Dr. Matthew Wilburn King
Matthew’s purpose in life is to live, love and learn!
Matthew has two decades of experience leading projects, strategy, and research in the fields of environment and sustainable development. He’s worked for the government, academia, non-profits, and the private sector. He serves as President and Chairman of the COMMON Foundation, consults, and advise leaders worldwide through King’s Creations.
Matthew has 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 Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England in Political Ecology/Human Geography in 2008.
He has had three epiphanies in life, two while meditating in rainforests and the other as he 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.
He’s searched relentlessly for his place in the world through travel, philosophy, spirituality, and literature, but he found it inside. He spent the first five years of his life living in the Frances Willard Home for Girl’s, administered by his father in north Tulsa, Oklahoma.
He 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, he has always been as much an ‘Outsider’, as an idealistic pragmatist. Now, he directs his grit and perseverance toward improving the lives of others and the planet.
He met death as cancer ravaged his body, and he’s still alive after a 15% chance of living.
He’s traveled the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. He’s dived the largest barrier reef systems and spent time on many seas: Celtic, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Aegean, Adriatic, Sargasso, North, Baltic, Andaman, Bering, and the Coral Sea.
He 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. He’s hiked major mountain ranges: the Rockies, the Alps, Andes, Great Dividing Range, Appalachian, and the Cascades.
Matthew has volunteered with dozens of organizations, committing thousands of hours for the benefit of people and the planet. He’s a Zen Buddhist who practices yoga and, of course, meditation. He loves his wife immensely, and always strive to be a better husband.
He’s published academic and popular literature, given talks around the world, and he loves to dance. He’s 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 he’s 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.)?”
Matthew’s biggest journey, thus far, has been my current one, from head to heart, and he’s still on that journey. He’s grateful to be here on this journey, especially with you! You can learn more about his professional experiences via LinkedIn.
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; Founding Member of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association, Distinguished Alumnus Lectureship in Politics and Law, University of Tulsa, Department of Political Science; Founding Member of the Environmental Peacebuilding Association; 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.