IGU’s overall objective is to be a truly global organisation. According to its strategy document 2015 to 2022, one of the current Executive Committee’s goals is to achieve increased involvement of new country members and the improvement of cooperation with geographers in particular from Africa, Latin America and other regions not yet fully participating in the activity of IGU.

A first step to new country membership is to increase IGU visibility there, and this was the background of VP Dietrich Soyez’ visits to Sultan Qaboos University/SQU in Muscat (Oman) and United Arab Emirates University/UAEU in Al Ain (United Arab Emirates) in early May.

At both universities Soyez’ presentations focused on IGU mission, structure and projects, such as International Year of Global Understanding/IYGU and Our Sustainable Cities/OurSus, while underlining the benefits of country memberships (e.g. better access to and cooperation opportunities with global organisations like ICSU and ISSC). A special emphasis was put on convincing geography students and early career researchers to join IGU Commissions on an individual basis by requesting to be put on the mailings lists, thus enabling them to increasingly grow into geography’s international communities.

It is the hope of the Executive Committee that both Oman and the United Arab Emirates will take the decision shortly to join the IGU.