physics and mathematics, member of the Presidium of the Russian academy of education, was reelected Rector of the RUDN on 4th March, 2005, and has been heading the University since then.