Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Sandra Villacorta and Iain Hay are awarded the Geoethics Medal 2021

Sandra Villacorta and Iain Hay
are awarded the Geoethics Medal 2021

Sandra Villacorta (Peru)
"Sandra Villacorta is one of the outstanding figures in geoethical practice in the Spanish-speaking region. She has made a measurable impact over the past 10 years as a passionate advocate for promoting the spread of Geosciences in the society as well as the improvement of Geosciences education quality and leading the advance in geoethics in Latin America. She was the founder of the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG) Peruvian section, highlighted in the region. Since 2014 she has dedicated herself to promoting scientific integrity, ethics, and equality in geosciences, as well as giving conferences and writing articles on geoscience subjects and geoethics to spread it in the Spanish language. Her volunteer activities include: working with the International Union of Geological Sciences (Commission on Geoscience Education) and the International Geoscience Education Organization to help the improvement of Geosciences education worldwide and working in raising the awareness of applying Geosciences as part of the solutions for the development in Latin American countries, as a member of international committees. She has also assisted the Peruvian Groups of the International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment and IAPG with encouraging the use of worldwide techniques of engineering geology and ethical values to solve environmental problems faced in Peru and frequently been asked to give public talks as well as to appear as the subject of a variety of media material, encouraging awareness in disaster prevention in Peru. Sandra is an example of a high level of commitment to the practice of geoethics, academic excellence and develops its activities as a geoethical duty to society."

Iain Hay (Australia)
"Iain Hay has pioneered the field of geographies of domination and oppression in a lifetime’s work acknowledged by a rare Doctor of Letters (University of Canterbury 2009). His research unmasks unintended and insidious ways in which injustice is created, reproduced and transformed. He works tirelessly to overcome injustice through practical and conceptual means and has led international professional development initiatives on ethics in geography; shaped geographical organisations’ codes of ethics; and developed influential educational resources on ethics. Iain’s lasting service to geoscience professions includes as First Vice‐President of the International Geographical Union, President of the Institute of Australian Geographers, Chair of the Australian Academy of Science’s National Committee for Geography, and Councillor of the global Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). He co‐founded the ground‐breaking journal Ethics, Place and Environment and promoted its ambitions for twelve years as Asia‐Pacific Commissioning Editor. He has been Editor-in‐Chief of Geographical Research and Editor of South Australian Geographical Journal. Iain co‐authored the innovative Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and continues to write extensively on ethics in geography. Contributors to his landmark multi‐edition book Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography are entreated to emphasise ethical concerns, social justice, issues of racism, ableism, sexism, and Indigenous issues in their chapters. Iain’s dedication to justice and the development of geoethical understandings is acknowledged by awards from the: American Association of Geographers, New Zealand Geographical Society, and Royal Geographical Society. He is the only geographer to receive the Australian Prime Minister’s Award for University Teacher of the Year."


Sandra Villacorta joined the team of geological service professionals from Peru (INGEMMET) in 2003 as a junior geologist in the Division of Environmental Geology (before becoming the environmental geology and geological risk) in Lima, Peru. There, he began by supporting studies of the National Program of Geologic Hazards. In 2007, advanced to a senior geologist and group leader, developing projects of and then developing studies of Environmental Geology but later specialized in mass movements (in particular debris flows and floods). In 2011 and 2015, went part-time at the National University of Engineering giving lectures at the applied geology course (undergraduate) and the course on Risk Assessment caused by natural phenomena (postgraduate). Since that time she assisted numerous students in their bachelor and master's thesis. Between 2013 and 2018, she studied Lima's alluvial fan to have a geomorphological interpretation to help in preventing disaster in the Peruvian capital. During this time she developed volunteer activity through being a member of the Young Earth Scientist network, International Association for Promoting Geoethics, International Geoscience Education Organization and International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment. Between 2014 and 2018, she was the representative of IAPG in Peru and developed initiatives such as promoting the creation of other IAPG sections in Latin America and the foundation of the Latin American chapter of IGEO. To date, she has authored or co-authored 35 peer-reviewed publications (consisting of 43 conference papers, 41 journal articles and a book chapter and a book in progress). Most importantly, she has steered projects through international networks involving professionals in Europe, Latin America, The Caribbean and Australasia. An example of the variety of her involvement in projects includes Lima Environmental Atlas (several Peruvian entities); Building Latin American chapter of IGEO (coordinating with colleagues in Latin America and The Caribbean); green technology to prevent disaster (ongoing with Charles Darwin University, Australia). Her research topics include Quaternary landscape processes, fluvial geomorphology, natural hazards, spatial analysis of terrain, erosion processes and environmental geology. She also develops models for debris flow and floods that can be used to predict geohazards in urban areas. In addition, Dr. Villacorta currently holds a research fellow position with Charles Darwin University and previously worked with INGEMMET for 15 years. In that experience, she covered a wide variety of open-cut geoscientific projects across environmental geology, geotechnical and geosciences. She has been instrumental in the conception, inception, guidance and leadership of projects. A direct contribution to disaster prevention was through the Landslide Susceptibility Map of Peru project, which involved the collection and interpretation of data from more than ten years of research. The result was effectively shared online with the Peruvian administration for natural disaster management. To see the gamut of projects Sandra has been involved with, visit the INGEMMET website (Geocatmin). Education: She has been lecturer, mentor, trainer, guide, challenger, advisor to an innumerable number of students and young geologists during her career in Peru and recently in Latin America. Her extensive experience has enabled her to educate geoscientists across several experience levels from undergraduates, graduates and post-graduates, geotechnical engineers to senior geologists and heads of department. Many people she has been involved with have progressed to become prolific contributors in their own right to the body of knowledge on the Andes geological hazards. In this sense, she has generated a multiplier effect on the contribution to geohazard knowledge in Peru and Latin America through her original contribution. Qualifications and Pre- Career: She received her PhD from the Technical University of Madrid, Spain, in 2018. After graduation, she joined the University of Charles Darwin as a research fellow in Australia, working on infrastructure and green technology to prevent disaster. She also holds a Master degree of Science in Environmental Geology from the same University and a Bachelor degree as a Geologist Engineer from the National University of Engineering (Peru).

Iain Hay's academic career has been dedicated to the understanding and assurance of justice. After joining Flinders University’s ethics review committee in 1992 he became absorbed with the links between justice, geography, and ethics, and keen to negotiate the fraught relationship between ethical conduct and regulatory compliance. Iain was concerned to ensure that geographers favour and apply thoughtful ethical conduct over blind compliance to institutional edicts. Throughout his career he has tackled this challenge along three interconnected axes: scholarly leadership, institutional service, and celebrated teaching. First, with two colleagues, Iain co‐founded the ground‐breaking journal Ethics, Place and Environment in 1998 and served for over 12 years as its Asia‐Pacific Commissioning Editor. His highly‐cited article in the journal’s inaugural issue announced ambitions for an ethical focus in geography that encourages the development and application of moral imaginations and does so by embracing research, pedagogy, and the role of professional societies equally. Later, Iain teamed this work with a successful book, co‐authored with lawyer/criminologist Mark Israel, entitled Research Ethics in the Social Sciences. From ethical conduct to regulatory compliance (2006), and numerous scholarly papers written over two decades. And Iain’s most successful book, Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography (Oxford University Press), now in its fifth edition, has been a vanguard of ethical practice. Second, in the 1990s Iain guided the Institute of Australian Geographers and the New Zealand Geographical Society in their development of ethical codes. He helped move the policy focus from adherence to ‘codes’ to thoughtful, ‘ethically informed conduct’ by ‘responsible citizens’. He also served as Institute of Australian Geographers’ liaison with the American Association of Geographers’ Values and Environmental Justice Specialty Group. In a continuation of his career‐long institutional service to geoethics, Iain was recently elected by its 12,000 members to join the Council of the global Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Third, recognising that not all geoethical challenges can be anticipated, Iain has sought to help students and colleagues develop the skills, knowledge, and character required to conduct themselves ethically, even when none is watching. He developed, used, and published innovative teaching‐and‐learning resources to foster what he calls ‘moral imaginations’. Central to these resources are real ethical dilemmas, gathered painstakingly from geographers who had confronted them in everyday practice around the world. That this work has been successful is linked to Iain’s internationally recognised capabilities as a distinguished geoeducator. He has, for example, been able to advance geoethics through work as co‐founder of the International Network for Learning and Teaching Geography in Higher Education, foundation Australasian Editor of Journal of Geography in Higher Education, advisor on British geoethics curriculum projects, and ethics program contributor to the US Geography Faculty Development Alliance. Iain’s professional commitment has been recognised extensively. In 2006 he received the Prime Minister’s Award for Australian University Teacher of the Year. In 2009, the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) acknowledged his “excellence in the promotion and practice of teaching and learning in Geography in Higher Education” with its Taylor and Francis Award. In 2010 he accepted the American Association of Geographers’ E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Award, for “outstanding contributions to the discipline of geography.”
The New Zealand Geographical Society presented Iain with its Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Medal in 2011 and in 2014 he was admitted as a Fellow the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences. This was followed in 2018 by the American Association of Geographers’ Grosvenor Geographic Education Honors, believed to be the first time this award has been presented to anyone outside North America. Iain Hay’s name is synonymous with advancing ethics practice and education in geography.

Geoethics Medal recipients
  • 2021: Sandra Villacorta (Peru) and Iain Hay (Australia)
  • 2020: John Geissman (USA)
  • 2019: Linda Gundersen (USA)
  • 2018: Chris King (United Kingdom)

Geoethics Medal website


IAPG - International Association for Promoting Geoethics

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