Honorary Professor Saleem Ali

Honorary Professor

Sustainable Minerals Institute


Prof. Saleem Ali served as the Director of the Centre for Social Responsibility in Mining (CSRM) from 2012 to 2014 and is currently Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment at the University of Delaware (USA). He retains an affiliate research professorship at UQ and has also held the Chair in Sustainable Resource Development at UQ's Sustainable Minerals Institute. As an environmental planner, his research and practice is highly interdisciplinary and aims to inform social management with rigorous science.

Former Professional Experience

Prof. Ali was a Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Vermont's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources from 2002 to 2012 and the founding Director of the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security at UVM's James Jeffords Center for Policy Research. He was also on the adjunct faculty of Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies and the visiting faculty for the United Nations mandated University for Peace (Costa Rica).

Before embarking on an academic career, Prof. Ali worked as an environmental health and safety professional at General Electric (based at GE headquarters in Fairfield, CT, and at silicone resin manufacturing sites in New York). He has served as a consultant for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Health Canada. He has also been an Associate at the Boston-based consulting firm Industrial Economics Inc. Some of his pro bono projects include a mining impact prospectus for the Crowe Tribe of Montana and research assistance to Cultural Survival (an indigenous rights NGO).

Past Research

Prof. Ali's primary research interests have been in the causes and consequences of environmental conflicts in the research sector, and the process of using ecological factors to promote peace. Some of Prof. Ali’s former research appointments include a visiting fellowship at the Brookings Institution's research center in Doha, Qatar; a Public Policy Fellowship at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, a Baker Foundation Research Fellowship at Harvard Business School and a parliamentary internship at the U.K. House of Commons. Dr Ali has teaching experience in courses on environmental planning, conflict resolution, industrial ecology, research methods and technical writing.


Prof. Ali’s books include the Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future (Yale University Press, 2010) which received a cover endorsement from Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus for providing a "welcome link between environmental behaviour and poverty alleviation." Among his earlier works is the acclaimed comparative case-based research book Mining, the Environment and Indigenous Development Conflicts (University of Arizona Press). Prof. Ali has served as an editor in many publications including Earth Matters: Indigenous Peoples, The Extractive Industries and Corporate Social Responsibility (edited with Ciaran O'Fairchellaegh) and the widely acclaimed volume Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution (MIT Press, September, 2007), which has received cover endorsements from environmental scientists E.O. Wilson, George Schaller and UNEP executive director Achim Steiner, and a foreword by IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefevre. He has also published in a wide range of peer-reveiwed journals including Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Resources Policy and Journal of Cleaner Production. A full list of publications can be found in the publication interface of thsi page or in Google Scholar.

Awards and Recognition

The World Economic Forum chose Prof. Ali as a "Young Global Leader" in 2011. He has also been selected by the National Geographic Society as an "Emerging Explorer" and was profiled in "Forbes magazine" in September, 2009 in an article titled "The Alchemist."

Other Interests and positions

Prof. Ali is a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas and the IUCN Taskforce on Transboundary Conservation. He is also a professional mediator and has conducted workshops on consensus-building for private and public interests. He has assisted in the peer review process for research publications with the World Bank, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, The Woodrow Wilson Center, the Journal of Environmental Management, the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, the Natural Resources Forum and Yale University Press.

Prof. Ali is involved in numerous non-profit organizations to promote environmental peace-building. He currently serves on the board of The DMZ Forum for Peace and Nature Conservation and International Peace Park Expeditions in the United States and on the board of governors for LEAD-Pakistan. He has also been involved in promoting environmental education in madrassahs (Islamic religious schools) and using techniques from environmental planning to study the rise of these institutions in his ethnic homeland, Pakistan. This prompted Prof. Ali to publish a sole-authored book in January 2009 titled Islam and Education: Conflict and Conformity in Pakistan's Madrassahs (Oxford University Press)

Professor Ali received his doctorate in Environmental Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), an M.E.S. in environmental law and policy from Yale University, and his Bachelors in Chemistry from Tufts University (summa cum laude).

Research Impacts

Based on the impact of Professor Ali's research he was asked to serve on the Global Future Council on Advanced Materials convemed by the World economic Forum from 2016 to 2018 and he is also an expert advisor to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. In addition he is serving on the Governance Task Force of the United Nations' International Resource Panel.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


View all Publications



Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Edited Outputs

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)