The Royal Geographical Society has awarded one of its Royal Medals to Professor Sir Gordon Conway for his work in agricultural development.
Professor Conway, from the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial, is awarded the Founder’s Medal, one of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)’s two Royal Medals.
The Royal Medals, which are of equal standing, have been approved by Her Majesty the Queen, and are among the highest honours of their kind in the world. They have been presented since the 1830s and past recipients include Sir David Attenborough, Professor Diana Liverman and Lord Stern.
For over 50 years, Sir Gordon has worked to improve the lives of millions through his pioneering research, leadership of major organisations, and advice to government on sustainable development
Professor Conway, a former President of the Society, is awarded the prize for the enhancement and promotion of agricultural development in Asia and Africa. He trained in agricultural ecology, and in the early 1960s, while working in Sabah, North Borneo, he became one of the pioneers of sustainable agriculture.
Professor Conway was the Director of Agriculture for Impact(A4I), an independent advocacy initiative aiming to enable better European government support for productive, sustainable, and resilient agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing in particular on the needs of smallholder farmers.
He is now Senior Advisor to A4I’s successor, the Malabo Montpellier Panel, which is a group of international agriculture experts who guide policy choices towards food and nutritional security in Africa.
On receiving the award, Professor Conway said: “I am greatly honoured by this award. The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) is vital to our pursuit of geographical knowledge and I am humbled to be have my research recognised by it.
“Although by training and experience I am an agricultural ecologist, I am an applied geographer at heart. My mother was a geography school teacher, so the subject is in my genes.”
Broadcaster, writer and geographer Nicholas Crane, President of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), said: “Professor Sir Gordon Conway is a world leader in international development and one of the world’s foremost experts on food security and the sustainable development of agricultural land. For over 50 years, Sir Gordon has worked to improve the lives of millions through his pioneering research, leadership of major organisations, and advice to government on sustainable development.”