Thomas Homer-Dixon
Thomas Homer-Dixon.jpg
Homer-Dixon in 2007
Alma materCarleton University (BA)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PhD)

Thomas Homer-Dixon (born 1956) is a Canadian political scientist and University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo in the Faculty of Environment,[1] and the executive director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia.[2][3]

Early life and education

Homer-Dixon was born and raised in a rural area outside Victoria, British Columbia.[1] In his late teens and early twenties, he worked on oil rigs and in forestry.[4]

In 1980, he received a B.A. in political science from Carleton University in Ottawa.[5] He then established the Canadian Student Pugwash organization, a forum for discussion of the relationships between science, ethics, and public policy.[4] He completed his Ph.D. in political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989.[6]

Academic career

Homer-Dixon began his academic career at the University of Toronto in 1990 where he led several research projects examining links between environmental stress and violence in poor countries.[7] In 1993, he joined the faculty of University College and the Department of Political Science, progressing to full professor status in 2006. Meanwhile, he was director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, University College, before he moved on to be the Director of the Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies until 2007.[8][9]

In 2008, Homer-Dixon moved to the University of Waterloo, Ontario, to assume the role as the Centre for International Governance Innovation Chair of Global Systems at the newly created Balsillie School of International Affairs.[10][11]

He was the founding director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation at the University of Waterloo between 2009 and 2014.[12][1]

In 2019, Homer-Dixon was appointed a University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario.[13] In 2020[14] he became the executive director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University.[15]

Academic work

Environmental stress and violent conflict

In the 1990s, at the University of Toronto, Homer-Dixon studied links between environmental stress and violent conflict. Two of his articles in the MIT journal International Security identified underlying mechanisms by which scarcities of natural resources like cropland and fresh water could contribute to insurgency, ethnic clashes, terrorism, and genocide in poor countries.[16][17][18][19]

In the mid-1990s, Homer-Dixon researched the links between environmental stress and conflict.[20][21] Homer-Dixon has also been interviewed in The Huffington Post about resilience and civilization.[22]


In an opinion piece published in The New York Times in April 2013, Homer-Dixon stated that Alberta's oil sands industry "is undermining Canadian democracy" and that "tar sands influence reaches deep into the federal cabinet." Dixon also said that "Canada is beginning to exhibit the economic and political characteristics of a petro-state" and that the oil sands industry "is relentlessly twisting our society into something we don't like."[23][24][25]

In 2022, Homer-Dixon expressed the belief that the United States could be ruled by a right-wing dictator before 2030.[26]


See also


  1. ^ a b c Thomas Homer-Dixon's official biography (Accessed March 5, 2007.)
  2. ^ "Team". Cascade Institute. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  3. ^ "Faculty Profiles". Royal Roads University. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  4. ^ a b Kelly, Cathal (April 19, 2009). "A doomsayer, and a father, with a heart of faint hope". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  5. ^ Carleton Alumni: Thomas Homer-Dixon BAHons (Poli Sci)/80 Archived 2013-02-05 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "They and we: an empirical and philosophical study of a theory of social conflict (MIT library listing)". Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  7. ^ Homer-Dixon, Thomas. "Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict: Evidence from Cases." International Security, Vol. 19, No. I, (Summer 1994): 5-40.
  8. ^ "George Ignatieff Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies." Peace Magazine (July–August, 1996): 31.
  9. ^ "Peace and Conflict Studies Centre Named for Trudeau." UofT Magazine (Summer 2004).
  10. ^ Davis, Jeff. "New School Aims to Breathe Life into Global Affairs Archived 2013-05-14 at the Wayback Machine." CIGI Online (February 20, 2008).
  11. ^ Reinhart, Anthony (July 3, 2009). "Advantage, Waterloo". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  12. ^ WICI Welcome from the Director Archived 2012-11-04 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "University Research Chairs". Provost Office. 2012-02-09. Retrieved 2021-08-23.
  14. ^ "Royal Roads University launches new institute to study world's COVID-19 response". CTV News. April 27, 2020.
  15. ^ "Team". Cascade Institute.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ Homer-Dixon, Thomas (Summer 1994). "Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict: Evidence from Cases." International Security Vol. 19, No. I, pp. 5-40.
  17. ^ Homer-Dixon, Thomas. "On the Threshold: Environmental Changes as Causes of Acute Conflict." International Security, Vol. 16, No.2, (Summer 1994): 76-116.
  18. ^ Hurst, Linda. "The global guru World leaders are listening to." Toronto Star (July 20, 1996): C1.
  19. ^ Laver, Ross. "Looking for Trouble." Maclean’s 107 (September 5, 1994): 18-22.
  20. ^ Kennedy, Bingham. "Environmental Security: PRB Talks with Thomas Homer-Dixon." Population Reference Bureau (January 2001).
  21. ^ "Apocalypse Soon." The Economist. 332.7873 (July 23, 1994): A25.
  22. ^ Dembo, Ron. "Resilience and Civilization." Interview in Huff Post Politics Canada (January 17, 2007).
  23. ^ Homer-Dixon takes aim at 'tar sands disaster' in New York Times by Jill Mahoney, The Globe and Mail, April 1, 2013.
  24. ^ Thomas Homer-Dixon: "The Tar Sands Disaster" on As It Happens, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, April 3, 2013.
  25. ^ Op-Ed: The Tar Sands Disaster, (full article available at Speaker's Spotlight).
  26. ^ "US could be under rightwing dictator by 2030, Canadian professor warns". the Guardian. 3 January 2022. Retrieved 4 January 2022.