Media Monday: Juan José Valdés, Geographer, National Geographic Society

What are the first two things you think about when you hear “National Geographic?” After “geography education,” of course…magazine and maps! These esteemed National Geographic products have been around for more than a century, having enjoyed widespread dissemination and international fame.

Today, it is my pleasure to introduce the head of one of those divisions, National Geographic’s “Geographer”, Mr. Juan José Valdés. Mr. Valdés, originally from Cuba, heads the Maps Division at the Society.  In this role, he directs map research, oversees editing, and acts as an arbiter of cartographic policy for the Society, delving into contentious political debates about appropriate place names and boundaries throughout the world.

In our Media Monday video, Mr. Valdés shares how his education and life experiences as a child refugee have led to his role in the Society.  He also gives viewers a glimpse into  National Geographic’s first publishing of a map of Cuba in over 100 years.

Video courtesy of NG Live!

Students can learn more about Mr. Valdés in our Real-World Geography
.  His input and knowledge have been valuable to
various programs in the Society, including the pronunciation of
place-names in the yearly NG Bee.

Photo courtesy of National Geographic

Students can enjoy
learning from interactive National Geographic Maps, such as those in our NG Education maps collection, as well as
Juan’s personal favorite, a tourist map of Switzerland.

Image courtesy of
Switzerland Tourism.

— Justin Fisch for National Geographic Education


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