Latvian official returns to alma mater as visiting scholar

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News
Photo of Dr. Ilmars .


KALAMAZOO—A high-ranking Latvian official and graduate of Western Michigan University will return to his alma mater as a visiting scholar and present two public lectures in early October.

Dr. Ilmars Mezs, head of the International Organization for Migration in Riga, Latvia, since 1998, will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, at the Latvian Community Center, 100 Cherry Hill Drive in Kalamazoo. His topic is "Latvia in Post-1990s Europe." Mezs also will speak at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, in Room 2708 of WMU's Wood Hall on "Population Geography of Latvia: Trends for the 21st Century." In addition, Mezs will make several other presentations on campus.

Ilmars Mezs

Mezs obtained a bachelor's degree at the University of Latvia and a master's degree in geography at WMU. He earned a doctoral degree at the University of Latvia in Latvian history.

Mezs' main research interests lie in the area of population geography. He has worked in Kiev as IOM program and training officer and has been an advisor to the special assignments minister for social integration and an expert with the Society Integration Foundation and the governmental group working towards the ratification of the framework convention for the protection of national minorities.

Mezs has written many articles on society integration, minorities, demography and migration issues and this year received the WMU Department of Geography's Outstanding Alumni Award.

WMU Visiting Scholars and Artists Program

Mezs' visit is through the WMU Visiting Scholars and Artists Program. Established in 1960, the program provides funds for academic units to bring distinguished scholars and artists to campus. These visitors meet with faculty and students in their fields and address the community.

Since the program began, it has supported more 600 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 60 academic disciplines. Mezs' visit also sponsored by the departments of Geography, History and Sociology, the Mallinson Institute for Science Education and the Haenicke Institute for Global Education. Call (269) 387-3410 for more information.