The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
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Lawrence J. Burpee Medal

2018 Recipients - Chris Cran, André Préfontaine and Peter Suedfeld

Chris Cran

Chris Cran before the launch of his Sincerely Yours exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada (Photo: National Gallery of Canada)

Chris Cran is a internationally recognized and widely exhibited visual artist, teacher and mentor. His art is represented in major galleries around the world and has been featured in solo and group exhibitions.

Chris Cran, a Fellow of the Society, donated a portrait of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II that will be displayed permanently at Canada’s Centre for Geography and Exploration. In the summer of 2018, the centre featured an exhibition by Chris Cran entitled Explore. This series of portraits paid homage to some of Canada’s most active and accomplished explorers, as well as significant figures of the Society. The artist has donated the works in the exhibit to the Society, thus forming the nucleus of a contemporary art collection. Chris Cran’s unprecedented gift to the Society enhances its cultural legacy and its capacity to engage the public in different and compelling ways.

André Préfontaine

André Préfontaine at the RCGS AGM

André Préfontaine, as president and publisher of Canadian Geographic Enterprises and latterly as executive director of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, led the Society through a critical period of financial upheaval and dramatic shifts in the world of magazine publishing. Préfontaine brought vision, leadership and managerial acumen to the organization, reshaping it and introducing a new revenue stream in custom publishing.

His foresight, negotiation skills, and dedication have positioned the Society to succeed now and in the future, and he continues to lend his formidable talents in a volunteer capacity.

Peter Suedfeld

Dr. Suedfeld cooking dinner at the High Arctic Psychology Research Station (Isachsen, NWT)

Dr. Peter Suedfeld is a globally celebrated psychologist, professor emeritus of the University of British Columbia, and scholar of human adaptation to extreme environments. One of the pioneering researchers in the field of restricted environmental stimulation therapy (REST), Dr. Suedfeld undertook groundbreaking research of the psychological consequences of being exposed to extreme environments, specifically how people adapt to situations in polar environments and space capsules. He established and oversaw the High Arctic Psychology Research Station that operated from Isachsen, an abandoned weather station on Ellef Ringnes Island. He also worked closely with the Canadian Space Agency and NASA on enhancing astronauts’ psychological well-being.

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