The Peoples’ Friendship University (UDN) was established in February 1960 for the purpose of training native professionals for the newly independent developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America liberated from colonialism in the 1950s and 1960s. UDN became the world’s first international higher education institution (HEI), and was initially meant for 3,500 foreign and 500 Soviet students. In its first decades, it was entirely funded by the Soviet government. UDN was founded as a traditional university, with a Faculty of Medicine (the Institute of Medicine since 2016), which was and remains its largest division. UDN’s popularity grew quickly, and today it offers more than 450 programmes and has 33,500 undergraduates, postgraduates and interns from 157 countries. They are taught by 2,800 lecturers, including 600 doctors of sciences and 1,400 candidates of sciences. The Institute of Medicine has 93 departments and a Simulation Training Centre, employing more than 1,000 lecturers and teaching more than 7,000 undergraduates, postgraduates and residents. In addition, thousands of physicians do professional development courses there. The institute offers courses in General Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Nursing, as well as Masters in Healthcare Management. Through their research work, the institute employees are contributing to the development of advanced areas of genetics, cytology, embryology and chronobiology, to the study of new medicines and diagnostic products and of the pathogenesis and clinical presentations of infectious diseases constituting a threat to public health, and to the development of new treatment technologies and methods for chronic, surgical and oncological diseases. Today, the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University) is a global, international centre of learning and research, that works closely with universities in more than 90 countries and features highly in global rankings. © TS Sorokina.