Thomas Homer-Dixon

5 results found for: Education


May 14th, 2012 —

How Free Is Academic Freedom?

How Free Is Academic Freedom?: An op-ed in the Toronto Globe and Mail

Canada desperately needs a broad and vigorous public discussion about why academic freedom is important, what might threaten it and how it should be protected.

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April 27th, 2004 —

Remarks on the Occasion of the Naming of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies

The Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies educates young men and women to understand how and why conflict occurs, to know the best ways of preventing and resolving this conflict, and to have the tools to work together to change our world.

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July 26th, 2001 —

We Ignore Scientific Literacy at Our Peril

We’re still in the dark ages when it comes to understanding how the human brain works. We know it’s an assemblage of hundreds of billions of intricately entangled neurons, and we have some general understanding of its structure and anatomy. But we’re just beginning to understand how to classify these neurons, how they are linked across different sections of the brain, and how they communicate with each other through a wide array of neurochemicals. We know even less about how this assemblage of neurons actually processes the information and makes the decisions that are commonplace in our everyday lives. And when it comes to how the brain has feelings, an artistic sensibility, a concept of spirituality, and, above all, a capacity for consciousness – these matters are still best left to philosophers, because brain science has almost nothing to say about them.

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June 17th, 2000 —

On the Razor’s Edge: Today’s Graduates Are Entering a Winner-Take-All World, And Most Are Painfully Aware They’ve Already Lost the Game

By creating huge, integrated, and efficient markets, modern technologies have helped create a winner-take-all economy, in which the people who are best in any particular field are able to reap huge returns, while those who are just slightly below the very best are rewarded with far less. Incomes rise rapidly for people in the highest echelons of our economies, while they stagnate for many of the rest (see chart). My students know this, and it scares them. They also know – and it also scares them – that we’ve created an economy and society offering immense rewards to people with certain kinds of cognitive abilities and temperaments. It’s an ideal place for people who are hyper-rational and hyper-kinetic – those with finely honed analytical skills and agile, pragmatic minds who thrive on speed and change, and those who are attractive, socially adept, and perpetually optimistic. It’s far from an ideal place for people who are shy, cautious, and emotionally sensitive, and it’s certainly not a place for those susceptible to deep sadness. As someone very close to me who suffers from depression once said: “This society isn’t designed for people like me.”

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April 1st, 1996 —

What to Do with a “Soft” Degree in a Hard Job Market

Every year the students in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto organize a “career night” for the 60-odd undergraduates in the program. The evening aims to answer the question: What can one “do” with a B.A. in this field?

As program director, I described the job environment the students face on graduation and what they can do to prepare for it. Although the story I tell is in some ways a grim one, new graduates have more control over their destinies then they might think. The secrets of this control, however, are not entirely what they expect.

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