[OSGeo-Announce] Malena Libman receives the 2021 Sol Katz Award

Astrid Emde (OSGeo) astrid_emde at osgeo.org
Mon Oct 4 08:44:01 PDT 2021

News item 2021-10-04

Malena Libman is the Sol Katz Award winner 2021. The prize was presented 
at the FOSS4G closing session and handed over to her friends & family 
who accepted the award on her behalf since we sadly lost Malena in April 
2021 to COVID-19.

It’s a time-honored OSGeo tradition to present the annual Sol Katz Award 
for Geospatial Free and Open Source Software to individuals who have 
demonstrated leadership in our community. This year, the award ceremony 
was part of the online FOSS4G2021 conference and was presented by last 
years’ recipients Anita Graser and Even Rouault.

The call for nominations is open to the whole OSGeo community and many 
great candidates are nominated every year. (Thank-you to everyone who 
submitted a nomination!) The winner is determined by the Award Selection 
Committee made up by former recipients of the award.

The nomination presented for Malena (Nomination Malena Libman 
stood out on more levels than just one. It was signed by 147 members of 
the OSGeo community.
The final voting of the past awardees who represent the selection 
committee showed overwhelming support for Malena Libman.

Malena Libman was the President of OSGeo Argentina Local Chapter’s NGO 
Geolibres, Chair of FOSS4G + SOTM 2017 Argentina. She was an SDI 
specialist involved in the National SDI working towards building better 
FLOSS solutions. She inspired so many of our community.

Some quotes from the nominations should show the great role of Malena 

“We believe that the Sol Katz Award is the recognition that Malena 
deserved, for her trajectory and for her incomparable spirit dedicated 
to the OSGeo community; sadly we lost her suddenly in April to COVID-19, 
may her soul rest in peace.”

“This request seeks to honor, not only the memory of Male, but also all 
of her efforts that she made during her lifetime to expand the geo 
community in Argentina, Latin America and worldwide.” […]

[…] “She was a reference for many people, especially women in the 
Geomatics and OpenStreetMap communities, and she will always be 
remembered as a great teacher, companion and above all, a wonderful 

Malena’s dream was FOSS4G 2021
“Through this award, we want to thank and acknowledge her efforts, her 
always constructive leadership as chairwoman of the FOSS4G 2021 (Buenos 
Aires), her compassion, and at the same time share all the learning and 
knowledge that she imparted in life to all communities.”

“Among her great achievements is her research work on Spatial Data 
Infrastructure (IDE) designed by the Spatial Data Infrastructure of the 
Argentine Republic (IDERA), as well as the cartographic editing 
automation project for the Institute of Geography of Argentina.”

Malena’s friends Andrea Trovant, Ariel Anthieni and Horacio Castellaro 
joined the award ceremony and took the award on behalf of Malena.

Andrea assigned some words to remember Malena.

“It’s an honour for me to receive this award on behalf of Malena. We 
were not only colleagues, we were friends too.
Honestly, it’s difficult to talk about her, (that’s why I prepared a 
text, in case Male wins the award)… I am grateful that the FOSS4G team 
and her family are present today, listening and supporting such a 
special moment, on the other side of the screen.
Malena’s arriving to the geospatial world was only by chance, in 2011, 
as part of her long search for his vocation … She was always curious 
about the world around her!!
Then, she began her studies in Geographic Information Systems at the 
General Sarmiento University in Buenos Aires, becoming the first 
graduate of the career.
In those years, Male participated in a volunteer service and presented 
his project at the National Cartography Congress. During the event, she 
met the “Geoinquiet at s”, the GeoGeeks, from the local communities.
 From this days, her career was on the rise, and we were the privileged 
ones to be able to see its growth up close.
Her work experience was infinite, she worked at the Argentina Center for 
Cartography, in the National Educational Map Program, in different 
municipalities of the state. She worked for almost 3 years at the 
National Geographic Institute of Argentina, while she focused in Spatial 
Data Infrastructure.
Malena gave GIS and SDI workshops for different institutions, she was 
part of Geochicas OSM and more and more things.. I could talk about her 
for a whole day..
At every step she took, she was always promoting free and open source 
software and the strengthening of the geospatial communities.
No more, no less… She was part of the organization of FOSS4G 2016, 
FOSS4G 2017, FOSS4G 2019. She travelled to represent us at the global 
FOSS4G 2018 in Dar Es Salaam, and Bucharest too, but apart from all 
this, I know how much she deserves to win this award. Male was an 
exemplary leader, she was an honest, transparent person…and she excited 
all the people who crossed her (it is my case, thanks to her I got to 
know the community).
Finally, she became President of “Geolibres Asociación Civil”, an 
association that organizes this FOSS4G together with OSGeo.
And here we are, last year we sent the proposal to become the host of 
FOSS4G this year… despite the difficulties, we are here making Male’s 
dream come true… in every step we take, Malena is present, pushing us.
Thanks OSGeo and thanks to male, for everything she taught us and gave 
If there was a beautiful person award, she would win it too.”

We will miss Malena.

About the award
The Sol Katz Award for Free and Open Source Software for Geospatial 
(FOSS4G) is awarded annually by OSGeo to individuals who have 
demonstrated leadership in the FOSS4G community. Recipients of the award 
have contributed significantly through their activities to advance open 
source ideals in the geospatial realm. The award acknowledges both the 
work of community members, and pay tribute to one of its founders, for 
years to come.


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