Scientific Program Committee - Ronald Abler

Ronald F. Abler is President of the International Geographical Union (IUG), which he served as a Vice President from 1996-2000 and from 2006-2008, and as Secretary General and Treasurer from 2000 through 2006. He retired as Executive Director of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) in December 2002 after 13 years of service in that position. Abler is Professor Emeritus of Geography at the Pennsylvania State University, where he taught from 1967 to 1995, serving as Head of the Department of Geography from 1976 to 1982. From 1984 to 1988, Abler was Director of the Geography and Regional Science Program at the National Science Foundation, where he expanded funding for physical geography and coordinated the establishment of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA). He has served on the boards of directors of numerous academic and non-profit organizations, including the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA), the International Geographic Information Foundation (IGIF), the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA), the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation (RNRF), and the University Consortium for Geographic Information Sciences (UCGIS).

Professor Abler's research has explored the ways societies have used intercommunications technologies at different times and places. He has written numerous research articles and is co-author or editor of several books. Most recently he served as Scientific Administrator for the AAG’s 1994-2002 Global Change and Local Places project and edited the book summarizing the project’s findings: Global Change and Local Places: Estimating, Understanding, and Reducing Greenhouse Gases (Cambridge University Press 2003).

Abler was Vice President, President, and Past President of the Association of American Geographers from 1984 to 1987. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1985. Among the awards and honors he has received are the Centenary Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (1990), Association of American Geographers Honors (1995), the Victoria Medal of the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers (1996), and in 2004 the Samuel Finley Breese Morse Medal of the American Geographical Society.