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Juanita Sundberg, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, has been named the recipient of the 2014 Glenda Laws Award for her commitment to social justice.

The annual award and honorarium recognize outstanding contributions to geographic research on social issues. This award is named in memory of Glenda Laws—a geographer who brought energy and enthusiasm to her work on issues of social justice and social policy. And like Laws, the recipient of her eponymous award is a scholar dedicated to understanding feminist perspectives.

Sundberg’s commitment to social justice is deeply embedded in both her teaching and scholarship. Her work at the intersection of political ecology, feminist geopolitics and critical theories of race pushes and challenges other US-based scholars committed to social justice imperatives to be cognizant of their own potential complicity in reproducing various inequities, including North-South differences.

From a pedagogical standpoint, students have evaluated her teaching in upper division courses as “life-changing.” Her success in innovative and critical pedagogy methods is reflected in the teaching awards she has received. Sundberg develops curriculum inviting community-based organizations to partner with her in providing courses that investigate social justice issues in a participatory framework. Referees said “she is constantly putting community realities at the forefront of her pedagogical approach” – and that her work has powerful ripple effects. “This is the work of a teacher who truly serves social justice movements.”

Despite her noteworthy accomplishments, Sundberg is modest and deeply humble. She does much of her activist work behind the scenes, without seeking credit or attention.

The Glenda Laws Award is administered by the Association of American Geographers and endorsed by members of the Institute of Australian Geographers, the Canadian Association of Geographers, and the Institute of British Geographers.