Dear Colleagues,

The International Geographical Union (IGU) will meet in Moscow this summer for the third time since the International Geographical Congress of 1976, when over 2,000 participants from around the world gathered in the Soviet capital for lectures, discussions, workshops and excursions. The pace of global change has since accelerated in directions that once seemed unimaginable. At the 2015 IGU Regional Conference, participants will have ample opportunity to discuss these changes in light of current political-environmental challenges. The conference theme is “Geography, Culture and Society for Our Future Earth.” It will take place at Lomonosov Moscow State University (LMSU) from 17-21 August, 2015.

The IGU is one of the world’s oldest international researchers’ associations. The first International Geographical Congress was held in 1871, and subsequent meetings led to the establishment of the IGU in 1922. Today its members hail from over 90 countries, united in support of geographical research and education. In addition to the IGU General Assembly, Executive Committee and National Committees, the organisation includes special commissions and task forces engaged in ongoing collaborative projects. Dr. Vladimir Kolosov of the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Geography is serving as president of the IGU from 2012 to 2016.

Interdisciplinary collaboration is central to the IGU’s operations and long-term objectives, as evident in recent initiatives on urban environment, geographical education and building a database of related peer-reviewed journals. The most ambitious is the UN International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU) aimed at fostering international cooperation based on awareness of the relationships between local actions and global problems. The IGU also supports the participation of geographers in world scientific communities through affiliation with the International Council for Science and the International Social Science Council. The IGU Congress is held every four years — in 2012 it was in Cologne and in 2016 it will be in Beijing. Regional Conferences are annual events hosted recently in Santiago, Kyoto and Krakow.

IGU Moscow 2015 will focus on five main themes: urban environment, polar studies, climate change, global conflicts, and regional sustainability. The programme is rooted in principles of diversity and interdisciplinary exchange. It will feature a variety of meetings, including plenary sessions, lectures, panel discussions, workshops and other events. There will also be opportunities to share ideas on IGU projects and the role of geographers in international initiatives such as Future Earth. Geographical education and integration of young scholars will be central to each of the conference themes. The programme will feature a day for young scholars as well as sessions on “Academic Geography for Secondary Schools” and “Teaching Geography in the University.” IGU Moscow will also include the 2015 International Geographical Olympiad.

Conference proceedings will take place at the LMSU main campus, a distinctive work of Socialist Realist architecture that rises 236 meters above a park along the Moscow River. Views of the city from the Faculty of Geography and museums on the building’s upper floors are among the most breathtaking of many in Russia’s capital. At the core of a territory that spans nine time zones, Moscow’s fabric embodies fascinating historical transformations and continuities. We encourage participants to join a host of excursions in and around the city. After the conference there will be planned trips to other parts of Russia, including St. Petersburg, the Golden Ring, the Upper Volga, Sochi, Kazan, Novgorod the Great and Valday National Park. Excursions will provide many different options for informal conversation based on shared geographical, cultural and historical interests.

The 2015 IGU Regional Conference will be a chance for geographers from around the world to converse in a range of intriguing locations. This dialogue within and between disciplines will address critical issues in geography today, strengthening collaboration in response to global challenges through research and education. Registration began on 10 November 2014. We look forward to seeing you in August!

Vladimir Kotlyakov
Russian National Committee of the IGU
Vice chair of the Steering committee, academician, director of the Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences