Writer and Professor, University of Waterloo
Thomas was born in Victoria, B.C. and received a B.A. in political science from Carleton University in 1980 and a Ph.D. in international relations, defense and arms control policy, and conflict theory from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989. He then moved to the University of Toronto to lead several 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.
Thomas’s books include The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization, The Ingenuity Gap, and Environment, Scarcity, and Violence. He has written for many academic journals and writes regularly for the Globe and Mail.
He has also delivered addresses on his research to academic and general audiences around the world and has consulted to senior levels of government in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.