Dr. Matthew Wilburn King
Writer | Author | Researcher | Social Entrepreneur | Strategist | Traveler
Philanthropist | Speaker | Artist | Actor | College Lecturer | Creative | Zen Buddhist
My purpose in life is to live, love and learn!
I have two decades of experience leading projects, strategy, and research in the fields of environment and sustainable development. I’ve worked for government, academia, non-profits, and the private sector. I serve as President and Chairman of the Futurity Foundation, consult and advise leaders worldwide through King’s Creations.
I’ve been to every Continent on Earth with the exception of Antarctica, completed learning expeditions to over 30 countries, lived in five, and studied and conducted extensive research in four – completing my PhD at the University of Cambridge in England in Political Ecology/Human Geography in 2008.
I’ve had three epiphanies in life, two while meditating in rainforests and the other as I was facing death due to cancer. The first was at Ebner Falls in the Tongass National Forest, Juneau, Alaska in 2001, and the second in Daintree Rainforest, Queensland, Australia in 2014.
I’ve searched relentlessly for my place in the world through travel, philosophy, spirituality, and literature, but I found it inside. I spent the first five years of my life living in the Frances Willard Home for Girl’s, administered by my father in north Tulsa, Oklahoma. I eventually moved to the west side of town; home of the white working class and the settings of S.E. Hinton’s book, “The Outsiders” and Francis Ford Coppola’s film adaptation of her novel. Truth is, I’ve always been as much an ‘Outsider’, as an idealistic pragmatist. Now, I direct my grit and perseverance toward improving the lives of others, and the planet.
I’ve met death as cancer ravaged my body, and I’m still alive after a 15% chance of living.
I’ve traveled the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. I’ve dived the largest barrier reef systems and I’ve spent time on many seas: Celtic, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Aegean, Adriatic, Sargasso, North, Baltic, Andaman, Bering, and the Coral Sea.
I once helmed a barge on the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta in the Netherlands, after teaching a Tanzanian woman to ride a bike, while working with her and a group of international volunteers to create a nature reserve near Numansdorp. I’ve hiked major mountain ranges: the Rockies, the Alps, Andes, Great Dividing Range, Appalachian and the Cascades.
I speak English, Spanish, and some French. I act on stage, paint, photograph, draw, and I’ve produced and directed short films. I’ve volunteered with dozens of organizations, committing thousands of hours for the benefit of people and the planet. I’m a Zen Buddhist that practices yoga and, of course, meditation. I love my wife immensely, but always strive to love her more.
I’ve published academic and popular literature, given talks around the world, and I love to dance. I’m a former U.S. Presidential Management Fellow (Clinton Administration 1999-2001), post-graduate Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, and a Kinship Conservation Fellow.
The burning question I’m trying to answer:
“How can humanity overcome its evolutionary limitations as a species to address long-term global challenges (e.g. war, poverty, climate change, governance, conservation, human rights, etc.)?”
My biggest journey, thus far, has been my current one, from head to heart, and I’m still on that journey.
I’m grateful to be here on this journey with you!
You can learn more about my professional experiences via LinkedIn, but here’s a synopsis.
2008 PhD Human Geography/Political Ecology, Faculty of Earth Science & Geography, University of Cambridge
1999 M.Phil International Peace & Conflict Studies Program, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Ireland
1998 B.A. Political Science | Certificate in Legal Studies, Department of Political Science, University of Tulsa
1997 Study Abroad (1yr) Public International Law, Political Theory, and European Union Studies; Old College School of Law and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Select Professional Honors and Affiliations:
United States Presidential Management Fellow (Clinton Administration); Fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society; Postgraduate Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers; Kinship Conservation Fellow; Distinguished Alumnus Lectureship in Politics and Law, University of Tulsa, Department of Political Science; Roster Member, US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, Morris K. Udall Foundation; Member Association of American Geographers; AAG International Research and Scholarly Exchange Committee 2006 – 2007; College Geography and Education Committee, Association of American Geographers July 2007 –2009; Member American Anthropological Association; Member of the Society for Latin American Studies; Member Pembroke College, University of Cambridge.