The Peoples’ Friendship University was opened in Moscow in 1960 to educate young people from Asia, Africa, and Latin America in medicine, agriculture, engineering, mathematics and science, and law. In addition to being a unique site of Second World-Third World encounter, the university was a symbol around which debates over imperialism, modernity, and development emerged. Instead of simply seeing the university through judgments of “success” or “failure,” this essay offers insight into Soviet self-presentation and its attempt to offer the Third World an alternative path to modernity.

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