Highlights from the 2013 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles
The Association of American Geographers 2013 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles hosted more than 7,300 geographers, GIS specialists, environmental scientists, and other registrants from around the world sharing the very latest in research, policy, and applications in geography, sustainability, and GIScience. Of those attending, thousands, representing approximately one-third of all attendees came from countries other than the USA, which continues a steady trend toward increased international participation at AAG Meetings. For comparison, the 2006 meeting in Chicago registered approximately 20 percent international attendees, while the 1982 meeting in San Antonio had only 59 international attendees, or 2.8 percent of the registered total.
This year, attendees came from 80 different countries. The largest participation of scholars from outside of the U.S. came from Canada, the UK, Germany, and China, with strong representation among geographers in developing regions. Many others attending from countries such as Austria, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ghana, France, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, Romania, Spain, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and many more enriched the intellectual and social events throughout the week-long conference.
The AAG Annual Meeting also featured several diversely themed research tracks and special events, many with strong international dimensions. One major themed track focused on Global Urbanization and Symposium on New Geographies of Urban China, with more than 100 sessions during the course of the conference, beginning with the outstanding Opening Presidential Plenary, “Emerging Asias,” organized by AAG President Eric Sheppard.
Audrey Kobayashi's past presidential address "Dialectica Interrupta: The Idea of ‘Race’ in the Discipline of Geography," received a standing ovation, and she also presented this year’s AAG Presidential Achievement Award to Bobby Wilson. Additional distinguished awards, including AAG Honors, were conveyed during the AAG Awards Luncheon on the final day of the conference.
The AAG sponsored an International Reception to celebrate the global character of the conference. Related international events included "Young Leaders Mapping Sustainable Development Challenges: My Community, Our Earth Beyond Rio+20." 45 posters were presented on site, while students in Bolivia, Ghana, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Puerto Rico demonstrated their work through a live Skype video conference. During the Diversity Ambassadors Networking Reception, representatives shared their stories of engaged students and discussed issues pertinent to minority students in higher education.
Other themes developed for the Los Angeles meeting included Geography, GIScience, and Health: Spatial Frontiers of Health Research and Practice; Climate Change, Variability, Adaptation and Justice; Activist Geographies: Struggles for Social and Environmental Justice and Geographies of Hope Symposium; Borders; Milestones in Geography Education; CyberGIS Symposium; Land Systems Science Symposium; Spatiotemporal Thinking, Computing and Applications; Geographies of Media; and much more.
Wide-ranging plenary addresses were delivered by Jack Dangermond, Esri president; authors Jared Diamond and Charles Mann; Michael T. Jones, Google’s chief technology advocate; Michael Dear, UC-Berkeley; Roger Sayre, USGS; and Gilbert M. Grosvenor, National Geographic.
The above summary represents only a few of the many exciting sessions and international activities that took place at the 2013 AAG Annual Meeting. Numerous other paper, poster, and panel sessions and presentations highlighted geographic work organized by AAG members and AAG Specialty and Affinity Groups. Field trips, workshops, and a special emphasis on Careers in Geography also greatly enriched the experience of AAG conference participants.