Alfred Hecht is the Former Associate Director of the Viessmann Research Centre on Modern Europe at Laurier. He was the founding Director from 2001 to 2005. In addition, he was the Director of Laurier International and International Relations from 1999 to 2005. His academic background and interest is in urban and regional development focusing on Canada, Europe, Russia and Paraguay. He has published more then 80 articles/chapters and books in various local, national and international journals. His graduate degrees are from Clark University (PhD) and the University of Manitoba (MA) while his honorary degree is from the Free University of Berlin.
In addition to his above mentioned administrative positions, he has also been the chair of the Geography and Environmental Department at Wilfrid Laurier University for some 12 years, and another seven years and its graduate officer. Furthermore, he also served for a three year term as the Director for the joint graduate program in Geography between Laurier and the University of Waterloo (1999-2001). In addition he has served on the Senate for a number of terms as well as on the board of Governors of Wilfrid Laurier University.
Since joining Laurier in 1972 he has taught in the areas of Economic and Urban, Geography and Regional Development. In addition he has spent nearly five years in Europe as either a visiting professor at the universities in Marburg, Berlin, Giessen, Kiel and Hof or as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in Germany (28 month) first focusing on regional development in the EU and later on the process on deindustrialization in former East Germany. He has devoted much recent time to create the VGT http://v-g-t.de (Virtual Geography Texts on Canada and Germany) for the internet. His most recent research has involved him in five Russian regional development projects (the first three focusing on the Typology of Russian Regions and Developments in the Kaliningrad and Altai regions) through CEPRA/AUCC/CIDA and IET (Moscow) starting in 2001 and continuing to the present. The most recent have focuses on “The economic-geographical and institutional aspects of economic growth in Russian regions”, “Domestic migration and its impact on economic growth in Russia”, and “Special Economic Zones”. His part has been mainly to present the Canadian experiences from which the Russians may learn. Presently he is working on comparative geographic capital of cities in Canada and the EU.