Association of American Geographers
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International Councilor

(one to be elected)

Silvia Grandi photoSILVIA GRANDI. Adj. Professor of Geography and Geopolitics and financial instruments for international cooperation, University of Bologna (Italy). Ph.D. in Economic and Political Geography, Geography, University of Bologna (Italy); TAGS Programme University of Sussex – SPRU; Post-Grad in Management, Vrije Universiteit Brussels. M.Eng in Environmental and Territorial Engineering, University of Bologna.

Professional Experience: I have a double career both in academia and as tenure director in the Italian Public Administration (2004-date). I am also Adjunct Professor of Geography and Geopolitics and financial instruments for international cooperation, University of Bologna (2017-date). Previously, I served as Adj. Professor of Cultural Tourism and Research Management, University of Salento (2016-2019); adj. Professor of Geography and Cultural Geography, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (2008-2018); and a Lecture Assistant (2004-2008).

Service to Geography: AAG - Association of American Geographers (2016-date); RSA - Regional Studies Association (2004-date); Editorial Board of Almatourism (2011-present); Member of the ‘Fingeo’ network of financial geographers (2016-date); Member of the Società Geografica Italiana (2001-date); AIC - Associazione Italiana di Cartografia (2017-date); AIIG - Associazione Insegnanti di Geografia (2002-date); AGeI - Associazione dei Geografi Italiani (2008-date); Chatham House - The Royal Institute for International Affairs (2016-2018). Presented in over 100 conferences and seminars, serving also as chair; Organized over 10 International Conferences; 30 seminars or sessions; reviewed manuscripts and/or proposals for journals, publishers, and funding agencies; Member of National Governmental or European Commission’s Working Group regarding to territorial, cartography and economic development. 

Awards and honors: Full Professorship Italian National Habilitation (2020), Associate Professorship Italian National Habilitation (2014); RCEA Fellowship (2008-date), Erasmus-Socrates Fellowship – University of Newcastle U.K. (1996), Honeywell Futurist Award; Rotary International Prix de la Paix.

Research and Teaching: My research interests focus on the relationship between geography and policies, with particular attention to sustainable development, geography of finance, energy, raw materials and natural resources, blue economy, Low Carbon Economy, Cohesion, Neighborhood, EU integration, multi-level governance EU policies and tourism. I have over 100 published articles and book chapters on these topics, including a recent edited book with SELLAR C. and JAFRI J., Geobanking between political and financial geographies: a focus on the semi-periphery of the global financial system published by Edward Elgar Publishing. My 15-year teaching experience includes several roles as Adj. Professor at the University of Bologna from 2007-2009 and since 2017, at University of Salento (2016-2019). At University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (2008-2018) and I lectured in other Italian Universities (University of Tor Vergata, Uninettuno). Besides her academic work, I am a tenured director at the Italian Ministry of Economic development since 2010 and this work within the often led to international research projects.

Statement: I am internationally engaged and I speak fluent English, Italian, and French. In addition, I have fair knowledge of Spanish and German, and basics in Portuguese, Chinese, and Dutch.

I participated to the AAG Annual Conferences and to some of the Specialty Group (Hazards, Risks and Disasters; Economic Geography; Energy and Environment) and to numerous conferences in Europe and Asia as a member of the ‘Fingeo’ network of financial geographers. My research focuses on the interactions between finance, energy and development, with particular emphasis on the semi-periphery. I have always appreciated the AAG international dimension and the possibility to internationalize and improve the scientific network outside national boundaries. I attended two recent AAG meetings – in Washington 2019 and earlier in Boston. I found truly outstanding networking opportunities, which reinforced the professional collaborations I started at conferences with the Regional Studies Association, the International Geographical Union, and the Italian Geographical Society in the European Union, China, and Brazil. The professional friendships I built in those meetings allowed me to bring a policy perspective to debates in financial geography, culminating in an edited collection I just published with Edgar Elgar.

I contributed to development studies and financial geography from both academic and policymaking experiences. I am particularly interested in revitalizing the notion of semi-periphery, by developing collaborations with geographers in both declining Western economies in Southern Europe and elsewhere as well as emerging middle-income economies that are not-quite-yet in the core of the world economy. Geography of development, tourism, energy and resources and sustainable development are other majors that might be of interest and can create further leverage in international networking. In terms of methodology, I am considered very effective in organizing and chairing virtual events that will be increasingly important for the future of scientific networking.

In the AAG IC position I will be an active participant, ensuring networking, building ideas and initiatives to promote the international dimension with AAG.

Shenjing He photoSHENJING HE. Professor of Urban Studies at the Department of Urban Planning and Design, Director of the Social Infrastructure for Equity and Wellbeing (SIEW) Lab, the University of Hong Kong. Ph.D. Geography, University of Southampton, UK; M.Sc. And B,Sc., Geography and Planning, Nanjing University, China. E-mail:

Professional Experience: Professor (2018-present), Associate Professor (2015-2018), Department of Urban Planning and Design, The University of Hong Kong; Visiting Scholar, Harvard Graduate School of Design (2014-2015); Professor (2012-2014), Associate Professor (2008-2012), School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yet-sen University, China; Research Fellow, School of City and Regional Planning, Cardiff University, UK (2006-2008); Lecturer, School of Geography, Southampton University, UK (2006).

Service to Geography: AAG China Geography Specialty Group Chair (2020), vice Chair (2019); Steering Committee, Urban Commission, International Geographical Union (2016- present ); Secretary General, Urban Geography Research Committee, Chinese Geographical Society (2012- 2017); Steering Committee, Urban China Research Network (2016-present); Steering Committee, Asia Pacific Network for Housing Research, (2016-present); Board of Directors, International Association of China Planning, (2015-2019); Editor, Urban Studies (2012-present); Associate Editor, Journal of Rural Studies (2019-2020);  Editorial Board, International Planning Studies (2011-present); Journal of Urban Affairs (2015-present); Geography Compass (2015-present); Area Development and Policy (2015-present); Asian Geographer (2017-present); The Boletín de la Asociación de Geógrafos Españoles (AGE) (2018-present). Organized over 50 sessions for various geographical conferences; reviewed manuscripts and proposals for over 50 journals, publishers, and funding agencies. External referee for promotion or tenure decisions.

Research and Teaching: My research interests include urban redevelopment/gentrification, urban governance, low-income housing, and health geography. I have published over 110 refereed journal articles and book chapters in English and Chinese, which have appeared in many geographical and urban studies journals, including The Annals of the AAG and The Professional Geographer. I am the co-author/co-editor of Urban Poverty in China (2010), Locating Right to the City in the Global South (2013), Urban living: Mobility, Sociability, and Wellbeing (2016), Changing China: Migration, Communities and Governance in Cities (2016, 2018), and The Speculative City (2020).I have (co)edited over 10 special issues in international journals. I have been supervising more than 10 Ph.D. students and over 50 students. I have been teaching courses on various topics of human geography and urban studies from undergraduate to postgraduate levels.

Awards and honors: Top 1% social science scholar ranked by Clarivate Analytics based on Essential Science Indicators (2016-2019); Most cited researcher in mainland China (social scientists), Elsevier, 2015-2020;  Finalist, Award of Research Excellence 2019 (Academic category), the Royal Town Planning Institute, UK; HKU’s inaugural woman leadership program, The University of Hong Kong; First prize, Excellent published papers in Urban Geography, Urban Geography Research Committee, Chinese Geographical Society, 2017; Outstanding Young Scientist Award, National Science Foundation of China, 2013; Young Scientist Award in Geographical Sciences, Chinese Geographical Society, 2013; Excellent Research Paper Prize in Higher Education Institutions, The Ministry of Education, 2013; Finalist, 2011 Best Published Paper Prize, Association of European Schools of Planning. 

Statement: As an urban and social geographer by training and subsequently working in an interdisciplinary environment, I always consider geography my disciplinary home. The 2005 AAG Annual Meeting at Denver was the very first international conference I ever attended when I was a Ph.D. student in the U.K. Since then, AAG Annual Meeting has become my favorite academic event that I most frequently attend. During the last 10 years, I attended the AAG Annual Meetings almost every year and have (co)organized over 20 conference sessions. In 2018, I was nominated to be an executive officer of the China Geography Specialty Group (CGSG) and become the Chair of CGSG this year. I cherish this opportunity of serving the community and look forward to contributing more.

Having long been a welcoming home for international geographers, AAG serves as a multicultural and multinational platform for academic exchanges and communication, especially after the inception of its new name “American Association of Geographers” in 2016. The AAG has grown into a big family for geographers not only from North America, but also different parts of the world. One of the AAG's important missions is to advance geography and connect geographers to promote inclusiveness and diversity. I look forward to contribute further to the AAG community in the capacity of international councilor. Specifically, first, I will help strengthen the communications and collaborations between AAG and other peer geographical societies, including the International Geographical Union and the Chinese Geographical Society, to which I have provided long-term service. Second, I am passionate about extending geography’s academic and professional outreach to other disciplines and professions through various forms of collaboration, e.g. collaborating with academic and professional organizations of urban studies/urban planning in which I actively participate. Third, I am interested in exploring the opportunities of starting overseas chapters of the AAG, especially in the Global South, to nurture local geographical scholarships and to enable easier and low-cost access to the academic and professional resources of the AAG that may benefit a huge number of students, academics and professionals in the developing world.

Diana Ojeda photoDIANA OJEDA. Associate Professor, Cider (Interdisciplinary Center for Development Studies), Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia. Ph.D. and M.A., Clark University, 2009 and 2012. B.A. Universidad de los Andes, 2002 and 2004. Email: Twitter: @diana_ojedao

Professional Experience: Associate Professor of Sustainability, Development and Environment, Cider, Universidad de los Andes (2019-). Assistant to Associate Professor, Instituto de Estudios Sociales y Culturales Pensar (Institute for Social and Cultural Studies Pensar), Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (2014-2019). Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (2011-2014).

Research, Advising, Teaching: I am a Colombian feminist geographer. Bridging political ecology, feminist geopolitics and social studies of science, my work is characterized by highly interdisciplinary, collaborative, community-based and publicly-engaged research. In working across these fields and theoretical approaches, my research connects the grounded and embodied stories of socioecological devastation, gendered and racialized dispossession, and state sanctioned violence. This work requires finding creative ways to trace environmental and political histories of degradation and recovery, including the transversal role of violent conflict, in order to disrupt generalized narratives of environmental change. I have written more than 30 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, edited four special issues, and given about 30 invited lectures. As part of my commitment to public scholarship, I have also published two graphic novels. External funding for my research includes the British Academy, the University of California Global Health Institute, the Inter-American Foundation and The Society of Woman Geographers. In 2017 I received the Stonewall Javeriano Anti-Discrimination Award from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. I teach courses on gender and environment, political geography, research methods, and space, gender and sexuality, from the introductory to the doctoral level.

Statement: To say that these are difficult times is clearly an understatement. We are witnessing the expansion of extractivism, the military industrial complex, and environmental degradation amidst heightened political violence, rampant dispossession, and gendered and racial injustice. If anything, these times call for transformative actions. Different collectives have recently pushed the discipline, the AAG in particular and academia as a whole towards a more reflective and critical work that centers Geography’s legacies of imperialism, colonialism, racism, sexism and transhomophobia. If we are to make progress on addressing these long-standing injustices, we need to open up more spaces for advancing AAG’s efforts towards diversity, equity and inclusion, and pushing the boundaries of that trilogy as it becomes colonized by regressive institutional logics. This work includes a commitment to anti-colonial work and considered, careful partnerships with geographers outside the North American heartlands of the AAG. This involves, among other actions, creating spaces where racial, gender and sexual discrimination, harassment and violence are not only not tolerated, but are actively destabilized through deliberative practice. It also involves further addressing the connections between geography and militarization, as a much needed aspect of transforming oppressive social realities. The AAG can do more in building spaces that recognize and value students’ and colleagues’ various intersectional backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, while understanding their differences as crucial to building and sustaining a nourishing intellectual community. The dire need for creating more diverse, inclusive, just, and safe spaces for all must translate into concrete actions towards strengthening the discipline’s work against oppression.