Teaching Philosophy

In my role as a professor and scholar-practitioner, I fundamentally believe in the value of a liberal arts education. My teaching is structured so as to better prepare students to become informed, thoughtful, and active global citizens. Upon graduation, they will be ready to engage in dynamic work environments and an interconnected world. My classes expose them to diverse perspectives and provide them with skills that are critical for their professional lives, creating positive change wherever they may be.

My teaching is informed by a combination of academic study and research training as well as a wide range of practical international experiences in the field. My ongoing investigations on displacement due to natural resource extraction and environmental degradation, as well as refugee integration, continue to inform the courses I instruct. In addition, I draw upon many years worth of international experiences, such as employment with the US government, UN, and NGOs, or time living, working, research, and teaching in the Japan, the Marshall Islands, Colombia, and Peru, and bring this to my classroom instruction and active learning.

Classes Taught

Courses taught at Tokai University, Temple University (in Japan), and Tufts University are listed below.


  • International Politics

  • Natural Resource Conflicts

  • Neighbors or Companions? Latin America and the U.S.

  • Peace and Conflict Studies

  • The Refugee Journey


  • Sustainable Environments

  • Powering the Future (focus on resources and energy)

  • International Studies (focus on SDGs and climate change)


  • Globalization

  • International Economy

  • Introduction to Global Studies

Global Citizenship-related

  • ​Advanced Seminar on Current Topics

  • Global Citizenship

  • International Understanding

Sample of Independently Designed Courses

Natural Resource Conflicts

What are the implications of an ever-diminishing supply of natural resources on the presence of conflict around the world? Are we, living in the United States or other industrialized countries, connected to and somewhat culpable for distant disputes over oil reserves, timber, coal and copper mining deposits? Does our wasting of energy, use of cell phones, and construction of supersize houses make us somewhat responsible when clashes take place? These and related questions are covered within this course about the role of natural resource endowments and scarcity in national and international conflict. By the turn of the last century, “a quarter of all armed conflicts in the world involved the extraction of natural resources” (Giambrone 2006). The class begins with a conceptualization of struggles over natural resources, considers whether material consumption in more developed countries can be indirectly linked – via commodity chains – to conflict in other parts of the world, and touches on potential conflict resolution approaches and future prospects. Teaching@Tufts blog post

The Refugee Journey

Each year the United States welcomes tens of thousands of refugees for resettlement across the country. Why do these people seek refuge, and how do they build new lives upon arrival? Why would someone leave their homeland, and what are their prospects for starting over in a new location? This course traces the stages of a refugee’s journey, from conflict in a troubled nation, to their decision to flee, and from travel to seek asylum in a neighboring country, to eventual resettlement overseas. It explores these from various perspectives, e.g. the level of the nation-state down to that of the individual. Students will become familiar with key theories and decision-making about forced migration, as well as the policies and reality of integration. They will also have the opportunity to discover more about the experience of resettled refugees through direct contact in the classroom and local neighborhoods. Ultimately, the course connects the humanitarian crises that spark displacement overseas with resettlement taking place in our own communities.

Neighbors or Companions? Past & Future Ties Between Latin America and the U.S.

This course provides an exploration of Latin America’s integral connection to the United States. During the past 15 years much of US foreign policy has focused on the Middle East or Asia, leading to a decline in attention paid to our own hemisphere. The class sessions are split in half, first considering the influence of the “north” on Latin America, sometimes through interventions, and then noting the way that the “south” influences the United States, such as through immigration. Overall, the course considers how the hemisphere is indeed united, as the Americas. After this course students will better understand and be able to articulate the situation in “our own neighborhood”, and how it may shape the future of the region, and the United States itself.

Thesis Instructor

As a staff member of the Fletcher School's Global Masters of Arts Program (GMAP), I taught, advised and mentored more than 75 mid-career professionals in the basics of research and critical thinking, and provided one-on-one instruction and mentorship. I also collaborated with faculty on the review of theses, including topics ranging from transnational water conflicts to cybersecurity, and related to conflict, peace, development, migration, and the environment.

At Tokai University I guide a cohort of thesis students each year, and they have written on topics ranging from post-conflict rebuilding in African states to the education of immigrants in Japan. My instruction focuses on the entire writing process, from selecting a topic and finding a research puzzle, to conducting research and analyzing sources, as well as the editing and making an oral presentation about the findings.

Teaching Assistant

As a teaching assistant I helped to organize and co-teach the following masters-level courses at The Fletcher School (Tufts University):

- Critical Issues in Forced Migration

- Field Research Methods in Humanitarian Settings

- Global Migration and Displacement

- Introduction to Forced Migration

- Thesis Research & Writing