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Newsletter n° 7
December 2003

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Home of Geography - Maison de la Géographie
Via della Navicella, 12
00184 Roma – Italy
Tel/Fax: +39 06 77591183

Home of Geography News and Update

Prof. Armando Montanari
Past Director
Home of Geography

Prof. Giuliano Bellezza
New Director
Home of Geography

The Director of the Home of Geography, Professor Armando Montanari, having completed a term of three years in July 2003, was obliged to renounce his post because of new responsibilities. On the occasion of the Celimontana Committee Meeting in June, IGU President Anne Buttimer presented him with the volume “The Earth from the Air” in acknowledgement of his generous and creative role as First Director of the Home of Geography 2000-2003. Speaking on behalf of both the IGU Executive and the Celimontana Committee, she paid tribute to his leadership qualities, innovative projects and tireless commitment to fostering networks and communication within the international geographical community.

2000-2003 Objectives and Achievements

According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the International Geographical Union and the Società Geografica Italiana (Italian Geographical Society), the Home of Geography was constituted in June 2000 with the aim of promoting geography on a local and global scale. This agreement encompasses the conservation, elaboration and management of the IGU archives, the establishment of a geographical network, the organisation of meetings and conferences, the provision of assistance in the form of technical collaboration to enable geographers to participate in international scientific cooperation, and collaboration with the IGU Executive Committee.

IGU Archives: the archives that had previously been held in Bonn and London were transferred to the Home of Geography. This material was entered into register by Prof. Geoffrey Martin, Archivist of the American Association of Geographers. The collection spans the period c. 1956-2000 and contains documents and correspondence relating to the following series: (1) The meaning of the IGU/UGI; (2) Member countries of the IGU and correspondence relating thereto; (3) Congresses of the IGU; (4) Regional Conferences of the IGU; (5) IGU Commissions; (6) IGU Study Groups; (7) IGU Working Groups; (8) IGU Executive; (9) IGU Newsletter, Bulletin and other Publications; (10) Affiliation with other organisations; (11) Financial income and expenditure of the Union. An additional archive comprises approximately 100 video tapes containing recordings of interviews with some of the most important geographers in the world.

IGU-Home of Geography Publication Series: In order to contribute to the collection and distribution of the material produced by IGU research groups, a Publication Series has been created. The main characteristics of this series are low costs, the possibility of printing material in shorter timeframes and the offer of publishing space to geographers operating within the activities of the IGU, with priority given to those IGU Commissions which organise their conferences at Villa Celimontana. Until now, two volumes have been published: Volume I – “Human Mobility in a Borderless World?” and Volume II – “Food and Environment: Geographies of Taste”. Volume IV – “The New Geography of Human Mobility – Inequality Trends?” and Volume V – “Migrations in Europe: the Four Last Decades” will be published by the end of 2003.

Geographical Information Network: A specific project entitled “Network and Promotion” has been launched with the aim of providing information on the characteristics of and the opportunities offered by the main international organisations and on the ways in which the geographical community can collaborate with them. Full details can be found on the Home of Geography website.

Home of Geography Website: The website is based on five themes. The first offers general information on its organisation, location and objectives. The second refers to educational activities. The third provides information on its publications. The fourth gives recent news and information on the organisation of activities and events. Finally the fifth theme refers to the links between IGU research groups, the IGU archives and the Networking project.

Home of Geography Newsletter: The newsletter is produced in both English and French, with some issues also in Spanish, both in printed form and on the Home of Geography website. The first newsletter was published in May 2001 and to date six have been produced.

Meetings and Conferences: Since 2001, the Home of Geography has received numerous visits by geographers from the USA, New Zealand, France, Israel and Portugal. Additionally, a small working group used the Home of Geography facilities to edit their Teacher’s Guide on Geographical Perspectives on Sustainable Development.

Other conferences organised at Villa Celimontana are as follows: “The Geography of Taste: Between Globalisation and Local Roots” (2001); “Rights to the City”, organised by the IGU Commissions on Political Geography and on Geography and Public Policy (2002); “Gendered Cities: identities, activities, networks – a life course approach”, organised by the IGU Commission on Gender and Geography (2003).

Technical Collaboration with geographers: An agreement was signed with the United Office for Project Services (UNOPS) of New York for the collaboration of management projects using the operative potential of the geographical discipline. Another project has been launched which is financed by the Inter-American Development Bank of Washington for the realisation of an educational programme in Latin America.

Collaboration with the IGU Executive Committee: This collaboration comes in the shape of information exchange, the distribution of responsibility in the coordination and circulation of geographical information, joint participation in important international geographical events, such as IGU Conferences, and in those of important national geographical associations, such as the Annual Meetings of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), held in New York (2001), Los Angeles (2002), New Orleans (2003) and their next meeting which will be held in Philadelphia in 2004.

The New Director of the Home of Geography

Following Professor Montanari’s departure, the Celimontana Committee nominated a new Director, Professor Giuliano Bellezza, who currently holds the chair of Geography at the University of Tuscia (Viterbo), in the Faculty of the Conservation of Cultural Heritage, where he is also Director of the Department for the Study, Knowledge and Enhancement of Historical and Artistic Heritage. For many years Professor Bellezza has participated in the IGU Study Group on Resource Management and Dry Lands and is currently working with the IGU Commission on the Cultural Approach in Geography. On an international level, he has published research carried out in the Dust Bowl, on the Grid System, on the relationships between large mining industries and Third World countries, and on the real and formal independence of the Caribbean States.

As new director of the Home of Geography, Professor Bellezza thanks the Celimontana Committee, who nominated him for this appointment, and extends his praise and recognition to Armando Montanari, for his exemplary management of the Home of Geography during its initial and certainly most demanding period.

Anne Buttimer welcomes Professor Bellezza, assuring him of the full support of the Committee and confident that the challenge of building on the foundations already laid at Villa Celimontana will be an exciting and rewarding one for him.

Objectives for the Future

IGU Paper Archives:
1) Retrieval of missing documentation, publications etc. (from individuals, Universities etc) as well as the definition and selection of past and future archive material;
2) Proposal to provide the archives on-line or to create a service capable of responding to specific documentation requests;
3) Addressing the issue of space and storage options (CD, Broadband, Harvest website storage software etc);
4) Employment of an archivist to organise the next phase of archive cataloguing;
5) Organisation of a workshop on the archives and their use.

IGU Video Archives:
1) Checking the condition of the tapes;
2) Storage options – transfer to CD, Broadband (obtaining the originals from which to make copies);
3) Projection of videos to individuals/groups (students) combined with meetings with the geographers interviewed on tape;
4) Access to/consultation of video archives by the public;
5) Production of a new series of videos.

IGU-Home of Geography Publication Series:
1) Volume III “Rights to the City” to be published;
2) Exploration of avenues to promote the series ( etc.);
3) Proposal of a project for the free distribution of the publications (and other IGU materials) to the libraries of third world countries.
4) Verification of the possibility of creating a parallel publication series – contact with various international Publishing Houses with a view to incorporating this new series in their commercial and distribution circuit.

Geographical Information Network:
1) Update of the Network and Promotion project;
2) French and Spanish versions;
3) Contact with IGU Commissions etc. for feedback on ways of optimising the service.

Home of Geography Website:
1) Facility to be set up to track consultations of the site.

Home of Geography Newsletter:
1) Diffusion of information on the Home of Geography (via the newsletter, amongst other means) throughout Italian Universities.

Meetings and Conferences:
1) IGU/Home of Geography participation at the AAG Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in 2004 and the 30th Congress of the IGU in Glasgow in 2004;
2) Organisation of training workshops for African/European teachers (UNESCO).
3) Organisation of a meeting on the new International Charter on Geographical Education.

Technical Collaboration with geographers:
1) Conclusion of agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington;
2) Collaboration with UNESCO offices in Paris

Collaboration with the IGU Executive Committee:
1) Book and Journal Donation Programme: compilation of a list of libraries/universities in third world countries who could be sent IGU/Home of Geography publications free of charge. UNESCO collaboration with publishers to provide journals at no/minimum cost or via Internet).

Programme of Activities:
1) Amendment of present programme.

1) Production of a flyer on the Home of Geography.

The Home of Geography warmly invites any comments on this and preceding newsletters as well as suggestions regarding its future objectives. More importantly, please let us know of any possible initiatives in which the Home of Geography could provide assistance or coooperation.