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Who we are

Uniting Geographers Worldwide

Our Mission

The American Association of Geographers (AAG) brings together members of the global geographic community


We provide students, educators, practitioners, and partners with the resources they need to enter the field, develop their careers, and form professional friendships that can last a lifetime. Through annual and ongoing programs, events, and meetings, we aim to create a space in which all geographers—wherever they come from—will know they are valued, heard, and welcomed.

By taking care of our community we ensure the health and vitality of the geographic discipline as it evolves to meet the challenges faced in today’s world.


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To improve our world by connecting the people who know it best—the global community of geographers


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A world that uses the power of geography to understand its deepest problems…and realize its most daring hopes


Strategic Planning 2023-2025

Goals and efforts for the future

We are preparing for future success by concentrating our commitments of time, energy, and funds to our highest priorities. Over the next three years we will focus on eight areas in of support of our membership and communities who strive to advance the importance of Geography in this changing world. Diversity and inclusion will be the core focus within all of our work to unify our efforts.

Graphic of a three-part circle around AAG's five-point-star projection illustrates the organization's JEDI-focused strategic plan includes Fostering Leadership, Advancing Knowledge, Strengthening Careers, Elevating Geography, Expanded Programming, Building Membership, Enhancing Community and Organizational Excellence

Advancing AAG Leadership for JEDI

JEDI is not new to AAG. There have been initiatives, programs, and projects including past strategic plans. What is needed now is a concerted leadership effort to coordinate and integrate all relevant JEDI efforts. By establishing leadership alignment and increasing capacity, we can unify, coordinate, and manage JEDI work across AAG. We will review and refresh AAG policies and leadership practices to reflect JEDI principles. We will also regularly collect and analyze JEDI-specific data to help AAG gauge progress.

Dedicating leadership resources

Enhancing AAG policies and practices

Enabling data-driven D&I excellence

Integrating JEDI into Programming

The AAG has a responsibility to spearhead efforts that make the discipline more diverse in its composition, equitable in its practices, and inclusive in its culture. Work must be done simultaneously on three distinct levels. First, within the AAG, embedding JEDI principles comprehensively across programs and specialty areas is needed to foster a more open, inclusive community for current and prospective members. Second, recognizing that diversity, equity, and inclusion are hallmarks of a healthy department, the AAG should aid departments in their efforts to embody JEDI principles. Third, the AAG should create new pathways for engagement with community college educators, K-12 teachers, and their students to cultivate a robust and diverse cadre of emerging geographers.

Embedding JEDI in AAG programming

Fostering healthy departments

Growing geography’s next generation

Establishing AAG Organizational Tools to Support JEDI

To ensure effective adoption of JEDI principles and practices, we seek to design and operationalize tools that can support AAG leaders, staff, members, and departments. Development and implementation of an effective communication strategy could help grow and sustain JEDI in AAG. Such a strategy, utilizing multiple channels and modes of engagement, would also increase transparency. Additionally, the creation and maintenance of a comprehensive repository of resources, research, and best practices would enable sharing of JEDI knowledge and foster continual dialogue through training and interactive engagement.

Engaging through communication

Curating JEDI knowledge

Elevate the Discipline

AAG is committed to a new initiative that will help geographers elevate the profile of their work and show how essential geography is to understanding and solving the world’s most pressing issues. A tiered program will be launched to train geographers in leadership, media, and policy, and then connect and elevate their work in the public discourse (media + policy). Climate Change and Society will be the theme of the inaugural grand challenge with a three-year commitment. Climate change and society covers the broad spectrum of research and impacts from a changing climate. For example, research on patterns of energy, water, and food scarcity as well as social and environmental impact and justice around the world. Additional themes and cohorts will be added as funding allows.

Three-tiered Program


Recruit, train and support geographers working on climate change and society


Offer virtual seminars to train members in media, policy and diplomacy skills


Hub with materials which detail methods and training


AAG will improve our Annual Meeting, virtual offerings, and other programmatic member services to ensure measurable impact for our core and growing membership groups. We will reimagine and implement the next generation of the AAG Annual Meeting, leveraging diverse personalized content and multiple modes of member engagement to deliver a meaningful and valuable member experience. We will create experimental structures that provide the best possible experience for all attendees regardless of modality of attendance. Beyond the annual meeting, AAG will create and implement a cohesive strategy for year-round offerings, articulating the desired audiences, impacts, and success measures forvirtual sessions, in-person meetings, and other events or programs. AAG will refine this strategy on the basis ofs member feedback and community engagement (Specialty Groups, Affinity Groups, Regions, etc.).

Transform the Annual Meeting

Provide personalized membership experience

Maximize members-only content

Leverage and build on collaborations


AAG will grow our membership across key member groups, including community college faculty and students, physical geographers, and geographers working outside of academia. This work includes member research, improvements to member dashboards, and streamlined join and renew processes. In addition, AAG will examine member fee structures to determine if they meet the needs of current and prospective members.


AAG will enhance our engagement and outreach services to strengthen and grow communities. We will serve as a hub for established groups, such as Specialty Groups, Regional Divisions, and Departments, and emerging communities across the field.

Organizational Excellence

To carry out our ambitious planning, we will make sure to optimize the operational capabilities, efficiency, and performance of our support systems — HR, IT, finance, and governance — by fine-tuning our systems, processes, data management, and technology. We will invest in organizational effectiveness and staff training. We will also develop an inclusive and thoughtful leadership development strategy for involving members in service to the AAG — e.g., committees, task forces, Specialty and Affinity Groups, Regional Divisions, Council — creating a pipeline of engaged leaders in the discipline.


A community with resources and connections at its fingertips

An AAG membership is your link to the foremost networking events, publications, and career-development resources in the field of geography. Memberships allow students, educators, and practitioners of geography to:


Apply for exclusive grants to support research, fieldwork, and teaching.


Join active Specialty and Affinity Groups dedicated to particular branches of geography, where colleagues can network and stay on top of the latest research.


Take part in AAG’s public policy outreach efforts, advocacy work, and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

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Geography is more than measuring the length of rivers and the height of mountains


It is the study of the complex, unfolding relationships between people and the land they live on. With background knowledge grounded in the sciences, ethics, history, and the humanities, geographers go beyond mere cataloging and seek to understand the places and spaces we inhabit–in order to make them more just and equitable.

We are here to serve the global geographic community. That is why we support the advocacy efforts of geographers everywhere, as they use their knowledge to make our world a better place to live.



By supporting AAG, you can help us make and sustain the connections that keep geography active, relevant, and engaged…

…and help yourself by developing a deeper relationship to the field. Sharing our information with friends and colleagues, making a one-time or recurring donation, or taking advantage of our many sponsorship opportunities are all ways to make a difference to our work and on behalf of the discipline and geographers.


A note from our executive director


The American Association of Geographers (AAG) is uniquely positioned to represent the discipline and profession of geography. For more than 100 years, AAG has served academic and professional geographers and provided a crucial connection point among academia, government, and business. In an era of climate change, rising nationalism and social inequity, geography is more important than ever before. Yet, our profession is at risk from many directions: from challenges to its relevance within universities, professional challenges from other disciplines in business and government, and lack of diversity and inclusion, among other issues. At the threshold of these challenges, AAG foresees emerging opportunities to elevate its role, effectiveness, and efficiency in serving and supporting its members.

AAG foresees emerging opportunities to elevate its role and effectiveness in serving and supporting its members.

This strategic plan, approved by the AAG Council on April 7, 2020, was developed to advance the objectives of the long-range plan (2015 – 2025), by identifying the most urgent and achievable strategic priorities for AAG during the next three years. This strategic plan translates key elements of the long-term plan into three strategic core areas — geography as a discipline, world-class membership services, and strengthening AAG as a society — each with specific programs to inform tactical actions that can achieve measurable results.

Read our strategic plan

Gary M. Langham, Ph D.

Executive Director

AAG Staff

  • Thomas Bales
    Thomas Bales:

    Director of Advocacy and Engagement

  • Mikelle Benfield
    Mikelle Benfield:
    • Programming and Planning Coordinator
  • Jennifer Cassidento
    Jennifer Cassidento:

    Publications Director

  • Coline Dony
    Coline Dony:

    Senior Geography Researcher

  • Emily Fekete
    Emily Fekete:

    Community Manager

  • Emily Frisan
    Emily Frisan:

    Digital Marketing Coordinator

  • Gary Langham
    Gary Langham:

    Executive Director

  • Oscar Larson
    Oscar Larson :

    Director of AAG Meetings

  • Candida Mannozzi
    Candida Mannozzi:

    Chief Operating Officer

  • Eddie McInerney
    Eddie McInerney:

    Policy Program Assistant

  • Julaiti Nilupaer
    Julaiti Nilupaer:

    Community Evaluation and Membership Coordinator

  • Betsy Orgodol
    Betsy Orgodol:

    Director of Finance

  • Becky Pendergast
    Becky Pendergast:

    Director of Design and Digital Platforms

  • Risha RaQuelle
    Risha RaQuelle:

    Chief Strategy Officer

  • Mark Revell
    Mark Revell:

    Manager, Career Programs and Disciplinary Research

  • Lisa Schamess
    Lisa Schamess:

    Director of Communications

  • Elin Thorlund
    Elin Thorlund:

    Director of Strategic Planning and Programming

  • Ashley Wallace
    Ashley Wallace:

    Senior Executive Assistant

Opportunities at AAG


The AAG seeks interns on a year-round basis for the spring, summer, and fall semesters. Interns participate in most AAG programs and projects such as education, outreach, research, website, publications, or the Annual Meeting. The AAG also arranges for interns to accompany different AAG staff on visits to related organizations or events of interest during the course of their internship. A monthly stipend of $700 is provided and interns are expected to make their own housing and related logistical arrangements. Enrollment in a Geography or closely related program is preferred but not a prerequisite for these opportunities.

Applicants should send via email a resume, brief writing sample, and contact information (i.e., telephone number and email) to three references to Amanda McKnight. For questions, call 202-234-1450.

Terms and application deadlines:

  • Spring: December 1
  • Summer: April 1
  • Fall: August 1
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The American Association of Geographers is governed by the AAG Council


An elected body composed of more than 300 volunteer members. Click below to find out more about our governance structure, and read the AAG Constitution.


Surfacing stories within the AAG community is one of the most meaningful things that we do—and we’re glad to share the latest with you

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