Thomas Homer-Dixon holds the CIGI Chair of Global Systems at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada. At the University of Waterloo, he is Director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation and Professor in the School of Environment, Enterprise, and Development in the Faculty of Environment, with a cross-appointment to the Political Science Department in the Faculty of Arts.
Born in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, he received his B.A. in political science from Carleton University in 1980 and his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in international relations, defense and arms control policy, and conflict theory in 1989. He then moved to the University of Toronto to lead several pioneering research projects investigating the links between environmental stress and violence in poor countries.
Since joining the University of Waterloo in 2008, his research has focused on threats to global security in the 21st century, including economic instability, climate change, and energy scarcity. He also studies how people, organizations, and societies can better resolve their conflicts and innovate in response to complex problems. His work is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on political science, economics, environmental studies, geography, cognitive science, social psychology, and complex systems theory.
His books include The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization (Knopf, Island Press, 2006), which won the 2006 National Business Book Award, The Ingenuity Gap (Knopf, 2000), which won the 2001 Governor General’s Non-fiction Award, and Environment, Scarcity, and Violence (Princeton University Press, 1999), which won the Caldwell Prize of the American Political Science Association.