The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s 2013 annual general meeting kicked off on Nov. 13, at Ottawa’s Conference & Event Centre near the Society’s headquarters. The AGM’s docket included a new declaration for geography education in Canada, the official announcement of more than 100 new Fellows and dynamic new northern research by a Canadian grad student. Here’s a summary of the most significant developments.

The St. John’s Declaration
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society officially adopted the St. John’s Declaration, which aims to improve geographic literacy in Canada. Implemented by the Canadian Association of Geographers and the Society and its educational arm, Canadian Geographic Education, the declaration was endorsed by representatives from educational institutions across Canada. Learn more at

New Fellows
This year 118 new members were named to the Society’s College of Fellows, including senator and former head of the United Nation’s peacekeeping force in Rwanda Roméo Dallaire, actor Paul Gross and Toronto chef Michael Bonacini, who is set to judge the upcoming inaugural season of MasterChef Canada. The Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, David C. Onley, was also inducted as one of 15 Honourary Fellows. Go to for the entire list of new Fellows.

Changes in the board of governors
The board of governors saw some shifts and welcomed a few new faces. Paul Ruest was voted in as the new president of the Society, after serving as interim president since John Geiger left the position to take over as CEO in July 2013. Élisabeth Nadeau was named vice-president, while James Boxall and Beth Dye came on as governors.

Maxwell Studentship Grant
Joanna Petrasek MacDonald, winner of the 2013 James Maxwell Human Geography Scholarship, presented her findings on the impacts of climate change on the mental health of Inuit youth in Nunatsiavut, Labrador. Watch a video about her work at