At the Society’s Annual General Meeting today, Baroness Chalker will become President for a three year term. She is the second woman to take on this role in the Society’s history, following in the footsteps of Professor Judith Rees CBE who was elected in 2012.
A member of the House of Lords since 1992, Baroness Chalker previously served as Minister for Overseas Development and Africa at the Foreign Office and is one of the longest continuous serving politicians in British history.
She led the British delegation during the first ever International Conference on International Development in 1993 in Tokyo. She is the Founder and President of commercial consultancy ‘Africa Matters’ and a former Chair of the Medicines for Malaria Venture, a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to reducing the burden of malaria in disease endemic countries.
Commenting on her appointment, Baroness Chalker said:
“I am delighted to have been elected as President of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). I follow in the footsteps of many inspiring Presidents before me and am honoured to be selected to lead such a prestigious organisation. The role of geography is increasingly important in today’s changing and complex world and is critical to solving the next generation of challenges. I very much look forward to my term of office as President.”
As an Honorary Member of the Society since 1998, and having previously served on the Society’s Council as a trustee for seven years, she brings a wealth of experience about the Society, geographical issues, policy and international development to the role of President.
Professor Joe Smith, Director of the Society said:
“I am delighted about the appointment of Baroness Chalker and look forward to the next three years and the work we will do together to build on the Society’s success and prominence. Her experience, public presence and passion for geography mean that she will be a distinguished and effective figurehead for the Society.”
Baroness Chalker takes over from writer, geographer and broadcaster Nicholas Crane as the Society’s figurehead, and chair of its elected trustees. Nicholas Crane becomes Immediate Past President and as such will continue to be involved with the Society and its work as a member of its Council.
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