#ElliottExpert: Moses Kansanga

#ElliottExpert: Moses Kansanga

Dr. Moses Kansanga, wearing a grey suit. He is outdoors with many plants in the background. Moses Kansanga, Assistant Professor of Geography and International Affairs, #ElliottExpert

Dr. Moses Kansanga is an Assistant Professor of Geography and International Affairs at the George Washington University. His research explores questions at the intersection of agriculture and natural resource management using community-based and participatory approaches. In the past decade, Dr. Kansanga’s research has focused on co-generating contextual solutions to complex socioecological issues in the Global South including food insecurity, food loss and climate change. Dr. Kansanga has published over 40 peer reviewed articles and authored several book chapters in this area.

Hometown: Upper West Region, Ghana

Program/Institute: Geography and International Affairs

Area(s) of expertise: Agriculture and sustainable food systems, international development, environment and health

Institutions Attended: Western University, Canada

Teaching courses this or next semester?: I am currently teaching a graduate seminar, Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems (GEOG 6195), and an introductory level course, Society and Environment (GEOG 1003). Next semester I will teach two undergraduate level courses: Sustainable Food Systems (GEOG 3275) and the Geography of Africa (3164).

When did you realize you wanted an international career?

I’ve always been curious about socioeconomic differences across space and time. This interest is rooted in my experiences growing up in relatively deprived context in the Global South where poverty and food insecurity are major issues. At a very early stage in life, I was keen on knowing why other geographical contexts within my country were food secure. The more my young brain pushed, the more I realized hunger and other contextual vulnerabilities like poverty were broader global issues. Geography and international affairs offered me the right scholarly tools to investigate these vulnerabilities from a unique perspective that allows me to explore explanations across scale. I am also constantly motivated by the fact that my career in Geography and International Affairs creates opportunities to work directly with communities across the world for change.

What are three things you have learned since you began teaching students?

In my relatively young career as a professor, there are so many interesting things I’ve learned so far. The greatest among them is the understanding that the classroom is a learning space for both the professor and students. I can say I am a better version of myself as a result of the opportunity to learn from my students. Another key thing I’ve learned is that diversity makes the learning experience richer for everyone. A diverse classroom provides the unique opportunity to learn from the experiences of different people, and to debate societal issues in interesting and more nuanced ways. But I’ve also come to learn that teaching is not an entirely rosy process; there are ups and downs! But there is always inspiration to keep going.

What skill or knowledge do you hope students take away from your class?

I hope students leave my courses feeling confident and empowered to actively contribute to building a more sustainable society. I am motivated when students leave my courses with a sense of self-awareness of the power they possess to contribute to their communities.

If you could have any guest speaker in the world for one of your classes, whom would you choose and for what class?

This quite a tough choice. I have already featured some of the key people whose scholarship continues to inspire me in the subfield of food system sustainability. However, if I were to consider my Agriculture and Sustainable Food Systems course outline closely, there is a considerable number of articles by Dr. Jennifer Clapp, the Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability. She’s someone I hope to meet, so having her talk to my class would be fantastic.

If you could bring one international food to DC, what would it be and why?

I think there are a lot of international dishes I would love to see in DC, but Tuozafi (in Ghanaian parlance) also called Nsima across East and Southern Africa tops the list. This is because of the deep cultural connections and identities people from different African countries have built around this common dish.

Want to connect with current Elliott School students and alumni? Click here to see how!

Find out more about this program by creating a CustomViewbook!

Join us for an information session, RSVP here!

Click here to apply to the Elliott School!

Twitter · Facebook · Instagram

The #ElliottExpert profile series is managed by the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions and highlights current professors to answer common questions posed by prospective, incoming, and current students. For more information on this series or to submit questions, e-mail the Office of Graduate Admissions at esiagrad@gwu.edu.The views expressed by students profiled do not necessarily represent those of organizations they work for, are affiliated with, or the Elliott School of International Affairs.