Harm de Blij
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Harm de Blij

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Political Geographer, Author, Television Personality


Government & PoliticsHistoryInternational Affairs


Massachusetts or Florida


Harm de Blij

Harm de BlijPolitical Geographer, Author, Television Personality

Author, professor and television personality Harm de Blij (pronounced duh Blay) for seven years was the popular Geography Editor on ABC’s “Good Morning America”. In 1996 he joined NBC News as Geography Analyst, appearing mostly on MSNBC. He was writer of and commentator for the original PBS Series “The Power of Place.”

Born in the Netherlands, de Blij has a unique range of educational experiences. He received his early schooling in Europe (part of it during the Second World War as recounted in his memoir Wartime Encounter), his college education in Africa, and his higher degrees (Ph.D., Northwestern) in the United States. His scholarly work has been recognized through honorary degrees awarded by Marshall University, Rhode Island College, Grand Valley State University, North Carolina State University, and Michigan State University.

Mr. de Blij has published more than 30 books including scientific, educational, and trade titles, and over 100 articles. In his most recent trade book, The Power of Place (2009, Oxford University Press) he argues that the world is not only not “flat”, but becoming more corrugated. In Why Geography Matters (2007, Oxford University Press, paperback edition) he argues that America’s persistent geographic illiteracy constitutes a national security risk. His textbook Geography: Realms, Regions and Concepts (Wiley) has exceeded 1.2 million copies in 14 editions since 1970. Another book, Wine: a Geographic Appreciation (Rowman & Allanheld) was a bestseller during the 1980s and was awarded a medal by the French wine organization, OIV, in Paris. His books have been translated into several foreign languages.

He specializes in geopolitical and environmental issues, and has held named chairs at Georgetown University, Marshall University, and the Colorado School of Mines. Mr. de Blij currently is John A. Hannah Professor at Michigan State University. He was previously Distinguished Professor of Geography at Michigan State University, where he also taught throughout the decade of the 1960s. In the interim, he chaired the Geography Department at the University of Miami and served as editor at the National Geographic Society. His advocacy of Geography in the media and on the public lecture circuit has taken him to virtually all corners of the United States; his work in research, teaching, and television has spanned the globe. In 1994 National Geographic Society President Gilbert Grosvenor appointed Mr. de Blij an Honorary Life Member of the Society.

He is an avid wine collector, a lifelong soccer (Holland) and baseball (Cubs) fan, and an amateur violinist who continues to play chamber music whenever the opportunity arises. His daughter Tanya is a Web designer and his son James is a Project Manager in television production at Discovery Communications, LLC. Harm de Blij’s permanent residence and year-round office are in Boca Grande, Florida.



The United States in the Global Geopolitics of the Second Decade
Still the dominant world power and the engine of globalization, the United States faces growing challenges from familiar as well as unexpected sources. How will responsible leadership be sustained?

The Power of Place:   How Geography Shapes the Future
By the roulette of birth we are all parachuted into a world of widely varying cultural and natural circumstances. The formidable power of this diverse geography shapes advantage and disadvantage and frames relationships among individuals, communities and nations.

The Challenges of Climate Change
Governments and businesses must intensify their efforts to constrain the emanation of greenhouse-enhancing gases into the planet’s atmosphere. But even total cessation would not end climate change, abrupt or longer-term. How to balance mitigation and preparation?

The European Union: Superpower in the Making or Paper Tiger of the Future?
Europe is America’s crucial ally, an expanding union of like-minded countries forming a major world market playing a key role in global affairs. But how united is this union, how stable will it be, and how dependable as a partner in an increasingly fractious world?

What Does Russia Want?
An increasingly autocratic Russian government is sending mixed signals to the outside world, alternating belligerence with forbearance. What are Russia’s objectives and how do Moscow’s strategies affect its neighbors near and far?

India of the Four Corners
Democratic, multicultural India is the key to progress against extremism in its realm — more so than Pakistan or Afghanistan. Soon to be the world’s most populous country and containing the world’s largest cultural minority, India (cold-shouldered by Washington during the Cold War) should take its place as America’s indispensable ally in this decade.


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