“Human beings have been smart enough to turn nature to their ends, generate vast wealth for themselves, and double their average life span. But are they smart enough to solve the problems of the twenty-first century?”
An award-winning author and teacher, Thomas Homer-Dixon is one of the world’s leading experts on the intricate links between society, technology, and nature. He currently holds a University Research Chair in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo and is Director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Road University, where his research team addresses the full range of humanity’s converging environmental, economic, political, and technological crises.
In clear and accessible language, Homer-Dixon helps audiences understand how threats to global security in the twenty-first century—especially economic instability, environmental stress, ideological polarization, and mass violence—affect people, companies, and societies, and how we can these challenges to their advantage. Drawing on political science, economics, environmental studies, geography, cognitive science, social psychology, and complex systems theory, his highly interdisciplinary work aims to improve our understanding of how people, organizations, and societies can better innovate in response to these complex problems. Of particular interest is the deep causes of social conflict, especially how economic inequality, antagonistic group identities, polarized ideologies, and scarcity of natural resources heighten the response to global crises.
In his most recent book, Commanding Hope: The Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril, Canada’s leading thinker (once nicknamed the Doom Meister) lays out the tools we can command to rescue a world on the brink. Calling on his formidable knowledge of how societies work and of our capacity to handle threats, Homer-Dixon shows that we can shift human civilization onto a decisively new path if we mobilize our minds, spirits, imaginations and collective values. As The Literary Review of Canada noted, “this kind of hope isn’t naïve; its transformational.”
Setting out a theory of the growth, crisis, and renewal of societies, The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization was an immediate #1 bestseller in Canada, a Globe and Mail Top 100 pick, and the winner of the 2006 National Business Book Award. Homer-Dixon’s previous book, The Ingenuity Gap: Can We Solve the Problems of the Future?, won the 2001 Governor-General’s Award for Nonfiction. His first book, Environment, Scarcity, and Violence, was awarded the Lynton Keith Caldwell Prize from the American Political Science Association.
As one of Canada’s foremost public intellectuals, Homer-Dixon writes regularly for The Toronto Globe and Mail and The New York Times. He has also written for The Washington Post, The Financial Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and The International Herald Tribune. His widely cited scholarly articles have appeared in leading journals, including International Security, International Studies Quarterly, and Population and Development Review. He has spoken at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Cornell, Berkeley, the University of Chicago, West Point, Oxford, Cambridge, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum in Davos, and the Council on Foreign Relations. In addition, he has briefed Canada’s Privy Council Office, Department of Foreign Affairs, and Department of Defense, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council, the National Intelligence Council, the State Department, the Agency for International Development, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States.
Born in Victoria, British Columbia, Homer-Dixon received a BA from Carleton University in Ottawa and a PhD from MIT, where he studied international relations, defense and arms control policy, cognitive science, and conflict theory. He held the George Ignatieff Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies at the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto before be appointed as a CIGI Chair of Global Systems at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada. From 2009 to 2014, Homer-Dixon served as founding director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation.
For more information about Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon, please visit homerdixon.com.Download Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon's press kit here.