American Geographical Society honors Zimmerer with Melamid Medal

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The American Geographical Society awarded the first Alexander and Ilse Melamid Medal to Karl S. Zimmerer on Dec. 6 at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Zimmerer is professor and head in the department of geography at Penn State and at the Earth-Environmental Systems Institute (EESI), the Institutes for Energy and the Environment (PSIEE), and in cross-campus programs on sustainability.

Before an audience including AGS councilors, geographic scholars, members of the Melamid family, and family and friends of Zimmerer, AGS Chairman John Gould and AGS President Jerome Dobson presented the medal to Zimmerer.  Following the award presentation, Zimmerer presented a lecture on his most recent breakthrough research, “Giving Rise to Sustainability:  Tropical Mountain Landscapes and Cities."

Established in 2002, the Melamid Medal is one of nine medals awarded by the American Geographical Society and recognizes an internationally recognized geographer for outstanding work on the dynamic relationship between human culture and natural resources. Zimmerer’s recent work regarding the connection of sustainability and geography is considered to be central to the sustainability discussions and debates currently held across the world today.

“Friday evening was a special night for AGS and the field of geography. Karl Zimmerer is one of the leading experts in the area of sustainability and without his work, it would be difficult to produce public policy that sufficiently guides sustainability,” noted Jerome Dobson, president of the American Geographical Society. “His work has critical and practical real-world impact. It is an honor for us to have this opportunity to recognize such a valued colleague as the first recipient of the medal."

Zimmerer is the director of the GeosyntheSESLab (Geographic Synthesis for Social-Ecological Sustainability) and an internationally recognized expert in the fields of historical and landscape-based cultural-and social-ecological analysis of sustainability, food security and agrobiodiversity. He also has led research on land use, cultural ideas, social conflict and cooperation, and knowledge systems and the conservation-agriculture interface with resources and policies. Zimmerer has published five books and more than 100 scientific and scholarly articles and chapters.

Established in 1851, the American Geographical Society (AGS) is the oldest professional geographical organization in the United States. It is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in geographical research and education and has been awarding medals for outstanding accomplishments in geography for more 117 years. The mission of the American Geographical Society is to link business, professional and scholarly worlds in the creation and application of geographical knowledge and techniques to address economic, social and environmental problems. The society's work serves to increase geographical knowledge and the recognition of its importance in the contemporary world. With members worldwide, the society maintains its headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Last Updated December 12, 2013