Anne Buttimer#

Original article(info)

EVENING ECHO, September 5, 2009


Cork academic Anne Buttimer gets royal honour from Sweden

A CORK-born, renowned geographer who has presented medals to some of the world’s best known humanitarians has herself received the highest accolade in her field from the Swedish King.

Professor Anne Buttimer, Professor Emeritus of Geography, in the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy at University College Dublin, has been awarded a major honour by the King of Sweden for her contributions to humanistic geography and the development of geography in Sweden.

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Prof. Anne Buttimer with the President of Finland, Tarja Halonen, at the re-establishment of Tartu University in Estonia.

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Prof. Anne Buttimer proudly displaying her Johan August Wahlberg gold medal at her home in Glenville. Picture: Richard Mills

At a ceremony in Stockholm Royal Castle recently, the King of Sweden awarded the Johan August Wahlberg gold medal to professor Buttimer. This is the first time an Irish academic has been so honoured.

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King Carl Gustaf with Prof. Anne Buttimer at Stockholm Royal Castle, where Anne received the Johan August Wahlberg medal for her contribution to geography. Picture: Frederik Sandberg
Prof Buttimer has a long association with Sweden — she was visiting Fulbright Professor of Social Ecology at Lund University in 1976 after having been a full-time researcher there between 1977 and 1978 and again in the 1980s.

Prof Buttimer who came to live in Glenville in Cork when she was just eight-years-old is a graduate of University College Cork. She received her PHD in Geography at University of Washington (Seattle) in 1965 and since then has held research and teaching positions in Belgium, Canada, France, Scotland, Sweden, and USA. She has authored or edited up 18 books and has written countless articles on subjects ranging from urban planning to the history of ideas and environmental policy.

Some of her work has been published in translation to Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Latvian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Russian. Her academic interests include the history and philosophy of science, urban and social geography, migration and identity, environmental experience, nature and culture, environment and sustainable development.

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Professor Buttimer was awarded an honorary doctorate at University of Joensuu, Finland, in 2002.
In August 2008 she was elected president of the International Geographic Union, becoming the first women ever to take the presidency. In this role, she was invited to meet with Pope John Paul in the Vatican. During her role as president, she also had the honour of awarding the International Geographical Union’s Planet and Humanity Medal to Nelson Mandela in 2002 and Michael Gorbachev for his work in 2004.

The August Johan Walberg medal is just one accolade in a long line of awards and honours the multilingual Cork woman has received. Prof Buttimer said she was really surprised to receive the medal and was hugely honoured by it.

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