Faculty of Economics & Business - Zagreb

The departure of academician Alica Wertheimer–Baletić


Ms. Alica Wertheimer–Baletić, a longtime professor at the Zagreb Faculty of Economics & Business and a fellow of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, left us on September 2, 2022. She has worked for a full 47 years, advancing from assistant to full professor in a permanent position, at the Faculty of Economics & Business in Zagreb. With her scientific and pedagogical activities, Alica Wertheimer-Baletić joins the group of the most respected professors of the Zagreb Faculty of Economics & Business of all times. She contributed to the reputation and recognition of the Zagreb Faculty of Economics & Business, not only in Croatia and the immediate environment but also within international scientific and political institutions. With her works in the field of demography, the professor played a key role in the establishment and development of modern demography in Croatia as a scientific and teaching discipline and established herself as a scientist with an international reputation. Since the beginning of the 1970s, she has appeared in the media and introduced demographic topics to the wider Croatian public and raised awareness of demographic issues.
Academician Alica Wertheimer-Baletić was born on December 10, 1937, in Vukovar, where she completed elementary school and high school. She graduated from the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb in 1960, obtained her master's degree in economic sciences in 1964, and reached Ph.D. in 1965. In the academic year 1966/1967 she was on a study stay at the University of Chicago, USA. At the Zagreb Faculty of Economics, she was elected an assistant at the beginning of 1961, an assistant professor in 1966, an associate professor in 1972, and a full professor in 1976. Professor Alica Wertheimer-Baletić has left, in terms of the subject, a varied and impressive collection of scientific papers: she has written 20 books and chapters in books, 18 studies, and monographs, 157 articles, announcements at scientific meetings, and contributions to various proceedings. She also wrote numerous professional and journalistic articles and contributions, encyclopedic entries in the field of demography for the Croatian Encyclopedia and the General Encyclopedia, as well as numerous book reviews, professional and scientific studies, and scientific projects. She taught the Political Economy of Capitalism, and later only Demography at the graduate and postgraduate studies, as a complete course, or specific thematic blocks at other constituents of the University of Zagreb. She is the founder of the Department of Demography at the Faculty of Economics & Business of the University of Zagreb (1997), as well as the head of the department for many years. She taught post-graduate studies (the entire course or individual thematic units) in Osijek, Sarajevo, Skopje, at the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, the Faculty of Political Sciences, and the Interuniversity Center in Dubrovnik. From 1968 to 1972, she was head of the Demographic Department of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Zagreb. From 1985 to 1989, she was one of the directors of the international postgraduate study "Demographic Trends and Population Policies" at the Interuniversity Center in Dubrovnik, etc. She was also the president of the scientific section for demography at the Union of Statistical Societies of Yugoslavia.
Of the international activities of academician Alice Wertheimer-Baletić, the one related to the work in the United Nations is the most prominent. She participated in Geneva in 1993 as a member of the delegation of the Republic of Croatia at the European Conference on Population under the auspices of the United Nations, where she submitted the National Report on the Population of Croatia. As an expert in demography, she was appointed as a member of the delegation of the Republic of Croatia to prepare the final document of the UN Conference on Population and Development (New York, April 4-21, 1994). From 1998 to 2002, as an expert in demography, she represented Croatia in the oldest UN commission, the UN Commission on Population and Development. At the 33rd session of the Commission for Population and Development in New York (March 27-31, 2000), she was elected vice-president of the said commission for one mandate period. She participated in numerous research projects and conferences, scientific meetings, symposiums, and colloquiums on population in Croatia and abroad: London, Liège (Belgium), Windsor (Canada), Toronto, Bucharest, Prague, Bratislava, Kyiv, Helsinki, Florence, Rome, Jüvaskyla (Finland), Vienna, Graz, Budapest, Geneva, and several times participated in New York in the work of UN Commission on Population and Development.
Ms. Wertheimer-Baletić participated in the work of many scientific and professional associations, among which we particularly highlight the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (since 1969) and the European Association for Population Studies (since 1989). She was a member of the editorial boards and advisory boards of many journals, such as European Population Journal, Acta oeconomico-historica, Statistical Review, Economic Review, Encyclopaedia Moderna, Population - Institute of Social Sciences, Village Sociology, Rad - HAZU, Contemporary Economic Problems - HAZU, Annals of the Institute for Scientific Work of HAZU in Osijek, Proceedings of the Faculty of Economics - Rijeka (magazine), Review - Sarajevo.
In 1986, she was elected an associate member, and in 1992, a full member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU). From 1995 to 2000, she was the secretary of the Department of Social Sciences of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, then a member of the Presidency of HAZU, from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2010. In one mandate period, she was vice president of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. She was the president of the Committee for Awards of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. In October 2004, she was elected a full member of the Acadèmie Europèenne des Sciences, des Arts et des Lettres in Paris.
For her scientific work, she has received several awards, among which we highlight the Mijo Mirković Award (which she has been awarded seven times at the Faculty of Economics & Business in Zagreb), the Award of the City of Zagreb (with colleagues) in 1977, the Republic Award of Božidar Adžija for contribution to the development of demography in Croatia in 1983. in 2003, the Annales Pilar award for contribution to the progress of demography in Croatia. In 2000, she received the State Award for lifetime achievement in the field of social sciences, and in 2013, she received the Golden Kuna Award of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce for lifetime achievement in the field of social sciences "for an exceptional contribution to the development of demography and demographic research in Croatia". For her scientific work, she was awarded the Order of Danica Hrvatska with the image of Ruđer Bošković (1995) and the order with the image of Katarina Zrinska (1996).
Once again, should be highlighted the great contribution of academician Alice Wertheimer-Baletić to the development of contemporary demography as a scientific and teaching discipline, not only at the Zagreb Faculty of Economics & Business but also in Croatia. The development and setup of contemporary demography in Croatia as a teaching and scientific discipline has a long path of evolution. Since the end of the 1940s, the Zagreb Faculty of Economics became the focus of the development of demographic statistics and demography as a scientific and teaching discipline. After the assistant professor Wertheimer-Baletić in the academic year 1970/1971 was co-leader of the Demography course along with professor Serdar, the following academic year (1971/1972) she became the course leader by herself.  Her taking over the Demography marked the beginning of the transition of the course from the study of demographic statistics to the study of topics in the spirit of contemporary demography. A textbook on demography published in 1973 places professor Alica Wertheimer-Baletić of the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb as the founder of modern demography in Croatia. From 1971 until her retirement in 2008, academician Alica Wertheimer-Baletić was the continuous host and performer of the Demography course. To the academician, Alice Wertheimer-Baletić's textbooks should be added the whole row of books and articles, especially those on economic demography and population development in Croatia. Thus, in addition to the works of other demographers, students and scientists had access to numerous pieces of literature dealing not only with the development of the population of Croatia and its specific regions but also with long-term demographic processes in the world and Europe, with an emphasis on the economic effects of population aging and the development of population policies in selected European countries. With works on general and economic demography, she showed that economic demography is indispensable for the education of economists since it thematizes economic phenomena in a demographic context by analyzing all segments of the overall development policy. In numerous works, she considered the mutual connection and interaction between population dynamics, structural changes, and socio-economic changes, both current and foreseeable future trends. She considered the population and its structures according to different characteristics as a starting and unavoidable factor that is a very important determinant of the overall development of society.
Professor Wertheimer-Baletić will be remembered by her students as an excellent lecturer, thoroughly prepared with lots of notes on small papers with a large amount of demographic and statistical material that she wrote on the board during class. The lectures showed that she is up to date with the latest research in the world in terms of demographic topics. She gave dignity to the subject she was teaching with her posture, calm dealings with students, and persuasive presentation of the topic. The professor left a strong impression on students and colleagues showing that she loves the demographic topic she researches and presents. Sincere interest and commitment to demography and demographic research was the professor's only criterion when choosing collaborators and accepting mentoring for graduate, master's, and doctoral theses. During her teaching career, she was a mentor for 24 doctorates, 35 master's theses, and hundreds of graduate theses. All of those who received their doctorates from academician Alice Wertheimer-Baletić remained in science, showing thus undoubtedly that she has confirmed herself as an extremely successful scientist, mentor, and pedagogue. Academician and professor Alica Wertheimer–Baletić remains inscribed in the history of the development of demography in Croatia as the founder of modern demography. Her world was the world of demography and she lived in her own "world of demography". In addition to all that, Professor Alica Wertheimer–Baletić will remain in our memory as an energetic, approachable, and benevolent person with a highly developed empathy for her students and colleagues.
Our dear and respected professor, rest in God's peace.
In Zagreb, September 4, 2022
Anđelko Akrap