AGS Announces Honorary Fellows for 2015 Symposium

American Geographical Society



American Geographical Society to Award Honorary Fellowships at Fall Symposium.

Description:  The Honorary Fellowship, awarded by the American Geographical Society (AGS), is one of several prestigious honors given by the Society, and are bestowed on individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of geography . Mr. Jesse Ausubel, Director for the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University, Dr. D. James Baker, Director of the Global Carbon Measurement Program of the William J. Clinton Foundation, and Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, will receive the honor on the 20thof November during the AGS Fall Symposium, Geography 2050: Exploring our Future in an Urbanized World, to be held at Columbia University.


[New York City, NY] — [26 October 2015]– The American Geographical Society (AGS) announced today that Mr. Jesse Ausubel, Dr. D. James Baker, and Dr. Jeffrey Sachs have been selected to receive American Geographical Society Honorary Fellowship. The certificates of honor will be presented on November 20, 2015 at 12:00PM during the Society’s annual Fall Symposium to be held at Columbia University.  For more information on the Symposium, please refer to


The Honorary Fellowships are bestowed on individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of geography. At the time of the founding of the Society in 1851, a provision was made for a category of Honorary Fellows, and, until the first medal was awarded in 1896, this was the only honor the institution could bestow. Many of the Honorary Fellows are some of the most recognized names in geographical and exploration history.


Mr. Ausubel is an innovative thinker in fields closely aligned to geography. He has long been Director for the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University and concurrently affiliated with the Sloan Foundation, formerly as program director and now as science advisor. In his work at Rockefeller he and colleagues have used elaborate mathematical models examining energy flows through multiple systems “to elaborate the vision of a large, prosperous society that emits little or nothing harmful and spares large amounts of land and sea for nature.” Under Sloan auspices, Mr. Ausubel helped create and complete the decade-long Census of Marine Life, an international program to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the oceans. He also co-founded the movement to develop short genetic identifiers, DNA barcodes, for animals, plants, and fungi, and served as founding chair of the Encyclopedia of Life, to develop a webpage for every species. In 2009, he helped established the international Deep Carbon Observatory. Mr. Ausubel has authored and edited over 150 articles, reports, and books. He co-authored the 1989 paper “Dematerialization” that opened the study of this subject and in 1991 published the first paper on the concept of “decarbonization” of the energy system.


Dr. Baker is currently the Director of the Global Carbon Measurement Program of the William J. Clinton Foundation, working with forestry programs in developing countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and alleviate poverty. He is also a science and management consultant with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO in Paris and the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and the Environment in Washington, D.C. He is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics, and is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania and at the University of Delaware. He memorably served as a scientific advisor to former Vice President Al Gore on the Oscar-winning film “An Inconvenient Truth” and lectures regularly on sustainability, climate change, and oceanography. During the 1990s in the Clinton Administration, Baker was Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. He has more than 100 scientific publications and is the author of the book Planet Earth: The View from Space, published by Harvard University Press.


Dr. Sachs is one of the world’s leading experts on economic development, global poverty, and sustainable environmental practices, and has led cutting edge research and education on earth systems studies and sustainable development, including development of the first U.S. PhD program in sustainable development and a new Masters in Development Practice (MDP). Throughout the 1990s, Sachs led efforts in Poland, Slovenia, Estonia and Russia to use methods he developed for transition from central planning to a market economy, and assisted in applying macroeconomic policies to Russia’s economic reforms. He has also advised India and China on macroeconomics and health issues. Since 1995 he has been deeply involved in efforts and developing new strategies to alleviate poverty in Africa. He is an economic/health adviser to a number of African nations (Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal, Nigeria, Mali, Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia) with a focus on investing in health to help break the poverty trap in Africa.  He has also worked on issues related to agricultural development and establishment of credit and microloan programs in rural areas. As an adviser to the UN Secretary-General (both current Ban Ki-Moon and former Kofi Annan) he has championed the Millennium Development Goals (8 internationally sanctioned objectives to reduce extreme poverty, hunger and disease by 2015).


Established in 1851, the American Geographical Society (AGS) is the oldest professional geographical organization in the United States. It is recognized world-wide as a pioneer in geographical research and education and has been awarding medals for outstanding accomplishments in Geography for over 117 years. The mission of the American Geographical Society is to link business, professional, and scholarly worlds in the creation and application of geographical knowledge and techniques to address economic, social, and environmental problems. The Society’s work serves to increase geographical knowledge and the recognition of its importance in the contemporary world. With members worldwide, the Society maintains its Headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.

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