The IUSSP Laureate is chosen annually by vote of the current IUSSP Council plus the Honorary (or past) Presidents. Previous awards have gone to Louis Henry (1991), Nora Federici (1992), E.A. Wrigley (1993), Nafis Sadik (1994), Jorge L. Somoza (1995). This year's award has been made to W.D. Borrie, known universally as Mick Borrie, Emeritus Professor of Demography and currently Visiting Fellow in the Demography Program, Australian National university, Canberra. He was elected to the IUSSP in 1949, served as Vice President 1957-59 and was a member of the Council, 1973-81. He organized the IUSSP's first regional conference, focussing on Asia and Oceania, in Sydney in 1967. He was also Chairman of the united Nations Population Commission, 1965-69.
Mick Borrie and his wife Alice were New Zealanders by origin but have been Australian residents and citizens since migrating 54 years ago. He was educated at the university of Otago where he secured a First Class Masters Degree and subsequently from 1939 at the university of Cambridge in Britain. He was appointed to the university of Sydney in Australia in 1942.
Mick Borrie's chief fame in the Asia-Pacific region is as the father of university demography and migrant studies in Australia. He taught population studies at Sydney university before taking up a Research Fellowship of the new Australian National university in 1947. An important event in Australian population studies was his appointment as Research Fellow in Demography in 1949, the first appointment to the new Research School of Social Sciences. It was due to his organizing ability and influence in the new university that he founded its Department of Demography in 1952, heading it first as Reader in Demography and then as Professor of Demography. In literal terms this was the first demography department and first demography chair in the world. Soon it was producing the world's first Masters and Doctoral degrees in demography (one of the first PhD students to be supervised by Mick was the author of this note). In due course, the Department became, as measured in various ways including the number of students, the largest graduate demography programme in the world, training hundreds of Asian and African demographers, as well as Australians.
Mick Borrie played a major role in the development of demography, and the social sciences more generally, in Australia and New Zealand. He was the Acting Head of the ANu's new Department of Sociology, 1965-68; Director of the ANu's Research School of Social Sciences, 1968-73; a founding member of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and its Chairman, 1962-64; founder and Foundation President of the Sociological Association of Australia and New Zealand, 1963-64; President of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science,1975-76; member of the Australian Government's Immigration Planning Council,1965-74; member of the Australian Government's Population and Immigration Council and chairman of its Demographic Committee, 1975-81; and chairman of Australia's National Population Inquiry, 1970-78.
He is the author of a series of books: Population Trends and Policies: A Study in Australian and World Demography, 1948; Immigration: Australia's Problems and Prospects, 1949; Italians and Germans in Australia: A Study of Assimilation, 1954; The Cultural Integration of Immigrants: A Survey Based on the Papers and Proceedings of the uNESCO Conference, Havana, 1959; The Crowding World, 1961; The Growth and Control of World Population, 1970; Population, Environment and Society, 1973; Population of Australia, Reports of the National Population Inquiry, 1975 and 1978; Immigration to New Zealand, 1854-1938, 1991; The European Peopling of Australia: A Demographic History 1788-1988, 1993. His contribution to the field is described in Jennifer Rowland, Gavin Jones and Daphne Broers-Freeman (eds.), The Founding of Australian Demography: A Tribute to W.D. Borrie, 1993, presented to him on his 80th birthday.
His monument remains the Australian National university's Department of Demography (the name of which was changed in 1989, over his and my protests, to 'Demography Program', so that the university could keep abreast of avant-garde fashions, but which nevertheless remains essentially unchanged).
President of the IUSSP