2017 Food Security


The 2017 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition was on the topic of Food Security and the world-wide effort to address UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 (end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture, by 2030).

On February 25 (February 26 in China), nearly 400 graduate students in public policy and management from around the world traveled to eight university locations (Maastricht, New York City, Washington D.C. area, Indianapolis, Bogotá, Phoenix, Seattle, and Beijing) to compete in a one-day immersive computer simulation that challenged them to advance global food security. Students from different schools were mixed onto teams of 16-20, where they bonded as members of staff of a fictional global non-governmental organization (NGO) committed to reduce global hunger in five world regions. They analyzed data, made policy proposals, reacted  the computer simulation results, drafted memos with recommendations, and presented their strategy recommendations to teams of local site judges.

Those sites judges selected winners from among the teams competing. The top winner at each of the eight sites then advanced to four distinguished “super judges” for an electronic review of videos and written material produced on the day of the competition. Super judges included Steve Cohen (Executive Director, Earth Institute), Josette Sheeran (former Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme), Anand Desai (Section Head of Evaluation and Assessment, National Science Foundation), and Mahfuz Ahmed (Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, Asian Development Bank).

David Birdsell, President of NASPAA and dean of the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College said,

“We are delighted to recognize such fine work from student teams in Bogotá and New York. Food security is one of the world’s most pressing policy concerns; the participants have not only learned a great deal about the issues involved, but have shown the capacity to deal substantively and creatively with the problems they identified, giving us every confidence that they will go on to do outstanding work in public service.”

“World leaders often don’t get a ‘do over’ when making decisions on the international stage,” said Allan C. Stam, Dean of the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and Professor of Public Policy. “Batten is investing in developing simulations for public policy education to develop global leaders who have practice collaborating with peers to make hard policy decisions in time-compressed environments. The food security field is now brightened with hundreds of scholars with new solutions to feed 790 million people affected with hunger worldwide.”

“Simulation modeling and serious games for learning are a growing trend in public policy education,” Gerard P. Learmonth, Sr., Research Professor and Director of Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming at Batten, a global leader in simulations for public policy education. “Serious games provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding of complicated world events and to experience decision-making that can affect outcomes, all in a simulated environment.”

You can find more information about the classroom-ready version of the Global Food Security Simulation at the Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming.



  • Josette Sheeran – President and CEO of Asia Society (previously served as Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme)
  • Steve Cohen – Executive Director, Earth Institute, Columbia University
  • Anand Desai – Section Head of Evaluation and Assessment, National Science Foundation
  • Mahfuz Ahmed – Technical Advisor in the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, ASIAN Development Bank


  • Erin Lentz – Assistant Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin (worked or consulted with CARE, the United Nations World Food Program and numerous other international NGOs on markets, food security and food assistance programs)
  • Samuel Richard – Executive Director at Protecting Arizona’s Family Coalition
  • Elisa Jane Bienenstock – Associate Research Professor, Arizona State University


  • Isabelle Tsakok – Experienced Economist in Agriculture and Rural Development , Adjunct Professor at SIPA
  • Anouch Missirian – Ph.D. Candidate in Sustainable Development at Columbia SIPA
  • Suzanne Lipton – Project Manager, Earth Institute Center for Environmental University, Columbia University


  • Marina Negroponte – Philanthropic Partnership Officer, Vulcan, Inc. (previously served as Government Partnership Officer with the UN World Food Programme)
  • Roy Heidelberg – Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University’s Public Administration Institute
  • Jose Manuel Magallanes – Visiting Professor, Evans School of Public Policy and Governance (expert on computational approaches to public policy analysis)


  • Anand Desai – Description under global super judges
  • Ted Lyng – Director, Global Food Security Program, U.S. Department of State
  • Rajul Pandya-Lorch —  Chief of Staff in the Director General’s Office, International Food Policy Research Institute
  • Yuko Akune – Associate Professor, Reitaku University (Japan) and Visiting Scholar, GMU’s Schar School of Policy and Government


  • Marlene Walk – Assistant Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, IUPUI
  • Adam Ward – Environmental Scientist and Assistant Professor, Indiana University in Bloomington
  • Alyssa Newerth – Director, Indy Reads Books
  • Jerome Dumortier – Assistant Professor, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, IUPUI


  • Mónica Pachón – Dean of Political Science, Government and International Relations at Universidad del Rosario
  • Diego Lucumi – Associate Professor of Public Health, School of Government, Universidad de los Andes
  • Mauricio Velasquez – Associate Professor, Universidad de los Andes (expert on rural issues such as land and land distribution)


  • Valerie Graw – Senior Researcher, University of Bonn’s Center of Remote Sensing of Land Surfaces (expert on land use, land degradation, agriculture technologies in Africa)
  • Dorcas Mbuvi – Senior Researcher, UNU – MERIT (expert on economic and human development, public policy and global governance)
  • Chase Sova – Director of Public Policy and Research, World Food Program USA


  • Yumei CHEN– Public Administration, Political Methodology, Information Technology and Politics Professor, Jinan University
  • Zhiyong LAN – Professor specializing in Sustainable Development, Tsinghua University
  • Chengyu  ZHAN – Associate Professor, School of Political Science and Public Management, China University of Political Science and Law