Geography 2050
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GEOGRAPHY 2050

BORDERS AND A BORDERLESS WORLD

November 21-22, 2019 | Columbia University | NYC

An Event by the American Geographical Society

BORDERS AND A BORDERLESS WORLD

Geography 2050 is a multi-year, strategic dialog about the vital trends reshaping the geography of our planet in the coming decades. Initially organized by the American Geographical Society (AGS) in 2014, the ongoing Geography 2050 dialogue convenes thought leaders from academia, government, industry, and the social sector to facilitate discussion of the major forces that will shape our planet’s future. In the late 20th century, talk of a borderless world began to take hold among many in both academia and the media as the end of the Cold War and the forces of globalization rapidly impacted the planet. While many aspects of globalization led to greater fluidity across international borders in terms of trade, capital, technology transfer, and the movement of people, this same period witnessed the creation of more international borders, not fewer. This symposium questions what the world map will look like in 2050 and how our practice of defining, maintaining, and even understanding the meaning of borders might change. Within each theme, we will look both at scenarios of increasing interdependence and division and how they could play out by 2050.

This year's Symposium will focus on how geography and geospatial science impact the role of borders in our future economy, environment, and geopolitical situation.

SPEAKERS AND PRESENTERS

THEMES

THE VITAL TRENDS THAT WILL RESHAPE BORDERS AND A BORDERLESS WORLD

THEME 1: THE WORLD MAP IN 2050

WHAT WILL THE POLITICAL MAP LOOK LIKE IN THE COMING DECADES AND HOW WILL THE MAJOR PLAYERS SHAPE OUR GEOPOLITICAL ORDER?

In 1900, only 51 sovereign states appeared on the world political map, with much of the planet divided among colonial powers. By 2019, the map contained approximately 195 such entities, and only small parts of the world remain dependencies. New powers like China and India are fast rising, while old powers like Russia are reasserting themselves on the geopolitical map. Geography 2050 will examine both the future possible constellations of great power politics and look to the places around the globe where new countries may yet emerge and where ongoing geopolitical challenges strain global peace and security.

THEME 2: GEOSPATIAL TECHNOLOGY & THE MAPPING OF FUTURE BORDERS

HOW WILL ADVANCES IN GEOSPATIAL TECHNOLOGY, REMOTE SENSING, SENSORWEBS, AND DIGITAL SURVEILLANCE CHANGE THE WAYS IN WHICH WE MAP AND ENFORCE POLITICAL BOUNDARIES, FROM THE LOCAL TO THE GLOBAL SCALE?

Geospatial technology is rapidly changing the manner in which we study the flows of people, goods, and information across international borders. Additionally, geocoded information and expanding forms of digital surveillance change how states monitor within and beyond their borders. Geography 2050 will investigate the ways in which we expect geotech to change both how we perceive and enforce territorial control.

THEME 3: FENCES, WALLS, & PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

WHAT WILL THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE FOR PEOPLE AS THEY MOVE ACROSS INTERNATIONAL BORDERS?

The refugee crisis of recent years has highlighted a truism of all human history, that people migrate from place-to-place and are far less rooted than many acknowledge. While the wealthy and highly educated move about the globe more easily and freely than at any other time in history, the downtrodden and poor find themselves trapped by rising fences and walls in Europe, North America, and the Middle East. As conflicts continue to rage and climate change has the potential to create an entirely new category of refugee, the migration journey of people around the world will change and create new political, social, and economic challenges that will be felt everywhere.

THEME 4: GLOBALIZATION & TRADE

HOW WILL THE INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT OF GOODS AND MONEY CHANGE BY 2050?

Massive economic shocks from outsourcing and automation are driving populist movements from Left and Right across the industrialized world. After an era of lowering trade barriers and rapid globalization, stresses that push in the opposite direction are on the rise for the first time in over seventy-five years. Various scenarios will be addressed to look at how goods and money will flow across borders and around the globe in the coming three decades leading to an either more integrated global economy or one far less open than the one we currently enjoy.

THEME 5: INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION & DISORGANIZATION

HOW WILL THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY COPE WITH FUTURE CHALLENGES AT LEVELS ABOVE THE SOVEREIGN STATE?

Since World War II, a host of global and regional organizations have emerged that help structure the global system and how it copes with everything from peace and security to trade to human rights to coping with natural disasters. While recent decades have seen proliferation of international organizations with remits over practically every issue imaginable, there is also growing pressure from some quarters, especially the United States, to reduce the scope and power of these bodies. Other challenges, such as the UK’s “Brexit” from the European Union also point to the challenges between greater international cooperation and calls for increasing sovereignty for the “nation-state.

THEME 6: THE NATURAL WORLD & THE BORDER

HOW DO BORDERS IMPACT NATURAL PROCESS AND HOW WILL WE RESPOND TO CROSS-BORDER ISSUES RELATED TO NATURE?

Borders are a wholly unnatural phenomenon and the natural systems of the world mostly ignore them. Thousands of bounded protected areas such as national parks or wildlife refuges are one way to ensure maintenance of various ecosystems. Many of the great challenges we will face in the future involve this conflict between the artificial border and natural systems, be it pollution flowing by air or water across the border, to conflicts over water resources, the migration of various animals, and the spread of disease. Biogeography, biodiversity and conservation research, hydrography/hydrology, and climate change sciences all help inform this discussion through a spatial and temporal lens. Some of these challenges, especially climate change, impact every corner of the planet. We will look at the central role geography will play both to study these challenges and present potential solutions to address these challenges in the political sphere, especially at the border itself.

THEME 7: SPACES BEYOND THE STATE

HOW WILL THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY ADDRESS ISSUES IN REALMS BEYOND THE JURISDICTION OF SOVEREIGN STATES?

The world political map may look like one where every last bit of the planet falls under the jurisdiction of sovereign states, but many geographical challenges occur in the spaces beyond such control, be that the high seas, Antarctica, the upper atmosphere, and even outer space. How can geography help us govern these spaces together to promote sustainable and peaceful use of the global commons as we move towards 2050?

PROGRAM

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Alfred Lerner Hall, 2920 Broadway

12:30 -  1:00

Symposium Registration

1:00 -  1:10

Welcome and Introduction

Speakers

Dr. John Konarski Chief Executive Officer, American Geographical Society

Dr. Marie Price President, American Geographical Society

Dr. Christopher Tucker Chair, American Geographical Society

1:10 -  1:20

Symposium Overview

Speaker

Dr. Wesley Reisser Symposium Chair, American Geographical Society

1:20 -  1:50

Keynote Address

Speaker

Vice Admiral Robert Sharp Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

1:50 -  2:00

Spotlight Presentation

From Lines on the Map to the Cyber Borderless World

Speaker

Mr. John Kelly Chief Executive Officer, Graphika Inc.

2:00 -  2:55

Plenary Session

The Changing Nature of Borders

Moderator

Dr. David Kaplan Professor of Geography, Kent State University

Speakers

Mr. David Kaden Principal, The Blackstone Group, Inc.

Dr. Martin Lewis Senior Lecturer in History, Stanford University

Dr. Alison Mountz Director, International Migration Research Center

2:55 -  3:25

Break and Caucus

3:25 -  4:10

Plenary Session

Fences and Walls

Moderator

Ms. Andrea d'Amato Assistant Secretary for Operational Excellence, Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Speakers

Dr. Elizabeth Campbell Director, United Nations Relief & Works Administration

Dr. Alexander Diener Associate Professor of Geography and Atmospheric Science, University of Kansas

Dr. Francisco Lara-Valencia Associate Professor of Transborder Studies, Arizona State University

4:10 -  4:15

Spotlight Presentation

Anomalies Along the Border

Speaker

Dr. Joshua Hagen Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Northern State University

4:15 -  5:00

Plenary Session

Mapping People and Places: Beyond Boundaries

Moderator

Dr. Robert Chen Director, Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University

Speakers

Dr. Lauren Bennett Software Development Team Lead for Spatial Analysis and Data Science, Esri

Mr. Tom Fitzwater Chief of the Demographic and Economic Studies Branch, United States Census Bureau

Mrs. Stephanie Michaud Strategic Marketing Manager, Trimble, Inc.

Dr. Emily Skop Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Colorado

5:00 -  5:10

Spotlight Presentation

Thinking Geographically About Future Geopolitical Hotspots

Speakers

Dr. Alexander Murphy Professor of Geography and James F. and Shirley K. Rippey Chair in Liberal Arts and Science, University of Oregon

Dr. Lee Schwartz The Geographer, United States Department of State

5:10 -  6:00

Lightning Presentations

Moderator

Dr. Christopher Tucker

Speakers

Dr. James Biles Associate Professor, City College of New York, “Order without borders? Some potential implications of the shift from government to network governance.”

Dr. Alex de Sherbinin Associate Director for Science Applications, Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University “Climate Change: A Major Driver of Migration Across Borders?”

Dr. Jack Eichenbaum Professor, City University of New York, “Borders, Walls and the Future of Us All.”

Ms. Michaela Gawrys Teaching Assistant, Kent State University, “The Future of the Nation-State Border: A case study in Kosovo.”

Dr. Tanya Harrison Manager of Science Programs, Planet Federal, “Monitoring Human Rights from Space with the Planet Labs Constellation of Satellites.”

Dr. Peter Herlihy Professor of Geography, University of Kansas,“New Borders for Indigenous Lands: Indigenous Territorial Jurisdictions (ITJs) in Central America.”

Mr. Karl Phillips Content Director, Mapstory, “European Borders from the Iron Curtain to Euro Zone.”

Mr. Dean Wise Principal, Dean Wise, LLC, “Laredo! What’s happening at the #1 border crossing for US-Mexico trade?”

Mr. Isaac Zaworski Vice President, VRICON, “Where the Heck Did I Put My Border?!”

6:00 -  6:10

Review of the Day and Planning for Tomorrow

Speaker

Dr. Wesley Reisser

6:10 -  7:10

Welcome Reception

Friday, November 22, 2019

Alfred Lerner Hall, 2920 Broadway

8:00 -  8:30

Registration and Breakfast

8:30 -  8:40

Spotlight Presentation

The Refugee Experience Through Their Own Eyes

Speaker

Ms. Kaitlin Yarnall Senior Vice President of Storytelling, National Geographic Society

8:40 -  9:30

Plenary Session

People on the Move

Moderator

Dr. Elizabeth Chacko Associate Provost, George Washington University

Speakers

Dr. Phillip Connor Senior Researcher, Pew Research Center

Dr. Patricia Ehrkamp Professor and Chair of Geography, University of Kentucky

Ms. Kelly Razzouk Director of Policy and Advocacy, International Rescue Committee

9:30 -  9:45

Welcome

Speaker

Dr. Alexander Halliday Director, The Earth Institute at Columbia University

9:45 -  10:15

Break and Caucus

10:15 -  10:20

Spotlight Presentation

Nature and the Border

Speaker

Mr. John Davis Executive Director, Rewilding Earth

10:20 -  11:10

Plenary Session

The Natural World and the Border

Moderator

Dr. Antoinette WinklerPrins Director of Geography and Spatial Sciences Program, National Science Foundation

Speakers

Mr. Steven Canty Program Coordinator, Smithsonian’s National Museum for Natural History

Dr. Alan Kraut Professor of History, American University

Mr. Sidney Novoa Director of GIS and Technology for Conservation, Conservacíon Amazónica

11:10 -  11:15

Spotlight Presentation

Bringing the United Nations to the Next Generation

Speaker

Ms. Paula Boland Executive Director, United Nations Association of the National Capital Area

11:15 -  12:05

Plenary Session

International Organization and Disorganization

Moderator

Ms. Carrie Stokes Chief Geographer, United States Agency for International Development

Speakers

Ms. Susan Corke Senior Fellow, German Marshall Fund

Mr. Ryan Kaminski Senior Program Manager, United Nations Foundation

Mr. Paul Robertson Senior Investment Strategist, AllianceBernstein, L.P.

12:05 -  12:35

Conversation Keynote

Moderator

Dr. Marie Price

Speaker

Hon. Samantha Power Professor of Practice, Harvard University

12:35 -  1:15

Lunch

1:15 -  1:20

Spotlight Presentation

Mapping in Response to Humanitarian Disaster

Speaker

Dr. Joshua Campbell Chief Executive Officer, Sand Hill Geographic

1:20 -  2:10

Plenary Session

International Efforts at Mapping the Globe

Moderator

Mr. Eddie Pickle Senior Director of Insight Solutions and Geospatial Systems, Maxar, Inc.

Speakers

Ms. Amy Coughenour Chief Executive Officer, Cadasta Foundation

Dr. Patricia Solis Executive Director of the Knowledge Exchange for Resilience, Arizona State University

Mr. Alexander Tait The Geographer, National Geographic Society

2:10 -  3:00

Plenary Session

Spaces Beyond the State

Moderator

Mr. Anthony Quartararo President and Chief Executive Officer, Spatial Networks, Inc.

Speakers

Ms. Nada Bakos Author

Dr. Lawson Brigham Distinguished Professor of Geography and Arctic Policy, University of Alaska

Ms. Kristina Gjerde Senior Policy Adviser, International Union for Conservation of Nature

Dr. Peter Martinez Executive Director, Secure World Foundation

3:00 -  3:30

The AGS Honors and Awards Ceremony

3:30 -  4:00

Break and Caucus

4:00 -  4:45

Lightning Presentations

Moderator

Dr. Christopher Tucker

Speakers

Mr. Jeff Butler Product Manager, Mapbox,“Balancing the User and Technical Requirements of a Large Scale Boundaries Data Product.”

Dr. Carter Christopher Deputy Director, Office of the Geographer and Global Issues, United States Department of State, “The 21st Century Geographer.”

Dr. Craig Colten Professor, Louisiana State University, “Fixed Borders and Fluid Environments: Reconciling Incompatible Boundaries in Coastal Louisiana (USA).”

Mr. Stephen Gillotte Chief Executive Officer,Reinventing Geospatial, Inc.,“Cyber Situational Awareness & Understanding.”

Dr. Andrew Grant Visiting Assistant Professor, Boston College, “BRI and the Border: Soft Power and Security at the Sino-Kazakh Boundary.”

Ms. Kathryn Hannum PhD Candidate, Kent State University, ““Un ejemplo global de diversidad y inclusion”: Cosmopolitanism and diversity promotion in Buenos Aires.”

Dr. Serin Houston Assistant Professor, Mount Holyoke College, “Conceptualizing Sanctuary as a Process in The United States.”

Dr. David Salisbury Associate Professor of Geography and the Environment, University of Richmond, “Amazon Borderlands in the Anthropocene.”

Ms. Janine Yoong Vice President Business Development, Mapillary, “Mappers Without Borders: Transcending Territories With Computer Vision And Collaboration.”

4:45 -  5:45

Plenary Session

The World Map in 2050

Moderator

Dr. Wesley Reisser

Speakers

Ms. Jenna Ben-Yehuda President and Chief Executive Officer, Truman National Security Project

Dr. Karen Culcasi, Associate Professor of Geography, West Virginia University

Dr. Joanna Regulska Vice Provost and Associate Chancellor, University of California-Davis

5:45 -  6:00

Plenary Session

A Prospectus for the Future

Speakers

Dr. Wesley Reisser

Dr. Marie Price

Dr. Lawson Brigham 2020 Geography 2050 Co-Chair

Dr. Christopher Verlinden 2020 Geography 2050 Co-Chair

Dr. Christopher Tucker

6:00 -  7:00

Closing Reception

SYMPOSIUM COMMITTEE

SYMPOSIUM CHAIR

Dr. Wesley Reisser

United States Department of State

COMMITTEE MEMBERS


Dr. Joshua Campbell

Sand Hill Geographic

Dr. Robert Chen

Columbia University

Ms. Andrea d'Amato

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Dr. David Kaplan

Kent State University

Mr. Keith Masback

Plum Run, LLC

Mr. Jared Novick

Continuum Ventures

Dr. Deborah Popper

Princeton University

Dr. Marie Price

The George Washington University

Mr. Anthony Quartararo

Spatial Networks, Inc.

Dr. Lee Schwartz

United States Department of State

Mr. Dean Wise

Dean Wise, LLC

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Contact Us

  917-745-8354
  ags@americangeo.org

Venue

Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
Columbia University
New York, NY 10027
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