Juan José Valdés of the National Geographic Society with a draft version of the first new National Geographic map of his native Cuba since 1906, a map whose production he recently oversaw.
More than 200 students, alumni, parents and friends turned out last Thursday evening for a presentation by Juan José Valdés, The Geographer of the National Geographic Society and Director of Editorial and Research for National Geographic Maps. Mr. Valdés' presentation, From the Corner of One Way and Yield to a Map 105 Years in the Making, offered a look at his personal journey, from one of thousands of young Cuban refugees brought to the United States in Operation Peter Pan, to a renowned cartographer who recently oversaw the process of creating National Geographic's first new map of his native Cuba since 1906. He recounted the process by which he learned that maps can do more than just represent places, but rather actually bring people together – notably, the day he helped his father, newly arrived in Miami, find his way home from a location he could only identify as "the corner of one way and yield" – and offered insights into the political, editorial and production processes that go into creating a map.
You can listen to Mr. Valdés' lecture here, with an introduction by Chris Casazza, '97, Prep's chief advancement officer:
(please note that sound from a video segment that was part of the presentation has been omitted for copyright reasons).