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Commanding Hope: The Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril

October 29, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm EDT

Commanding Hope:  The Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril



Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon

#1 Bestselling Thought Leader

Founding Director, Cascade Institute, Royal Roads University


University Research Chair, Faculty of the Environment, University of Waterloo


In Conversation With

Nahlah Ayed

Host, “Ideas”, CBC Radio


October 29, 2020 (Thursday) from 4:00 to 5:30 pm (Eastern Time)

Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon’s newly released book, “Commanding Hope:  The Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril,” calls on history, cutting-edge research, complexity science and even the Lord of the Rings to lay out the tools we can command to rescue a world on the brink.

For three decades, Dr. Homer-Dixon has examined the threats to our future security – predicting a deteriorating global environment, extreme economic stresses, mass migrations, social instability and wide political violence if humankind continued on its current course. He was called The Doom Meister, but we now see how prescient he was.

Today just about everything we’ve known and relied on (our natural environment, economy, societies, cultures and institutions) is changing dramatically – too often for the worse.  Without radical new approaches, our planet will become unrecognizable as well as poorer, more violent, and more authoritarian.  Dr. Homer-Dixon calls on his extraordinary knowledge of complexity science, of how societies work and can evolve, and of our capacity to handle threats, to show that we can shift human civilization onto a decisively new path if we mobilize our minds, spirits, imaginations and collective values.

In his latest book, Dr. Homer-Dixon marshals a fascinating, accessible argument for reinvigorating our cognitive strengths and belief systems to affect urgent systemic change, strengthen our economies and cultures, and renew our hope in a positive future for everyone on Earth.

The current coronavirus emergency, according to Dr.  Homer-Dixon, is a vivid example of a global “tipping event,” in which multiple social systems flip simultaneously to a distinct new state.   The relatively new science of complex systems shows that such events are made more likely by today’s unprecedented and dense webs of connectivity across the Earth’s surface – air traffic, financial, energy, manufacturing, food distribution, shipping and communication, to name just a few.

Viewed through the lens of complexity, Dr. Homer-Dixon also offered prophetic pre-election commentary four years ago about how Donald Trump could reshape America if elected President.

Become a Canadian International Council Member today to participate in this complimentary event.


Registration Details

If you would like to attend the event you can register by clicking on this link.

The event will be recorded by CBC IDEAS for possible broadcast.  Written questions submitted by the audience members may be part of the CBC IDEAS recording.

Purchase a Signed Copy of Dr. Homer-Dixon’s Latest Book

Signed copies of Dr. Homer-Dixon’s new book can be purchased for $37.80 including HST plus shipping by contacting David Worley, Words Worth Books, Waterloo (david@wordsworthbooks.com) and mentioning the CIC event.

About Dr. Thomas Homer-Dixon

Thomas Homer-Dixon holds a University Research Chair in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, and is Director of the Cascade Institute at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia. Between 2009 and 2014, he was founding director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation. Born in Victoria, BC, Thomas received his BA in political science from Carleton University and his Ph.D. from M.I.T in international relations, defense and arms control policy, and conflict theory. His books include “The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization;” “The Ingenuity Gap: Can We Solve the Problems of the Future?”; and “Environment, Scarcity, and Violence.” His writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Scientific American, The New York Times, the Financial Times, the Washington Post, and the Globe and Mail. Dr. Homer-Dixon’s current research is focused on threats to global security in the 21st century, including economic instability, climate change, and energy scarcity and on how people, organizations, and societies can better resolve their conflicts and innovate in response to complex problems. His new book, “Commanding Hope: The Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril” was published by Knopf Canada, on September 1.


About Nahlah Ayed, Host & Producer at CBC IDEAS

Nahlah Ayed is host and producer at CBC IDEAS. She is an award winning veteran of foreign reportage: first in the Middle East, where she spent nearly a decade covering the region’s conflicts; then in London, covering some of the biggest stories of our times—Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Europe’s refugee arrivals, the Brexit vote and its fallout. She’s also reported from around the world: India, Iran, Myanmar, and North Korea. Ayed holds a Master of Journalism from Carleton University, a Master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and B.Sc. in genetics from the University of Manitoba, and three honourary PHDs. She was born and raised (mostly) in Winnipeg.  Nahlah is the author of A Thousand Farewells, a book about refugeehood.

About the Canadian International Council

The CIC is Canada’s national non-partisan not-for-profit international affairs forum whose programs, activities and resources engage Canadians in exploring and defining the country’s role in the world and areas of international engagement (https://thecic.org/en/).  CIC and its predecessor organization have a rich, active and influential 90-year history.  With over 1,200 members nationally, its 16 Branches serve as CIC’s backbone and prime originators of programming.  Join the Canadian International Council today and affiliate with your local Branch to have full access to Member-Only events, information and commentary (https://thecic.org/become-a-member/).


October 29, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm EDT
Event Category:


CIC Victoria Branch