International recognition for University of Waikato academic leader

30 July 2018

Professor Robyn Longhurst.

The International Geographic Union has awarded Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Robyn Longhurst its Lauréat d’honneur for her work which it says continues to profoundly reshape the discipline.

The Union is an international, non-governmental, professional organisation devoted to the development of Geography. The prestigious Lauréat d’honneur recognises individuals who have achieved particular distinction or outstanding service in the work of the Union or in international geography and environmental research.

The Union’s citation for Professor Longhurst states

She is a leading scholar in gender, social and cultural geography. Her sustained intellectual and institutional contributions – nationally and internationally – continue to profoundly reshape the discipline. She served the Union’s Gender and Geography Commission for three terms, one of which as Chair, and is a global collaborator with numerous groups and institutions. Robyn's theoretically and empirically rich research focuses on the challenges and complexities of people, inequalities and injustices. Her research on gendered spaces - particularly pregnancy, mothering and social media - is ground-breaking. A committed educator, she has many awards for her geography teaching and research supervision and is a richly deserving recipient of the Lauréat d’honneur.

The Lauréat d’honneur has traditionally been dominated by men, so even in receiving the award, Professor Longhurst is continuing to help shape the organisation and change gender boundaries. "Although this award has been conferred upon me, and for this I’m deeply grateful, it actually reflects positively on the incredible work carried out by the Gender and Geography Commission,” she says. “It has been a privilege working with members of this highly successful Commission on issues of inequality over many years, and I see this award as being for all of those who contributed to this success. The award also reflects positively on the discipline of Geography in New Zealand.“

This is the first time in the Union’s long history that New Zealanders have received the award, with Professor Richard Le Heron from the University of Auckland also being honored alongside Professor Longhurst.  “At the risk of it sounding like national pride, I think two New Zealanders receiving a Laureat this year is very special indeed."

The award will be presented in Quebec in August.