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History of the IGU

The IGU was formally established in Brussels in 1922. However, the history of international meetings of geographers is much longer. The first of a series of congresses met in 1871 in Antwerp. Since its early days the Union has consisted of three major components: a General Assembly of the delegates appointed by the member countries which meets at the time of the Congress and is the highest authority of the Union; an Executive Committee which consists of a President, eight Vice-Presidents and a Secretary-General and Treasurer; Commissions and Study Groups which continue their work between General Assembly meetings. The working languages of the Union are English and French.



Presidents of the International Geographical Union
1922–24 Prince Roland Bonaparte, France
1924–28 General Nicola Vacchelli, Italy
1928–31 General Robert Bourgeois, France
1931–34 Isaiah Bowman, United States
1934–38 Sir Charles Close, UK
1938–49 Emmanuel de Martonne, France
1949–52 George B. Cressey, United States
1952–56 L. Dudley Stamp, UK
1956–60 Hans Wilhelmsson Ahlmann, Sweden
1960–64 Carl Troll, Germany
1964–68 Shiba P. Chatterjee, India
1968–72 Stanisław Leszczycki, Poland
1972–76 Jean Dresch, France
1976–80 Michael J. Wise, UK
1980–84 Akin L. Mabogunje, Nigeria
1984–88 Peter Scott, Australia
1988–92 Roland J. Fuchs United States
1992–96 Herman Th. Verstappen, Netherlands
1996–2000 Bruno Messerli, Switzerland
2000–2004 Anne Buttimer, Ireland
2004–2006 Adalberto Vallega, Italy, died in office
2006–2008 José Palacio-Prieto, Mexico, acting
2008–2012 Ronald Abler, United States
2012–2016 Vladimir Kolosov, Russian Federation
2016–2020 Yukio Himiyama, Japan
2020-present Michael Meadows, South Africa

Secretaries-General and Treasurers of the International Geographical Union
1922–28 Sir Charles Close, UK
1928–31 Filippo de Filippi, Italy
1931–38 Emmanuel de Martonne, France
1938–49 Paul Michotte + Marguerite-Alice Lefèvre, Belgium
1949–56 George H. T. Kimble, Canada
1956–68 Hans Boesch, Switzerland
1968–76 Chauncy D. Harris, United States
1976–84 Walther Manshard, Germany
1984–92 Leszek A. Kosiński, Canada
1992–2000 Eckart Ehlers, Germany
2000–2008 Ronald Abler, United States
2008–2010 Yu Woo-ik, South Korea
2010–2018 Michael Meadows, South Africa
2018-present RB Singh, India