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MPI Honors the Life of Founding President Dr. Demetrios G. Papademetriou
Press Release
Friday, January 28, 2022

MPI Honors the Life of Founding President Dr. Demetrios G. Papademetriou

WASHINGTON — It is with profound sadness that we share word of the loss and celebrate the remarkable legacy of Migration Policy Institute President Emeritus and co-founder and MPI Europe founder Demetrios G. Papademetriou, who died Wednesday, January 26, at the age of 75. He was one of the world's pre-eminent scholars and lecturers on international migration, with a rich body of scholarship shared in more than 275 books, research reports, articles and other publications. He also advised numerous governments, international organizations, civil society groups and grant-making organizations around the world on immigration and immigrant integration issues.

For Dr. Papademetriou's obituary or to leave any memories for his family, please click here.
And to read a collection of tributes to his life and legacy, click here.

For some of his writings, click here.

A Video Tribute

Friends and colleagues around the world pay tribute to Demetrios G. Papademetriou in this short video.

Papademetriou co-founded MPI in 2001 and served as its President until 2014, when he became President Emeritus and Distinguished Transatlantic Fellow, positions he held until his death. He also was the founding President of MPI Europe, MPI's Brussels-based sister organization that launched in 2011. And he was the convenor of MPI's Transatlantic Council on Migration, which since 2008 has brought together senior public officials, business leaders and scholars from Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia to explore common migration policy challenges and sharpen government responses to them.

"Demetri was a larger-than-life figure who dedicated his life to understanding the complex nuances of international migration in all its forms. He used that knowledge to advance pragmatic, smart immigration and immigrant integration policies that work in the interest of all elements of society," said MPI President Andrew Selee. "As we mourn the passing of this giant in the field, we know that his thought leadership and influence will live on through his published works and the countless people he advised and mentored over his distinguished career."

MPI Board of Trustees Chair Lidia Soto-Harmon, who first worked with Papademetriou at the U.S. Department of Labor where he was Director for Immigration Policy and Research in the late 1980s and early 1990s, said: "For decades, Demetri has been recognized and relied upon by policymakers across the globe for his learned and non-ideological advice for better managing migration.

"Demetri accomplished a tremendous amount during his influential career," she added. "One of his most important acts was recognizing that the immigration field was missing an essential element: A research and policy ideas lab that brought together in one place exceptional, evidence-based research with true knowledge of the policymaking world and its political realities. MPI was the result, and its work is as relevant today as it was at its founding twenty years ago."

Papademetriou was invited to provide advice to numerous national governments on migration and immigrant integration policymaking, including those of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany and Australia, and also to the European Commission and a number of EU presidencies. He testified before the U.S. Congress and numerous other legislative bodies and also convened the Task Force on Immigration and America's Future, an influential effort that led to broad understandings among different sectors of American society on how to manage migration.

Papademetriou began his career as Executive Editor of the International Migration Review. After stints at Population Associates International and the U.S. Labor Department, he served as Chair of the Migration Group of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. He then joined the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's International Migration Policy Program, which in 2001 was spun off to create the freestanding Migration Policy Institute.

He co-founded Metropolis: An International Forum for Research and Policy on Migration and Cities, which he led as International Chair for the initiative's first five years and then served as International Chair Emeritus. He was Chair of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Migration (2009-11) and founding Chair of the Advisory Board of the Open Society Foundations' International Migration Initiative (2010-15).

Papademetriou, who traveled the world lecturing and speaking at public conferences and private roundtables, also taught at the University of Maryland, Duke University, American University and the New School for Social Research.

Survivors include his wife, Margie McHugh, also a widely known scholar on immigrant integration policy, and his children, Niko and Natalie.