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George Neimanis of Lewiston, a professor of economics at Niagara University, was awarded the Perboyre Medal at a special ceremony recognizing his contributions to the nation of Latvia.

The medal, which is presented annually, recognizes extraordinary contributions to the global society "after the example of the Gospels, Vincent de Paul, and John Gabriel Perboyre, a Vincentian priest who gave his life to serve the people of China."

Neimanis was recognized for his work to improve the economic well-being of his native Latvia.

Since 1991, he has spent 46 weeks in the country, serving as an adviser to the Latvian Parliament and working as a teacher in the MBA program he helped to establish at Riga Technical University.

Before returning six years ago, he had not been in the former Soviet republic since leaving with his family in 1944.