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Memorial University professor short-listed for prestigious national award

Ref. No. 30

DATE:     Oct. 24, 2001
RELEASE DATE:     Upon receipt
SUBJECT:     Memorial University professor short-listed for prestigious national award

Dr. Gerhard Bassler, History, Memorial University has been short-listed for the prestigious Raymond Klibansky Prize for 2000-2001 for his book, Alfred Valdmanis and the Politics of Survival. The prize awarded by the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada is given for the best Canadian scholarly works written in French and in English in the humanities and the social sciences.

Dr. Bassler's book is a biography of Alfred Valdmanis, best known for his infamous role in Premier Smallwood's scheme to industrialize Newfoundland. "Valdmanis, a Latvian immigrant, was appointed director general of economic development in 1950 with the understanding that through his connections to Europe he could entice German and Baltic industrialists to the isolated, rural island. His influence was brought to an abrupt end when, in 1954, he was charged with defrauding the government. The media, latching on to his murky past and his possible affiliations with war criminals, made him the scapegoat of Newfoundland's problems, painting him as part comedian, part sinister villain," said Dr. Bassler.

The prize, named after Dr. Raymond Klibansky, Professor Emeritus at McGill University, one of Canada's most eminent humanities scholars in classical and modern philosophy, is selected by a cross-Canada jury. It is designed to recognize excellence in research and writing and to acknowledge the significant contribution that Canadian scholarly books make towards the advancement of knowledge, of education, and of the discussion of important issues affecting society. Dr. Bassler expressed his surprise and delight at being short-listed for the honour.

Notice of the award is expected in early November.


For more information, contact: Deborah Inkpen, information officer (research), Memorial University, at 737-4073 or e-mail: inkpend@mun.ca


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