ITMO University, the leading Russian center in photonics research and education, has the mission to train highlyqualified competitive professionals able to act in conditions of fast-changing world. This paradigm is implemented through creation of a strategic academic unit ITMO Photonics, the center of excellence concentrating organizational, scientific, educational, financial, laboratory and human resources. This Center has the following features: dissemination of breakthrough scientific results in photonics such as advanced photonic materials, ultrafast optical and quantum information, laser physics, engineering and technologies, into undergraduate and graduate educational programs through including special modules into the curricula and considerable student’s research and internships; transformation of the educational process in accordance with the best international educational practices, presence in the global education market in the form of joint educational programs with leading universities, i.e. those being included in the network programs of international scientific cooperation, and international accreditation of educational programs; development of mechanisms for the commercialization of innovative products – results of scientific research; securing financial sustainability of research in the field of photonics of informationcommunication systems via funding increase and the diversification of funding sources. Along with focusing on the research promotion, the Center is involved in science popularization through such projects as career guidance for high school students; interaction between student’s chapters of international optical societies; invited lectures of World-famous experts in photonics; short educational programs in optics, photonics and light engineering for international students; contests, Olympics and grants for talented young researchers; social events; interactive demonstrations.