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International Geographical Union (IGU)
Formation1922; 102 years ago (1922)
Region served
Official language
English, French
South Africa Michael Meadows
AffiliationsInternational Science Council

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 International Geographical Union adheres to the International Science Council (ISC), which it recognizes as the coordinating body for the international organisations 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.

Senior Officers

The following lists contain the Senior Officers of the IGU from 1922 to present:


Secretaries-General and Treasurers

Commissions and Task Forces

The IGU is organized into a number of commissions and task forces that deal with specific topics.[1]

The commission topics include e.g. specific approaches (e.g. Applied Geography), topics (e.g. Climatology, Health and Environment), methods (e.g. Geographical Information Science), and spatial examples (e.g. Mediterranean Basin). There are also commissions for the International Olympiad and Geographical Education.

The two task forces are "Young and Early-Career Geographers" and "Centennial and Sesquicentennial".


The IGU-CGE (Commission on Geographical Education) focuses on geography education. It is currently headed by co-chairs Clare Brooks (UK) and Chew-Hung Chang (Singapore).[2]

It publishes the IRGEE journal and organizes yearly conferences.[3] The "International Charter on Geographical Education" constitutes an international agreement on different aspects of geography education with global impacts. The 2016 charter features important geography education research questions and policy recommendations. As such the charter is: Convinced that geographical education is indispensable to the development of responsible and active citizens in the present and future world; Conscious that geography can be an informing, enabling and stimulating subject at all levels in education, and contributes to a lifelong enjoyment and understanding of our world; Aware that students require increasing international competence in order to ensure effective cooperation on a broad range of economic, political, cultural and environmental issues in a shrinking world; Concerned that geographical education is neglected in some parts of the world, and lacks structure and coherence in others; Ready to assist colleagues in counteracting geographical illiteracy in all countries of the world. [4] In the 1992 charter there is also information on geographic questions, key concepts, approaches and the selection of spatial examples.[5]

List of congresses

International Geographical Congresses have been held as follows:[6]

* Extraordinary Congress
Year City
1st 1922 French Third Republic Paris
2nd 1928 United Kingdom Cambridge
3rd 1931 France Paris
4th 1934 Second Polish Republic Warsaw
5th 1938 Netherlands Amsterdam
6th 1949 Portugal Lisbon
7th 1952 United States Washington, D.C.
8th 1956 Brazil Rio de Janeiro
9th 1960 Sweden Stockholm
10th 1964 United Kingdom London
11th 1968 India New Delhi
12th 1972 Canada Montreal
13th 1976 Soviet Union Moscow
14th 1980 Japan Tokyo
15th 1984 France Paris
16th 1988 Australia Sydney
17th 1992 United States Washington, D.C.
18th 1996 Netherlands The Hague
19th 2000 South Korea Seoul
20th 2004 United Kingdom Glasgow
21st 2008 Tunisia Tunis
22nd 2012 Germany Cologne
23rd 2016 China Beijing
24th 2021 Turkey Istanbul[A]
* 2022 France Paris[B]
25th 2024 Republic of Ireland Dublin
26th 2028 Australia Melbourne
  1. ^ Originally scheduled for 2020, the Congress was postponed by one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. ^ Extraordinary Congress for IGU Centenary.


  1. ^ "Commissions". IGU Online. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  2. ^ "People - IGU CGE". IGU CGE. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  3. ^ "Home - IGU CGE". IGU CGE. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  4. ^ "2016 Charter - IGU CGE". IGU CGE. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  5. ^ "1992 Charter - IGU CGE". IGU CGE. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  6. ^ "List of congresses". International Geographical Union. 3 August 2021.