The American Association of Geographers (AAG) has announced its first-ever cohort of the new “Elevate the Discipline” programme, which will train and showcase geographers in action—in the media, as voices for public policies, and in advocating for change—on this year’s theme of Climate and Society.
The selected participants drawn from across 11 US states and the West Indies represent the rich and diverse range of practice within the discipline, including hydroclimatology, political ecology, climate and health, disaster geography, geoinformatics, soil science, and more.
Representing the Caribbean is Dr David O. Yawson, Senior Lecturer at The University of the West Indies (The UWI), Cave Hill Campus, Barbados. A geographer with a strong background in agricultural and environmental geography, he is known for his work on agri-environmental resource and food system sustainability. His work on resource and food system sustainability focuses on agronomic and soft approaches to efficient use of water, land, and nutrients in agro-environments and the circulation of these resources via food commodity trade. This work also involves the use of geospatial tools in agricultural and environmental monitoring in the context of climate change, food security, and human resilience.
The 15 geographers were selected through a competitive process. The programme will train them over the next several months in leadership, media skills, and policy strategies, and thereafter will connect and elevate their work in public discourse.
“It’s exciting to support the work of these scientists as they engage in community-oriented, justice-based work on climate change,” said Rebecca Lave, AAG’s 2023-24 president and a professor of geography at Indiana University Bloomington, where her specialties include critical physical geography and the political economy of stream restoration. “We want to open up avenues to value and protect geographers’ opportunity to do public and engaged scholarship.”
The programme was launched in July 2023, with virtual meetings culminating in a week-long intensive training onsite at AAG headquarters in Washington, DC. Thereafter, AAG will work with the participants and their institutions to continue to promote their public scholarship.
“Geography is essential to understanding and solving the world’s most pressing issues,” said Gary Langham, AAG Executive Director. “We created Elevate the Discipline to help geographers raise the profile of their work, showing how instrumental our discipline is to addressing climate change and critical social issues.”
Bios of the Elevate the Discipline participants may be accessed here.