It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Professor Hubert Gérard, Emeritus Professor at the Catholic University of Louvain, on 23 September 2023.
After obtaining a degree in political and social sciences from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain) in 1963, Hubert Gérard began training in demography at the Institut de démographie de l'Université de Paris in 1964 before going on to complete a doctorate at UCLouvain. Already heavily involved in the new demography department at this university in 1963, he was appointed professor in 1970. He held several positions within the university until his retirement in 2001. In particular, he directed the International Centre for Training and Research in Population and Development (CIDEP) under the aegis of the United Nations. In his many roles, Hubert Gérard was a highly involved leader who listened to everyone and was appreciated for his ability to build consensus.
Hubert Gérard was also a man of practical and intellectual implementation of interdisciplinarity. As a sociologist and demographer, he worked throughout his career to open demography to interdisciplinary approaches. He invited and encouraged colleagues and students to break down disciplinary boundaries so that they could find the resources to tackle the major issues facing humanity. He edited a reference work on the 'Sociology of Populations' with Victor Piché, and with the book 'Integrating Population and Development' with Michel Loriaux. As a professor at UCLouvain, as well as visiting professor at the Institut de formation et de recherche démographique (IFORD) and the Centre de démographie ONU-Roumanie (CEDOR), Hubert Gérard left his mark on many generations of students. From the 1970s, Hubert Gérard was also an active member of several demography associations (IUSSP, PAA, Société belge de démographie, AIDELF). For example, at the IUSSP Congress in Liège (1971), he organised the session on "Demographic policies on fertility". He also represented the IUSSP on the CEDOR Advisory Committee in Bucharest in 1984.
Hubert Gérard was a man of conviction and openness. He had a sincere respect for the skills and opinions of others without compromising the scientific rigour and humanist values for which he fought. A man of dialogue, responsibility, openness, justice, respect, rigour and humour, Hubert Gérard will remain an example to many of us. We salute his memory for all these reasons and for the remarkable man he was.
Anyone wishing to share a memory or reflection on a page in tribute to Hubert Gérard can send it to Isabelle Theys at the Centre de recherche en démographie de l'UCLouvain (firstname.lastname@example.org). These can be accessed here.
His colleagues and former students at UCLouvain