“To promote Geography through initiating and coordinating geographical research and teaching in all countries of the world”

The International Geographical Union (IGU) is an international, non-governmental, professional organization devoted to the development of the discipline of Geography.

The purposes of the IGU are primarily to promote Geography through initiating and coordinating geographical research and teaching in all countries of the world. Its work is conducted through the instruments of its National Committees, Commissions and Task Forces.

The IGU hosts the International Geographical Congress every four years and also promotes regional conferences and other meetings that further of the objectives of the Union. The IGU also facilitates the participation of geographers in the global community of scientists through its formal affiliation as a Member Union within the International Science Council (ISC) and the International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (CIPSH).

Strategy of the IGU for 2020-2024

To continue to advance its stated purposes while improving performance in all of them, taking account especially of the fact that the IGU will celebrate its centennial in 2022. In this centennial celebration, IGU must reaffirm:

  • the excellence of the discipline based on new and appropriate concepts and methods;
  • the role of geography as a major science in global debates on, for example, climate change and social inequity, and must promote actions of its members in this context.

The Executive Committee will focus its attention on three levels of strategic activity:

Actions relating to IGU membership and empowerment

  • increasing the relatively limited geographical footprint of membership among developing world countries, particularly in Africa but also in southeast Asia and Latin America;
  • increasing the participation of, in particular, female geographers and those from developing countries in IGU Commission and Task Forces activities, as well as in IGU events. IGU aims to promote decentralised and participatory leadership involving all countries of the world;
  • improving the level of contributions of IGU Commissions and Task Forces, and IGU National Committees, to the IGU archives;
  • establishing new as well as continuing to implement existing IGU Honors and Awards in the IGU community.

Actions relating to outreach

  • increasing and improving the range of activities of IGU Commissions and Task Forces, for example by encouraging them to offer online lectures/webinars, or in promoting a mentorship programme for early career geographers and those from developing countries;
  • highlighting and further promoting the work of IGU Commissions and Task Forces in relation to key global initiatives, including inter alia, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, Disaster Risk Reduction, Paris
    Climate Action and Habitat-III, and ISC Future Earth;
  • increasing the number and quality of IGU-branded publications in order to disseminate geographical knowledge to all countries of the world;
  • developing the public profile of Geography through promoting events such as ‘Geonight/Geonuit’ and Geography Awareness Week;
  • developing and strengthening our contributions to geographical education in general, and to UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in particular;
  • further improving the profile of the IGU in, and engagement with, relevant international organizations, especially the ISC (including the GeoUnions and CODATA), UN-GGIM and CIPSH inter alia.

Actions relating to communication

  • improving the quality and visibility of all IGU-related meetings, and especially its flagship events;
  • communicating the work of the IGU in order to improve decision making through a more structured and accessible website and through greater visibility on relevant social media platforms;
  • improving accessibility of the IGU website and other forms of communication in languages other than English, and in French and Spanish in particular;
  • updating the form and content of the IGU e-Newsletter and ensuring the timely publication and distribution of the IGU Bulletin;
  • improving internal and external communications through the construction of an accurate database of IGU contacts and maintaining its currency;
  • empowering national and regional geographical societies for promoting geography at local, national and regional levels.
  • President: Michael Meadows
  • Secretary General and Treasurer: RB Singh
  • Past President: Yukio Himiyama
  • First Vice President: Iain Hay

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