Noah Zerbe

Noah's love of international affairs has taken him all over the world. He's travelled to Siberia and Moscow, studied in Zimbabwe and worked in Belgium.

No wonder he's a firm believer in learning by doing. Whether his students are working at local non-profits or informing the United Nations through their research, their learning isn't limited to inside the classroom.

That's a big reason why he started HSU's Model United Nations (U.N.) program, a semester-long class that explores the international body and prepares students to participate in a global collegiate conference held each spring in San Francisco. During the event, students role-play as diplomats and develop solutions to real issues facing the U.N. such as gender inequality and reproductive health.

"Writing, being able to speak publicly in front of 100 of your peers, debating issues, negotiation—they're all skills you learn that will help you in life, even if you're not interested in diplomacy," he says.

Noah's research interests are broad. He focused on Russian studies as an undergraduate and explored American food security as a graduate student. His Ph.D. dissertation at York University in Canada examined agricultural biotechnology in Zimbabwe.

His interest in global food politics recently led him to South Africa, where he examined urban agriculture and food advocacy in the port town of Durban.

One of Noah's goals is to get students thinking about the political, economic and social dimensions of global food production and consumption.

"Often times we don't stop and think about where our food comes from," he says.

He does that through his Global Food Politics class and a blog he maintains on the topic. He also collaborates with students on research, like a current project examining Africa's role in the international discussion over genetically modified foods (GMOs).

Another group of students is examining state-owned investment projects in Darfur and developing countries. It's a pretty unique opportunity, given that the issue is currently being debated by the United Nations.

"Their reports are informing debate at the U.N. right now," Noah says.

What makes a Coke bottle political? »

 

Noah poses that question at the beginning of his Global Food Politics class. His goal is to get students thinking about the political, economic and social dimensions of global food production and consumption. Why is Coke the quintessential U.S. drink? How does it displace traditional beverages in the developing world? What role does it play in the plastic bottle debate? "Often times we don't stop and think about where our food comes from," he says.

Helping students meet the needs of the community and the environment »

As an instructor in HSU's Environment and Community Program, Noah prepares graduate students for careers in local government and the private sector. His students have accepted leadership positions at nonprofits throughout the state. "There are a lots of ways to get involved," he says.

Bringing a global perspective to the classroom »

As an undergrad at Northern Arizona University, Noah participated in Model United Nations, where students role-play as diplomats in order to develop solutions to real issues facing the U.N. such as gender inequality and reproductive health. He liked the experience so much he brought the same opportunities to his students at HSU.

Noah Zerbe
Professor of Politics