Magazine article Geographical

RGS-IBG Medals and Awards 2016: Professor Michael Storper and Bob Geldof Receive Royal Medals

Magazine article Geographical

RGS-IBG Medals and Awards 2016: Professor Michael Storper and Bob Geldof Receive Royal Medals

Article excerpt

Since its formation in 1830, the Society has recognised excellence in geographical science. An annual grant of 50 guineas from the reigning monarch 'for the encouragement and promotion of geographical science and discovery' was replaced in 1836 with a Royal Medal. In 1839, the decision was made to split the Award into two Royals Medals, both of equal standing: the Founder's Medal and the Patron's Medal.

The two Royal Medals now form the most prestigious of the Society's series of awards, which together recognise extraordinary achievement in areas ranging from geographical research, fieldwork and teaching, to cinematography and public engagement. Formally approved by Her Majesty the Queen, the Royal Medals have previously been awarded to, among others, David Livingstone, Sir Ernest Shackleton, Professor Diana Liverman, Sir Crispin Tickell and Sir David Attenborough. The Society's 2016 medals and awards ceremony took place on 6 June at its headquarters in South Kensington, London. Followed by the Society's annual reception, the ceremony was both an opportunity to recognise the achievements of geographers and to celebrate the fantastic work of the next generation through awards focused on early career and undergraduate research. In total, 21 individuals and groups were recognised for their outstanding contributions to geography.

Michael Storper, Professor of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics and Political Science, received the Founder's Medal for scholarship and leadership in human and economic geography. His work focuses on contemporary forces of globalisation, technological development, and industrial change.

Professor Storper said: 'Geographers' research is essential to helping humanity find pathways to more just and peaceful societies that respect the environment and are based on respect for all peoples. I am honoured to take my place among other geographers recognised by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) for their contributions to our discipline and our commitment to making a better world through geographical research.'

Bob Geldof received the Patron's Medal for raising global public awareness and challenging the causes of inequality in Africa. The Society's President, Nicholas Crane, said: 'Bob Geldof is recognised for his role, over more than 30 years, in inspiring and encouraging people from across the world to discover some of the geographical issues faced in Africa and to become more aware of global poverty, inequality and the role of aid from the world's richer countries.'

In his acceptance speech, Geldof joked that he had thought he was going to receive the Busk Medal, before describing the influence of the RGS-IBG and past Royal Medal recipients on his childhood and subsequent engagement with economic development in Africa. …

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