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AIGeo: the first twenty years of its history (from the early beginning of the 1970s to the Bologna Conference of 1997)

Pages 103-120


The purpose of this article is to disseminate knowledge among young geomorphologists and physical geographers, and also to remind less young specialists of the various vicissitudes that have led to achieving and consolidating the disciplinary determination and characterization of Physical Geography and Geomorphology in Italy and of their outstanding position at an international level. By conjuring up personal remembrances and those of several friends and colleagues, and by checking official documents listed in Bibliography, the first 20 years of activity of AIGeo (“Associazione Italiana di Geografia fisica e Geomorfologia”) have been summarized, starting from the very beginning in the mid-1970s up to the mid-1990s, that is until just after the 4th International Conference of the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG) held in Bologna in 1997. The first Research Groups in Italy were: the Gruppo di Studio delle Università Emiliane per la Geomorfologia (GSUEG), established in October 1974 that became Gruppo di Ricerca Geomorfologia in 1976; the Gruppo informale di Geografia fisica, was established in 1975. In October 1983, these two Groups merged into the Gruppo Nazionale di Geografia fisica e Geomorfologia. Their goal was to promote in-depth study and to coordinate the methods of investigation in the fields of the above-mentioned sectors, following the guidelines of the Italian National Research Council and the Ministry for Scientific Research. Another significant goal was to maintain close relationships with foreign scientific organisations and, in particular, with the International Geographical Union (UGI) and its Commissions and Working Groups. The new review “Geografia Fisica e Dinamica Quaternaria”, founded in 1978, was chosen as the preferential journal for publishing the results of research. The activities carried out by the united Groups are: semestral Assemblies, preceded by scientific Councils (made up of the Coordinator and the Section Heads), field trips, research by the Sections, international relationships etc. In addition, there are training courses in geomorphological survey and mapping, which are attended by researchers from all Sections belonging to the Group. In 1989, with the establishment of the IAG (International Association of Geomorphologists), the Italian Group immediately joined in with substantial activity and an Italian representative was elected to the Executive Committee. This collaboration, which was progressively consolidated, led to the organisation of the 4th International Conference of the IAG in Bologna in 1997 and to my appointment as vice-President of the IAG. In 2001, this position led to the Chairmanship of the International Association of Geomorphologists. In the following years, the scientific success of the Bologna Conference brought about the strengthening of the Group’s prestige at a national and international level, which became a national Association named AIGeo (Associazione Italiana di Geografia fisica e Geomorfologia) in 2000. In conclusion, my wish and spur to the Italian young physical geographers and geomorphologists is to strengthen and renew our scientific research and contribute to maintaining the spirit of collaboration and friendship that have been the basis of the history and achievements of the AIGeo so far. Therefore, we should all be proud of what we have attained.

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