Distinguished Emeritus Professor Iain Hay (Australia-International Medal) Citation

Conferred Armidale, July 2022

Distinguished Emeritus Professor Iain Hay has made outstanding contributions by as an Australian geographer to the advancement of geography worldwide.

As the Matthew Flinders Distinguished Emeritus Professor, Iain Hay received numerous awards and commendations in various countries, including the Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Medal in 2011, the American Association of Geographers’ Grosvenor Geographic Education Honors in 2018, being elected a Fellow of the Association of American Geographers in 2021, and received the International Geoethics Award. The appropriate recognition of his exceptional contributions to advancing geography internationally, and Australia’s reputation and networks internationally, is overdue.

Iain’s contribution to the development of geography is at multiple levels, ranging from institutional leadership positions at Flinders University to leadership at state and national levels (including as President – Institute of Australian Geographers 2010-2012). It is Iain’s stellar international leadership credentials that are the focus of this submission.

Iain’s international leadership credentials are unparalleled. Iain was First Vice President 2020-2022 of the International Geographical Union of the International Geographical Union (IGU) following a period of being re-elected as one of eight Vice Presidents (2014-2020), and his ongoing role of Publications Officer 2014-2022. Over many years Iain has represented Australia and New Zealand geographical interests and has communicated to Australian geographers developments on the international scene in a two-way process that has provided mutual benefits to Australian and international geography. His support for emerging geographers to attend IGU Congress events and for hosting of regional and Congress events in Australia has been influential and crucial in the careers of individuals and important for geography in this country.

Distinguished Emeritus Professor Hay has also made enormous contributions internationally in terms of research. He has received International grants from the Association of American Geographers, British Academy and the China State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. In addition to his own publications on topics such as geography education, communication, research methods and on the super-rich, Professor Hay has edited collections and is on the Editorial Board of numerous journals including The Geographer since 2019, Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift (Norwegian Journal of Geography) since 2010, Journal of Geography in Higher Education since 2005 and International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning from 2008 onwards. He has previously served on the Editorial Boards of leading journals including Applied Geography (2007-11), Geographical Education (2006-12), International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education (2006-18) and Social and Cultural Geography (1998-2002). He has founded and edited influential state, national and international journals (e.g. Editor-in-Chief, Geographical Research (Wiley); co-founder and first Asia-Pacific Editor, Ethics, Place and Environment (Taylor & Francis) and was a foundation Australasian Editor, Journal of Geography in Higher Education (Taylor & Francis). Iain offers service to Editorial Boards of over 20 reputable journals, plus international book series.

Iain’s international contributions are further demonstrated through the publication of Qualitative Methods in Human Geography, a book edited by Iain and first published in 2000 as part of the Meridian Series. It has grown and become very international since that beginning. The fifth and latest edition was published in 2021 and has chapters from geographers in Australia (9), USA (9), New Zealand (4), Canada and the UK (1). As a major textbook, Qualitative Methods in Human Geography well illustrates Iain’s contribution to geography and international connections and standing.

Given this outstanding and sustained international contribution it is fitting that Professor Iain Hay has been recognized by many international geographical organisations through a suite of major notable international research awards. These include:

  • The inaugural Association of American Geographers’ E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Award, for “outstanding contributions to the discipline of geography due to his special competence in teaching and research” (2010)”;
  • Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Medal awarded by the New Zealand Geographical Society (2011);
  • Fellowship from the Academy of Social Sciences (2014);
  • Benjamin Meaker Fast-Track Visiting Professorship to the University of Bristol (2015, a highly-competitive award);
  • Massey University Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award for significant accomplishments in business or professional life (2016);
  • Rachel Carson Fellowship at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious academic institutions (2020).

Iain’s contributions to the advancement of geography worldwide are outstanding and he is a deserving recipient of the Australia-International Medal.


Phil McManus
Beverley Clarke


Steve Turton
Alaric Maude