Geography 2050

Dr. Gary Dirks

Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University

Dr. Dirks is currently director of the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, the hub of Arizona State University’s sustainability initiatives. The ASU Wrigley Institute advances research, education and business practices for an urbanizing world. Its School of Sustainability, the first of its kind in the U.S., offers transdisciplinary degree programs focused on finding practical solutions to social, economic and environmental challenges. He is also Director of LightWorks®, an ASU initiative that capitalizes on ASU’s strengths in solar energy and other light-inspired research. Dr. Dirks is the Julie Wrigley Chair of Sustainable Practices and a professor of practice in the School of Sustainability. In 2016, he became a PLuS Alliance Fellow, a collaborative educational model of three universities. Before joining ASU, Dr. Dirks worked as the President of BP Asia-Pacific and the president of BP China from 1995 to 2009. As the director of LightWorks®, he focuses on energy research regarding sunlight in order to find solutions to the world’s fuel-, electric-, and social-challenges. He also works in conservation and sustainability where he works to transition towards a more sustainable energy future and promotes policy and public engagement. Dr. Dirks has also served on several energy- and sustainability-related boards, including on the Science Advisory Board of Conservation International for the U.S. China Center for Sustainable Development. Dr. Dirks earned a PhD. in Chemistry from ASU in 1980. He was the first doctoral student to work in the Center for the Study of Early Events in Photosynthesis.