International Geographical Union

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The International Geographical Union (IGU; French: Union Géographique Internationale, UGI) is an international geographical society. The first International Geographical Congress was held in Antwerp in 1871. Subsequent meetings led to the establishment of the permanent organization in Brussels, Belgium, in 1922. The Union has 34 Commissions and four task forces. The commissions range from Applied Geography, Gender Geography, Marine Geography, as well as Landscape Analysis and Water Sustainability.

The International Geographical Union adheres to the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC), which it recognizes as coordinating bodies for the international organization of science.


The IGU has seven objectives or aims:

  1. to promote the study of geographical problems;
  2. to initiate and co-ordinate geographical research requiring international co-operation and to promote its scientific discussion and publication;
  3. to provide for the participation of geographers in the work of relevant international organizations;
  4. to facilitate the collection and diffusion of geographical data and documentation in and between all member countries;
  5. to promote International Geographical Congresses, regional conferences and specialized symposia related to the objectives of the Union;
  6. to participate in any other appropriate form of international co-operation with the object of advancing the study and application of geography;
  7. to promote international standardization or compatibility of methods, nomenclature, and symbols employed in geography.


The following list contains the Senior Officers of the IGU from 1922–present:

Secretaries-General and Treasurers


  • Kish, George (1992) "International Geographical Union: A Brief History" GeoJournal 26, No. 2:224-228 ISSN 0343-2521
  • Marie-Claire Robic, Anne-Marie Briend, Mechtild Rössler (eds.) (1996) Geographers to the world. The International Geographical Union and the International Geographical Congress Paris: L'Harmattan ISBN 9782738445735
  • Dunbar, Gary S. (2001) Geography: Discipline, Profession and Subject since 1870: An International Survey Kluwer Academic Publishers ISBN 1-4020-0019-7 pg 36
  • Lidstone, John; Williams, Michael (2006) Geographical Education in a Changing World: Past Experience, Current Trends and Future Challenges Springer ISBN 978-1-4020-4806-7 pg 39
  • International Geographical Union (IGU)
  • Royal Irish Academy (RIA)

External links