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Joe Dardin, Julie Winkler and Julian Bond with the Atlas AwardJoe Darden and AAG President Julie Winkler present the 2014 AAG Atlas Award to Julian Bond.


Highlights from the 2014 Annual Meeting in Tampa

The Association of American Geographers 2014 Annual Meeting in Tampa, Fla., hosted more than 6,000 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 30 percent 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. 

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This year, attendees came from 78 different countries. The largest participation of scholars from outside of the U.S. came from Canada, the UK, Germany, China, Taiwan, Australia and Sweden with strong representation of numbers of geographers from Turkey, Nigeria, Brazil, France and the Netherlands, among many others. The international attendance greatly enriched the intellectual and social events throughout the week-long conference.

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Julie Winkler's Opening Presidential PlenaryAAG President Julie Winkler's opening presidential plenary speakers included Mike Hulme, Marshall Shepherd, Susanne (Susi) Moser and Linda Mearns.
AAG Past President Eric Sheppard presented Doreen Massey with the Presidential Achievement AwardEric Sheppard presented the Presidential Achievement Award to Doreen Massey.

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 Geographies of Climate Change, beginning with the outstanding Opening Presidential Plenary organized by AAG President Julie Winkler.

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Eric Sheppard's past presidential address "Thinking Geographically: Globalizing Capitalism, and Beyond," received a standing ovation, and he also presented this year’s AAG Presidential Achievement Award to Doreen Massey, Open University (UK), for her foundational contributions to feminist geography, geographical political economy, relational geography, conceptualizations of place and space, and emancipatory approaches to urban development. Additional distinguished awards, including AAG Honors, were conveyed during the AAG Awards Luncheon on the final day of the conference.

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 AAG International ReceptionAAG's International Reception connected friends and colleagues from around the globe.

The AAG sponsored an International Reception to celebrate the global character of the conference. Dr. Fausto Sarmiento, chair of the AAG International Research and Scholarly Exchange Committee, welcomed attendees to the reception and emphasized the importance of international collaboration. A Latin music and salsa band played while attendees danced, reunited with friends and met new colleagues from around the world. Related international events included the My Community, Our Earth / SERVIR Capstone illustrated paper session presented by a select group of 14 university students working on using geographic research for climate change under the AAG's MyCOE / SERVIR Global Fellowship Program, funded by NASA and USAID. These fellows from ten countries brought together four staggered regional rounds of 10-month fellowship terms in East Africa, Himalayas, West Africa, and Southeast Asia.

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Federal Agency GIS Leader SpotlightDuring the Federal Agency GIS Leader Spotlight special session, a large group packed the room to learn about key trends of interest from Ivan DeLoatch, Federal Geographic Data Committee; Timothy Trainor, U.S. Census Bureau; Thomas Baerwald, National Science Foundation; Jerry Johnston, U.S. Department of the Interior; William Ellwood, National Institutes of Health; Carrie Stokes, USAID; Lee Schwartz, U.S. Department of State; Matt Larsen, U.S. Geological Survey; Dean Gesch, USGS Eros Data Center; and Dan Cole, Smithsonian Institution.

Other themes developed for the Tampa meeting were: GIScience, GIS and Policy; Racism and Violence; Scale and Sustainability and The American South.

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Wide-ranging plenaries and special events included notable speakers, such as Julian Bond, civil rights pioneer and UVa. professor emeritus; a super panel of Federal agency GIS leaders; 2014 Honorary Geographer Warren Washington; author Joe Darden, Michigan State U.; Michael Mann, Penn State U.; and Tom Touchton, Tampa Bay and Florida historian and collector of historical maps. Friends and colleagues also gathered to remember Roger Tomlinson during a special tribute (See the video). Other sessions included "Global Change and Environmental Responses in China" chaired by Chenghu Zhou and "A Conversation on the Future of Physical Geography" with Julie Winkler and Ken Foote. 

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2014 AAG Honorary Geographer Warren WashingtonWarren Washington, senior scientist at NCAR, was named the 2014 AAG Honorary Geographer. Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux (right) and Warren's wife Mary pause for a photograph after his session, "The Evolution of Climate Modeling and the U.S. Global Change Research Program."

The above summary represents only a few of the many exciting sessions and international activities that took place at the 2014 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. Peruse the highlights below and then view the full

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Michael MannMichael Mann discussed dire predictions and understanding global warming during the Climate Specialty Plenary Session.
Tom Touchton, Tampa Bay History CenterTom Touchton, an avid collector of historical Florida maps, talked about his extensive collection and his longstanding involvement in and support for the Tampa Bay History Center to a packed room of attendees.
Doug Richardson and Joe DardenAAG Executive Director Doug Richardson introduces Joe Darden during the special Author Meets Critic session, "Detroit: Race Riots, Racial Conflicts, and Efforts to Bridge the Racial Divide." At the end of the session, Ruth Wilson Gilmore was given the Harold M. Rose Award for Anti-Racism Research and Practice. Following the end of the session, Darden held a book signing for eager readers.
Bob KatesBob Kates organized a paper session around "The Scale of Actions to Sustain Human Well-being."
Chansheng HeChansheng He, Western Michigan U., spoke during the "Global Change and Environmental Responses in China" session.
Julian Bond with the 2014 AAG Atlas AwardJulian Bond received the 2014 AAG Atlas Award.
AAG Regional Division leadersSeven of the nine regional divisions were represented during a special meeting: New England/St. Lawrence Valley Vice President Cynthia Pope; East Lakes President Karen Johnson-Webb; Great Plains/Rock Mountains Chair Shawn Hutchinson; Southwest Chair Murray Rice; Middle States President David Fyfe; Middle Atlantic Chair Tracy Edwards; Pacific Coast President Sriram Khé.
 2014 World Geography Bowl winning team: East Lakes DivisionThe East Lakes Regional Division team took the title at the 2014 World Geography Bowl on April 11.
 MyCOE / SERVIR Global Fellowship Program: 14 capstone fellows14 fellows presented their posters as part of the MyCOE / SERVIR Global Fellowship Program.
Career mentors sessionMentors offered advice to new, early-career and international geographers.
AAG Registration boothRegistration was busy as attendees checked in on the first day of the annual meeting.
2014 Exhibit HallThe exhibit hall was a popular stop for conference attendees, as was the special afternoon reception.
AAG 2014 Tampa: food trucks at the Convention CenterA host of food trucks descended upon hungry people around the Convention Center on Friday evening.
AAG BoothPacific Coast Regional Division Councillor Scott A. Mensing spends time at the AAG booth with AAG staff and volunteers.
2014 Ft. DeSoto field tripA large group enjoyed a field trip to Ft. DeSoto.
AAG 2014 Hurricane Hunters field tripAttendees learned about Hurricane Hunters during a field trip.
Historical maps exhibit field trip to the Tampa Bay History CenterTom Touchton led a field trip through the historical maps of Florida exhibit at the Tampa Bay History Center.
AAG 2014 Tampa: annual awards luncheonThe 2014 annual awards luncheon was held at the Westin Tampa Harbour Island Hotel on April 12.