Home   /   Our People   /   Profiles   /   Saleem

Saleem Ali

Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment


Saleem H. Ali is an environmental planner whose research and practice focuses on ways of resolving ecological conflicts through technical and social mechanisms, as well as exploring novel ways of peace-building between corporations, governments and communities. He holds the Blue and Gold Distinguished Professorship in Energy and the Environment at the University of Delaware, and is also a Senior Fellow at Columbia University's Center on Sustainable Investment and Georgetown University's Center for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Studies. Professor Ali has held the Chair in Sustainable Resources Development at the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute in Brisbane, Australia (where he retains professorial affiliation). Previously he was Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Natural Resources where he was founding director of the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security. His books include Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future, (Yale Univ. Press); Environmental Diplomacy (with Lawrence Susskind, Oxford Univ. Press), Mining, the Environment and Indigenous Development Conflicts (Univ. of Arizona Press) and Islam and Education: Conflict and Conformity in Pakistan’s Madrassas (Oxford Univ. Press). He has also authored over a hundred other peer-reviewed publications and been the editor of acclaimed anthologies including “Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution” (MIT Press) and “Diplomacy on Ice: Energy and the Environment in the Arctic and Antarctic” (with R. Pincus, Yale Univ. Press).  Corporate and government experience includes employment in General Electric’s Technical Leadership Program; a Baker Foundation Fellowship at Harvard Business School and a Research Internship at the UK House of Commons. Professor Ali was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011 and received an Emerging Explorer award from the National Geographic Society in 2010. He is a member of the United Nations International Resource Panel, The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and serves on the board of the Diamonds and Development Initiative. He is also a series co-editor for the University of Chicago Press on Environmental Science, Law and Policy. Professor Ali received his doctorate in Environmental Planning from MIT, a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from Yale University and Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Tufts University (summa cum laude). He is a citizen of Australia, Pakistan and the United States.


Department Affiliation

Department of Geography
Energy and Environmental Policy
Center for Energy and Environmental Policy
Delaware Environmental Institute Council of Fellows


2000 - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge MA, USA: Ph.D. in Environmental Planning, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Dissertation title: "Environmental Resistance and Aboriginal Development: A Comparative Study of Mining Ventures in the United States and Canada." Advisor: Professor Lawrence Susskind. Committee members: Professor Joseph Kalt (Harvard, Kennedy School of Govt.), Professor Paul Carlile (MIT, Sloan School of Management).

1996 - Yale University , New Haven, CT, USA: Masters of  Environmental Studies. Focus: Industrial Environmental Management and International Development. Thesis: Water and Diamonds: Resource Scarcity and Environmental Degradation in Southern Africa. Advisor: Professor Daniel Esty

1994 -  Tufts University,  Medford, MA, USA: Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude. Majors: Chemistry and Environmental Studies

Select Publications 

Books: (Amazon author page linked here has complete list of books)

Ali, Saleem H. Kathryn Sturman and Nina Collins. eds. Africa's Mineral Fortune: The Science and Politics of Sustainable Deveolopment. London and New York: Routledge, 2018.

Susskind, Lawrence and Saleem H. Ali. Environmental Diplomacy: Negotiating Effective International Agreements (second edition). New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, October, 2014.

Ali, Saleem H. Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009 (paperback edition, Fall, 2010)

Articles: (Google Scholar Page  linked here has more complete article listing as well)

Ali, Saleem H. Extracting at the Borders: Negotiating, Political and Ecological Geographies of Movement in Mineral Frontiers. Sustainable Development (in press), 2018.

Ali, Saleem H. et al. 2017. Mineral supply for sustainable development requires resource governance.” Nature 543:367-372.

Ali, Saleem H. 2017. “The ecology of diamond sourcing: from mined to synthetic gems as a sustainable transition.” Journal of Bioeconomics 19:115-126.

Ali, Saleem H. 2017. “Reconciling Islamic Ethics, Fossil Fuel Dependence, and Climate Change in the Middle East.” Review of Middle East Studies 50(2): 172-
178. (Cambridge University Press).

Book Chapters:

Ali, Saleem H. and Rebecca Pincus. “The Role of the Military in Environmental Peace-building.”  In Ashok Swain ed. Routledge Handbook of Environmental Conflict and Peace-building. New York and London Routledge, Expected Publication early 2018.
Grasso, Domenico and Saleem H. Ali. “Water and Global Development Goals: The Role of Engineering and Social Science in Meeting International Policy Outcomes.” Wiley Encyclopedia of Water. Expected publication in 2018.

Online Commentary:

The Conversation Contributor - List of Articles

National Geographic: Voices - Ideas and Insights from Explorers

Huffington Post Contributor

For a more complete list of publications: http://udel.academia.edu/SaleemAli

Research Interests

Professor 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.

Current Team Members

Martin Clifford, post-doctoral researcher

Mehmet Altingoz - doctoral researcher

Qiuxi Li - doctoral researcher

Ahmed Sabab Sharek - doctoral researcher

Sindhuja Sunder - masters researcher

Muhammad Nauman Khurshid - masters researcher

Lynda Lawson - research associate (Australia)

Asmaa Khadim - doctoral researcher (Australia)

Imron (Ron) Janjua doctoral researcher (Australia)

Gary Flomenhoft - doctoral researcher (Australia)





Social Media

on twitter
View Professor Ali's profile on LinkedIn
View Professor Ali's profile on facebook



CEOE School & Departments

School of Marine Science & Policy

Advancing the understanding, stewardship, and conservation of estuarine, coastal, and ocean environments.

Learn More
Department of Earth Sciences

Discovering how geological processes have operated over various time scales to create and influence the planet’s surface environments.

Learn More
Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences

Providing a unique spatial perspective that seeks to explain patterns of differences and commonality across the human and natural environment.

Learn More

College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment • 111 Robinson Hall • Newark, DE 19716 • USA • Phone: 302-831-2841
Geography and Spatial Sciences: 302-831-2294 • Earth Sciences: 302-831-2569 • Marine Science and Policy: 302-645-4212 • E-mail: ceoe-info@udel.edu

Back to Top