Remembering Ronald Inglehart
Ronald Inglehart, the founding father of the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, passed away on May 8th. Despite a serious illness, he worked until the last days of his life: last December, his book Religion's Sudden Decline was published by Oxford University Press, and in recent months he has been working on a new monograph on China. The death of the world-famous scientist was responded by the World Values Survey Association (WVSA), the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR), the International Political Science Association (IPSA), the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), the University of Michigan, as well as many other organizations, associations and a huge number of colleagues around the world. The words of memory and recollections about Inglehart were also published by his colleagues from the LCSR, which has recently been named after him.
“He was not only a supervisor but also a great companion”
Eduard Ponarin, Head of the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research (LCSR)
Inglehart contributed immensely to social sciences. He not only enriched political and social theory with ideas that greatly expanded our understanding of social, cultural and political change but also took part in creating several international data collection projects that allowed several generations of scholars to carry out comparative studies of a large number of countries.
The Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, which he founded, became the very first international laboratory at HSE and now bears his name. He took an active part in managing the LCSR projects and thus played an invaluable role in its formation and the development of many young scholars. Ron was charging us with his positive energy, amazing us with the depth of his knowledge and was not only a supervisor but also a great companion.
“The world has lost a great thinker and a beautiful mind”
Christian Welzel, Professor at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, LCSR ex-Academic Supervisor
Ron was my mentor. Without him, I would not stand where I am in my career. More than that, I received so much personal and emotional support from Ron, especially when I went through difficult personal times, like my divorce. I will always be grateful and never forget your hospitality in Ann Arbor. The many times and months I spent with Ron in our joint apartment in St. Petersburg will also remain unforgettable.
The world has lost a great thinker and a beautiful mind. I feel numb and so sad.
“He could give junior colleagues a head start”
Anna Almakaeva, LCSR Deputy Head
I had known Ronald Inglehart from his papers before we met in person in 2011. Although Ron was already 76 years old, he amazed me with his vitality and energy, he could give junior colleagues a head start. Despite all numerous merits, he had always remained a friendly, kind, and sociable person.
Ron was not only a talented scholar but also an excellent speaker, he could explain the very idea of his theory using simple straightforward arguments which a broader audience could easily understand. His contribution to the development of comparative studies in Russia was crucial. When he agreed to work at the HSE University as a scientific supervisor of the LCSR, he thus gave a unique opportunity for professional growth to many young scholars, including me. We will always remember him with great respect and gratitude.
“Devoted himself to science till the last”
Andrey Scherbak, LCSR Deputy Head
I joined the LCSR right after its foundation in 2010 and still work here... If not for Inglehart's interest in the post-Soviet space, the project of this Lab would not have happened, and who knows how my professional career would have turned out. <...> I remember Inglehart as a hard-working and open person with a strong interest in life. He listened to all ideas, did not refuse to participate in projects and he devoted himself to science till the last. We will all miss him very much...
“Warm memories forever”
Anna Nemirovskaya, LCSR Senior Research Fellow
Warm memories forever. We all will miss Ron, his incredible personality, his always inspiring advice and kind support.
“I thought he knew everything about the whole world”
Ekaterina Lytkina, LCSR Research Associate, PhD Student at BIGSSS
Can you imagine an academic who was always smiling? Who was always in a good mood? He was an extremely kind, wise, and open-minded person. I thought he knew everything about the whole world – his wideness of knowledge was unbelievable! He had a great feeling of what should be researched now... And his stories often sounded as fairy-tales (also just talks in a cafe) – and you could listen to them for ages...
It was my honor to discuss my research with him at various occasions. I remember him telling me that I do nice things, but I need to learn how to “sell them” to audience. Before he came in science, he used to work in an advertising agency.
I was so impressed by his optimism about the future – in any book or article of his. May it all be the way he predicted and hoped...
“Always full of energy and love for life”
Tatiana Karabchuk, LCSR Senior Associate Researcher, Associate Professor at the UAE University
Still cannot believe it... Always full of energy and love for life! <...> You brought so much to this world! Always in my heart...
“A man of the era, a man of immense magnitude”
Dmitry Zakotyansky, LCSR Associate Researcher
Ron was an incredibly cheerful person, excitingly, inspiringly and with great charisma telling us about how the world is changing globally for the better (not without difficulties but still changing). And he also had a very special attitude towards Russia. A man of the era, a man of immense magnitude.
<...> Although there has been – and still are – some controversy with his works, for me the very binding of his theory, the theory of Second Demographic Transition (most closely related to his ideas), his marvellous WVS data along with demographic data and Anatoly Vishnevsky's demographic history and lectures – all these has become for me an incredible explanatory mechanism, internally logical and consistent, mutually reasonable, integral in dynamics and in space and linking various datasets with each other. A mechanism giving answers to so many questions at once...