OXFORD, Miss. – The Mississippi Geographic Alliance at the University of Mississippi will honor former Gov. Haley Barbour with its MGA Geographic Visionary Award at the fifth annual awards ceremony Sept. 7.
News analyst, White House correspondent and author Ellen Ratner will be the keynote speaker. The event is set for 6 p.m. at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson.
“Knowing geography is essential to understanding history,” Barbour said. “If you don’t understand history, you are doomed to repeat it.”
Barbour will join Ambassador John Palmer (2013), George Schloegel (2014), U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (2015), and William Winter and Leland Speed (2016) as Geographic Visionary award recipients. The award honors a Mississippi business or civic leader who recognizes the importance of global understanding and awareness for Mississippians and/or promotes understanding about Mississippi in other parts of the world.
The Jess McKee Award for Distinguished Service to Geography Education also will be presented at the event to Steven White, a teacher at Pearl High School.
“I am very pleased to congratulate Gov. Barbour on this well-deserved recognition of his leadership,” said UM Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter, who plans to attend the event. “From economic development to disaster preparedness and recovery, Gov. Barbour has had a tremendous impact upon the state of Mississippi.
“He understands that success in the modern world depends upon being able to work globally. His leadership has enhanced Mississippi’s global stature and positioned our state to compete for and win important economic development projects.”
As governor, Barbour helped connect Mississippi to the world through his work in recruiting major international companies, including Toyota, and by investing in manufacturing. He was nationally recognized for his swift response during Hurricane Katrina, and he received the Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award and the Gulf Guardian Award for his work in helping to rebuild Gulf of Mexico ecosystems.
“His national and international reach along with his long history of supporting education, make him an excellent fit for the Geographic Visionary award,” said Carley Lovorn, assistant director of the Mississippi Geographic Alliance.
“Exports support tens of thousands of jobs in Mississippi. As foreign investment continues to increase in our state, it is more important than ever that we recognize Mississippi leaders who help connect us with the global economy. The MGA Geographic Visionary Award does just that.”
White, a National Geographic Certified Educator and MGA teacher consultant, has held numerous education leadership positions in the state, including officer positions in the Mississippi Council for the Social Studies and the Mississippi Geographic Alliance. He was Rosa Scott High School’s Teacher of the Year 2012-13, the Mississippi Council for the Social Studies Teacher of the Year 2003-04 and winner of the Jesse Palmer Award for Mississippi Social Studies Educator of the Year in 2015.
In recent years, he has served on staff for the Pre-Service Geography Conference, a geography education conference for education students around the state. He has also served as a judge and scorekeeper for the state-level National Geographic Bee and is a three-time winner of educational and technology grants for enhancing classroom geography education.
He is past president and assistant director of the Mississippi Council for the Social Studies and team leader for public policy for the Mississippi Geographic Alliance. In 2013 he was one of eight in the nation to receive the Distinguished Teaching Award for K-12 educators at the National Conference on Geographic Education.
Mississippians interact with people, companies and governments around the world. The state exports billions of dollars in products to more than 100 countries each year.
The Mississippi Geographic Alliance, part of National Geographic Society’s Alliance Network, helps prepare Mississippians to interact with the world by increasing geographic literacy through geography education services including outreach to civic leaders and policymakers, awareness raising among the general public, and professional development for K-12 educators.
All proceeds from the MGA Geographic Visionary Awards will go directly toward funding MGA programs in the state, including giant map programs for students and professional development for K-12 teachers.
Sponsorships at multiple levels are available. For more information on sponsorships and registration, go to http://mga.olemiss.edu/events/ or call the MGA office at 662-915-3776.
About the Mississippi Geographic Alliance: The Mississippi Geographic Alliance at the University of Mississippi works to strengthen geographic literacy in the state of Mississippi. A member of the nationwide network of state alliances sponsored by the National Geographic Society, MGA uses workshops, online resources and other programs to help educators prepare students to embrace a diverse world, succeed in the global economy and steward the planet’s resources. For more information, visit http://mga.olemiss.edu/, or contact Carley Lovorn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-3776.