AAG Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors: Kavita Pandit

The AAG is pleased to award the 2016 AAG Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors to Kavita Pandit.

Kavita Pandit is awarded Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors in recognition of the broad impact of her extraordinary service to geography. She has also held several prominent editorial board memberships and contributed to numerous national and international institutions including the American Geographical Society and the Association of International Educators. Pandit is a steadfast supporter of AAG. She respects the diverse nature of geography in its subfields, its differing institutions, its role in K-12 education, and its application outside of academia. She is truly deserving of this honor.

A citation for Kavita Pandit follows. 

Kavita Pandit, University of Georgia

Kavita Pandit is currently Associate Provost for International Education at the University of Georgia. She is also Director of the Office of International Education and serves as the Senior International Officer for a university which has an enrollment of 35,000 students. Prior to assuming this position, she was Senior Vice Provost, State University of New York System. She was recently elected to the Board of NAFSA (Association of International Educators).

In honor of her stalwart support of the Association of American Geographers and the impact of her sustained service and dedication to geography, the 2016 Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Award is presented to Professor Kavita Pandit. Colleagues that know Professor Pandit well indicate that she is a humble person who does not shy away from using her energy and talent to have a transformative impact on our discipline and profession. For over two decades, she has played a critical role in the AAG, and held prominent positions in several high profile international associations. Professor Pandit has served the AAG in several capacities including the International Research and Scholarly Exchange Committee, the Committee on Committees, and she has been a member of the Long Range Planning Committee since 2013. As President of AAG (2006-2007), Professor Pandit demonstrated a commitment to all geographers and her supporters note that a hallmark of her leadership is “one of calmness in a storm” with an unselfish commitment to serving others through creative problem-solving and sustained engagement. Professor Pandit made substantive and lasting contributions to the Healthy Departments Initiative during its early development, and she has continued her work in the goals of this initiative through critical outreach to and support of departments needing advice and input. She has continued to serve the discipline even as she moved into administrative positions at the University of Georgia.

Professor Pandit’s influential work on immigration and international economic development has made significant contributions to several subfields in the discipline. She is coeditor of Migration and Restructuring in the United States and the Introductory Reader for Human Geography. In her current position as Associate Provost for International Education at the University of Georgia, Professor Pandit continues to establish solid administrative structures to promote global learning experiences for students, and to develop international research and instructional collaborations.

She is highly sought after as a speaker and has been invited to give talks at a range of international universities on the topic of international education. As a geographer, with multiple degrees from Ohio State University, she is uniquely positioned to speak to the contribution of geography in solving the world’s problems. This she does with great enthusiasm and passion. Others have noted that she is relentless in her quest to get others to see the value of geography.

For her continuous and unwavering service to the discipline, AAG awards Dr. Kavita Pandit the Ronald Abler Distinguished Service Honor.