Professor Lily Kong conferred the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Victoria Medal 2024

Awarded for outstanding contributions to geography, the Victoria Medal has been established since 1902.
By the SMU Corporate Communications team

7 May 2024 SMU President Professor Lily Kong has been conferred the Royal Geographical Society (with the institute of British Geographers) Victoria Medal 2024 for conspicuous merit in social and cultural geography and in urban research. The Medal recognises Prof Kong’s exceptional intellectual leadership, demonstrated through her scholarship and contributions to the internationalisation of geography. She is also the first Asian woman, in over 120 years, to be accorded this honour.

Formed in 1830 for the advancement of geographical science, the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) is the learned society and professional body for geography. It honours top geographers with a series of prestigious medals and awards that recognise excellence in geographical research and fieldwork, teaching, public engagement, policy and professional practice. They are presented annually to individuals who have made outstanding achievements. Recipients join a prestigious list that includes Sir Alexander Burnes, Freya Stark, Alfred Russel Wallace, Captain R. Scott and more recently Professor Heather Viles, Professor Yadvinder Malhi, Dr Sylvia Earle, Professor Diana Liverman, Sir Crispin Tickell and Sir David Attenborough.

This year, the Society’s medals and awards recognise 25 outstanding individuals and organisations for their notable contributions to geography. Prof Kong said, “I am honoured to have my work in urban, social and cultural geographies recognised, and am encouraged to use our knowledge and skills to influence social and cultural change in our societies.”

In her research journey, Prof Kong has studied wide-ranging phenomena: intercommunal relations, identities and social cohesion; cultural politics, cultural policies and cultural industries; creative economies, creative cities, and smart cities; natural and cultural heritages; and more. In particular, she has given much attention to understanding the interconnections that underpin social-cultural transformation in Asia.

Prof Kong also credited her education as a geographer in preparing her for the various university leadership roles she has held. Describing geography as a “synthesising” discipline that cultivates integrative skills, she says, “Geography has enduring relevance in our world. We have a responsibility to use the knowledge and skills of our discipline to make our world a better place.”

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Press Release: 2024 medal and award recipients announced today, Tuesday 7 May

Full list of 2024 medals and awards recipients