Rafael de Miguel González receives Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education

The world’s highest scientific distinction in this field, the Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education, has been awarded in its 2024 edition by the American Association of Geographers with the support of the International Geographical Union, for his exceptional service to the discipline of geography and unique contributions to the geographic education community

The American Association of Geographers has announced today in Washington D.C. the winners of the 2024 AAG Honors, among hundreds of candidates, awarding Professor Rafael de Miguel González the Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education, which are the annual highest scientific distinction in the world in Geography.

First non-English-speaking researcher to receive this award

Rafael de Miguel González is Professor of Geographical Education at the Faculty of Education of the University of Zaragoza, co-principal investigator of the ARGOS group (University Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences of Aragon) and principal investigator of the GEOT-DS action group of the Iberus Campus of International Excellence. He is the first and only Spanish researcher as member of the prestigious Academia Europaea of Sciences, Humanities and Letters, in its education section. Since 2019, he has been President of EUROGEO, the European Association of Geographers. He has more than 200 scientific publications, more than 70 research projects (30 as principal investigator, mostly in European projects), more than 150 papers and contributions to scientific conferences, and teaching visits to more than 25 foreign universities.

Awarded since 1951, the AAG Honors is -together with the quadrennial Lauréat d’honneur of the International Geographical Union- the world’s highest recognition of international scientific excellence in Geography, equivalent to the Nobel or Fields Prizes in other scientific disciplines. The AAG Honors prize has been awarded to leading geographers such as Richard Hartshorne, Walter Christaller, Torsten Hagerstrand, Waldo R. Tobler, Peter Haggett, Yi-Fu Tuan, Carl O. Sauer, David Harvey, Reginald G. Golledge, Ronald Johnston, Edward Soja or Michael Goodchild, among others.

Since 1995, the AAG Honors have been awarded in four categories, one of them for geographic education, named after Gilbert Melville Grosvenor, the main editor and promoter of the publishing and audiovisual group National Geographic. Relevant geographers such as Ronald Abler (president of the IGU between 2008 and 2012), Philip J. Gersmehl, Alexander Murphy, Sarah W. Bednarz, Joseph Stoltman and Michael Solem (the latter three members of the steering committee of the Commission on Geographical Education of the International Geographical Union) have preceded Rafael de Miguel in receiving this award.

Rafael de Miguel González is the first geographer of non Anglo-Saxon origin to receive the AAG Honors in its history, in this category Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education. Furthermore, forty years after Jacqueline Beaujeu-Garnier was awarded an AAG Honors (in 1984), Rafael de Miguel is the second geographer (and also the first Spaniard) to obtain this maximum recognition in its 73 years of existence, which places Spanish geography and the University of Zaragoza as a world reference university in geography research, surpassing British and North American universities that are at the top of the general international rankings, but also of this scientific discipline.


Jury AAG Honors citation

Original at https://www.aag.org/2024-aag-awards-recognition/

The 2024 Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education is awarded to Dr. Rafael de Miguel Gonzalez for his exceptional service to the discipline of geography and unique contributions to the geographic education community. Currently the President of EUROGEO (the European Association of Geographers) and Professor of Geography Education at the University of Zaragoza (Spain), De Miguel is one of the preeminent scholars of geography education in the world today. De Miguel is recognized as one of geography’s key public advocates of national and international educational reform and innovation, through his work for about 30 years as a geography school teacher, later university professor, lead researcher, project manager, editor, writer, map-maker, higher education administrator, speaker and -as Board member of several geographical institutions- representative of the community of geographers and geography educators in front of national education policy makers and international organizations like the UN, the European Commission or the Council of Europe.

He provides initial and in-service geography teacher training for more than 100 students per academic year at Bachelor, Master and PhD levels. He has been the Principal Investigator of 32 research and innovation projects on geography education, most of them funded by the European Commission, but also by Esri, or sponsored by the Spanish National Science Foundation. In addition to providing pre-service training andprofessional development for geography teachers in Europe and in Spanish language worldwide, his contributions to geography education include developing instructional materials for teaching geography based on cutting-edge geospatial technologies and creating accessible pathways to resources for geography teachers. Two notable outputs are the Digital Atlas for Schools and the geography textbooks for secondary education.

De Miguel has published geography education articles in prominent geography journals, author and editor for the Book Series Key Challenges in Geography and for the International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, two of the top publications in geography education. He has participated at the new Handbook of Geography Education and leaded the two landmarks on geography education for the IGU Centennial in 2022: the chapter of the book A Geographical Century: Essays for the Centenary of the International Geographical Union, and the IGU-CGE keynote presentation 100 years of geography and international education.

Among several awards and honors, Professor de Miguel was elected a member of the Academia Europaea. A leader in the field, Professor de Miguel has had a remarkable influence on contemporary geography due his theoretical framework of geographical competences for lifelong learning, due to his determination for geographical practices in sustainable development, global understanding, and smart citizenship, and -as tireless traveler- due his contributions to create bridges between geography educators from different continents and sharing innovative ideas on geography education on local, national, and international forums.

For all these reasons, the AAG proudly recognizes Rafael de Miguel Gonzalez with the 2024 AAG Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education.