Last week, the Society’s CEO, Mike Robinson, travelled to Canada as a guest of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society to receive their prestigious Bernier Medal. Presented at an awards dinner in Ottawa, the medal was offered for Mike’s contribution to promoting geography on the international stage. This is evidenced, most notably, by his dynamic modernisation, re-structuring and re-invigoration of the RSGS – one of Scotland’s oldest educational charities – and for his pioneering contribution to climate change action.

Mike Robinson speaking at the awards dinner.

In addition, Mike and chairman of the RSGS, Professor Roger Crofts, were made Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and signed a Memorandum of Understanding to signal the commitment to increased working relations between the two charities.

Signing the Memorandum of Understanding

For the RSGS, the invitation to visit Canada represents a profound gesture of friendship from across the Atlantic, reinforcing the message that international collaboration is required to tackle many of the geographical problems we face today. These sentiments were echoed by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon during a dedicated video message that was aired to the invited guests. This speech highlighted the importance of developing stronger economic, academic and cultural ties between nations – as was exemplified by this occasion – and the particular importance of fostering international collaboration when working to tackle global issues such as climate change.

In return for the kind hospitality of the Canadian Society, Mike was delighted to distribute copies of the latest edition of the RSGS quarterly magazine, The Geographer, the theme of which is Canada at 150. Featured inside are articles from prominent Canadian authors from the worlds of science, adventure, and politics, covering topics as diverse as First Nations’ Perspectives, Canadian Sovereignty in the High Arctic, Snorkelling the Northwest Passage, and Old Scotia and Nova Scotia. Also included in this winter publication was an exciting interview with Hollywood director James Cameron who, in 2012, completed the deepest ocean dive in human history to the hidden depths of the Mariana Trench.

Commenting on his trip, Mike said: “It was a great honour to visit the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in person and receive both the prestigious Bernier Medal and an Honorary Fellowship. As CEO of the RSGS, I hope this occasion signals the beginning of a robust relationship between our two Societies that we can utilise to tackle global environmental problems and promote our mutual interests in geographical research, education and exploration. There are so many links between Scotland and Canada and a great willingness to forge greater friendships still”.

Royal Canadian Geographical Society Medals: (L) Fellowship Medal (R) Bernier Medal.