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Nicholas Haan

Global Grand Challenges Director

Biography

Nicholas Haan has worked at the intersection of science, technology, social challenges, and innovation for the last 25 years. His issues of focus have included disaster relief, food security, environment, energy, public health, education, genetics, and information systems. And his affiliations have included the United Nations, governments, universities, donor agencies and non-governmental organizations.

Nick is currently Director of Global Grand Challenges and Team Project Leader at Singularity University. His introduction to global perspectives began as a science teacher in a remote Kenyan village with the Peace Corps. This experience led to more than 20 years of living and working internationally, mainly in East and Southern Africa (including living four years in villages without running water or electricity, which gives him a unique perspective on social challenges).

Prior to joining Singularity University, Nick served as Senior Economist/Global Program Manager with the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization where he oversaw a food security project operating in over 30 countries. He is the creator of an international standard for classifying the severity of food insecurity and disasters–called the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). Nick is also involved with several start-ups, including as strategic advisor to a mobile app company called eMobilis. He has a keen interest in the crowdsourcing movement and is on the regional board of directors for crowdfunder.com. He has been a visiting professor at University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and was awarded a NASA Research Fellowship.

Originally from California, Nick has a PhD in Geography, a Master’s in International Development, a Master’s in Geographic Information Systems & Remote Sensing from Clark University, and a Bachelor’s in Genetics from U.C. Berkeley. He is an avid sea kayaker and explorer, most recently completing an 500 km expedition across Lake Victoria by kayak.

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