Saleem Ali (academic)

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Saleem H. Ali
Saleem Ali Rwanda.jpg
Professor Ali during a field visit in Rwanda
NationalityAmerican, Pakistani, Australian
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Yale University
Tufts University
AwardsYoung Global Leader; National Geographic Society Emerging Explorer Award; Elected member of United Nations International Resource Panel;Member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
Scientific career
FieldsEnvironmental Studies, Conflict Resolution, and International Relations
InstitutionsUniversity of Delaware
University of Queensland
Columbia University
University of Vermont
Brown University
Brookings Institution

Saleem H. Ali (born, 1973) is a Pakistani American Australian academic who is the Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment at the University of Delaware and also directs the university's Minerals, Materials and Society program.[1] He has also held the Chair in Sustainable Resources Development at the University of Queensland in Brisbane Australia where he retains affiliation as a Professorial Research Fellow.[2] He is also a Senior Fellow at Columbia University's Center on Sustainable Investment.[3] Previously he was Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont's Rubenstein School of Natural Resources, and the founding director of the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security as well as a Fellow at the Gund Institute.[4] He is known for his work on environmental conflict resolution, particularly in the extractive industries and was profiled in Forbes magazine in September, 2009 as "The Alchemist." [5] His book "Treasures of the Earth: Need Greed and a Sustainable Future" (Yale University Press, October, 2009) received a cover endorsement by Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus for providing a " welcome linkage between environmental behavior and poverty alleviation."[6] In May 2010, he was also chosen by National Geographic as an "emerging explorer" with a profile appearing in the June 2010 issue of National Geographic Magazine. In March 2011, he was also selected by the World Economic Forum as a "Young Global Leader."[7]

Research Work[edit]

Dr. Ali's research focuses on integrative approaches to achieving planetary sustainability through technical and social mechanisms. In particular, he has studied the causes and consequences of multiscale environmental conflicts between industry, communities and government and how ecological factors can promote peace. He has previously served on the faculty of Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies and on the visiting faculty for the United Nations University for Peace (Costa Rica).[8] Much of his empirical research has focused on environmental conflicts in the mineral sector. In September 2007, he was chosen as one of eight "revolutionary minds" by Seed magazine.[9]

Professor Ali was elected to the United Nations International Resource Panel in 2017 and to the Science Panel of the Global Environment Facility in 2018, and is also a member of the World Commission on Protected areas and the IUCN Taskforce on Transboundary Conservation.[10] He has also been involved in promoting environmental education in madrasahs and using techniques from environmental planning to study the rise of these institutions in his ethnic homeland of Pakistan, under a grant from the United States Institute of Peace.[11] In much of his research efforts, Dr. Ali involves a multi-media component, often involving his students in making video documentaries of their empirical work. From 2005 to 2008, he received two grants from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation to investigate the environmental and social impact of gemstone and gold mining.[12] He also completed a report on oil and gas pipelines as a source of cooperation that was researched while based at the Brookings Institution research center in Doha, Qatar in 2009.[13] His report on "Ecological Cooperation in South Asia" was launched in Washington at an event hosted by Peter Bergen in January 2013.[14] Subsequently, he has also contributed to science diplomacy anthologies pertaining to South Asia for the Stimson Center and The Middle East Institute.

Professor Ali's research appointments include, a Baker Foundation Research Fellowship at Harvard Business School, a Bellagio Residency with the Rockefeller Foundation and a parliamentary internship at the British House of Commons. He has taught courses on environmental planning, conflict resolution, industrial ecology, research methods and technical writing and has been is actively involved in online learning platforms such as EdX.

Prior to embarking on an academic career, Dr. Ali worked as an environmental health and safety professional at General Electric. He also served as a consultant for the Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Health Canada. Yet other of his projects included a mining impact prospectus for the Crow Nation and research assistance to Cultural Survival.[15]

Since 2014, he is also an editor for the University of Chicago Press book series on environmental science, law and policy.[16]


Professor Ali earned a doctorate in environmental planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where his doctoral committee was chaired by Lawrence Susskind a master's degree (M.E.S.) in environmental law and policy from Yale University, (thesis advisor Daniel Esty and a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Tufts University. He did his secondary schooling at Aitchison College Lahore, Pakistan with primary schooling at the Friends Academy and the Job. S. Gidley School in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts.[17]



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