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New named professor

New named professor

Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson

Ali joins UD as Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment

Saleem H. Ali joined the University of Delaware as Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment on Sept. 1.

He will have responsibilities in the Department of Geography, which is housed in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), and in the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy (CEEP) in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“We are delighted to have Saleem join UD as a Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor,” said Provost Domenico Grasso. “We chose from a strong pool of applicants, but Saleem stood out as a visionary and big thinker — one who will engage in the grand challenges and great debates of our time. He will be a tremendous asset to the University and our students.”

“Saleem is known for his work on environmental conflict resolution. He is an important addition to the college as we work to develop sustainable solutions to globally consequential environmental problems,” according to Mohsen Badiey, CEOE acting dean.

Ali previously served as chair in Sustainable Resource Development and professor of sustainability science and policy at University of Queensland in Australia.

He also was a professor of environmental studies at the University of Vermont's Rubenstein School of Natural Resources, and founding director of the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security.

Ali’s research focuses on the causes and consequences of environmental conflicts and how ecological factors can promote peace. Much of his empirical research has focused on environmental conflicts in the mineral sector and the extractive industries.

“I am deeply honored to start this exciting role at one of America’s premier land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant universities. The University of Delaware has exemplified excellence and accessibility in world-class environmental education, which I look forward to contributing towards in research and teaching,” said Ali. “Additionally, I look forward to contributing to cross-campus collaborations on energy and the environment.”

Ali is the author of four books, including Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed, and a Sustainable Future, which focused on the juxtaposition between humanity’s desire for materialism and the concomitant need to conserve natural resources. The book received a cover endorsement from Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, who described it as providing “a welcome linkage between environmental behavior and poverty alleviation.”

A member of the World Commission on Protected Areas and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Task Force on Transboundary Conservation, Ali was named an “emerging explorer" by National Geographic in 2010 and selected a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011.

Early in his career, Ali 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). He also spent time as an environmental health and safety professional at General Electric and as an environmental consultant.

A professional mediator, he has conducted workshops on consensus building for private and public interests. He has taught courses on environmental planning, conflict resolution, industrial ecology, research methods and technical writing.

Since 2014, Ali has served as an editor for the University of Chicago Press book series on environmental science, law and policy.

His collaborative environmental anthologies span a broad range of topics from peace parks to Arctic and Antarctic ecological diplomacy. His collaborative work with international teams has been published in high-impact journals including Proceedings of the National Academies and Ecological Economics. He is also on the book reviewer roster for Science.

Ali received his doctoral degree in environmental planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000. During his doctoral studies, he also was a Martin Sustainability Fellow at MIT and a Baker Foundation Research Fellow at Harvard Business School. He earned his master's degree in environmental studies (with a focus on law and policy) from Yale University in 1996, and his bachelor's degree in chemistry (summa cum laude) from Tufts University in 1994.

Ali has been a regular commentator for American and Australian Public Radio and TV, a columnist for Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper and the Daily Times and maintains a regular blog on Huffington Post and National Geographic Online. He has contributed op-ed pieces for notable international newspapers including the international edition of The New York Times, the Boston Globe and Foreign Policy.

Additionally, Ali has promoted environmental education in madrasahs and used 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. 

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