Professor Zaryab Iqbal joins the School of International Affairs this fall as a visiting professor from Penn State’s Department of Political Science.

Zaryab Iqbal

When Professor Zaryab Iqbal studied World War II and the Holocaust in high school, she decided to spend her life trying to prevent war and mitigate its effects on civilian populations. As a researcher, educator, author, and associate professor of political science at Penn State, she focuses her work on international conflict and security, and more specifically, the consequences of armed conflict.

She has joined the Penn State School of International Affairs as a visiting professor from Penn State’s Department of Political Science to help the next generation of global scholars learn the craft of research through a solid understanding of research design, data analysis, and statistics. Combining her substantive interests with her expertise in conducting research, she is teaching Research Design with a focus on empirical analysis and methods.

She came to teach at the School of International Affairs after observing Professor Scott Gartner’s research design class last year, in which SIA students made presentations on application of empirical models to policy-relevant questions.

“I was impressed with the students and what they were doing,” said Iqbal. “Their enthusiasm for research skills and applying them to policy issues was quite remarkable.” The students’ energy and commitment influenced her to join the SIA faculty when the opportunity presented itself.

Her class emphasizes the importance of data analysis for understanding global issues. The course requires students to choose a current global issue and employ empirical methods learned in class to analyze and study the phenomenon in which they are interested. “My goal for the course is to provide the students with tools to bridge the gap between academic research, policymaking, and the work of practitioners,” she said. “I view programs such as the one offered by the School of International Affairs as opportunities for these different worlds to interact and learn from each other.”

In addition to the students and their dedication, the school’s resources and the quality of the faculty also impressed Iqbal. “The School of International Affairs has done an excellent job of bringing together a faculty diverse in their experiences and outlooks,” she said. “SIA has brought together practitioners and scholars, thus cultivating an environment conducive to preparing students to take on global challenges.”

Iqbal focuses her research and teaching on political violence, conflict processes, and international security; specifically, she is interested in examining the consequences of armed conflict, questions related to state failure, and political assassinations. Her book, War and the Health of Nations (Stanford University Press), explores the various mechanisms through which violent conflict affects human security and the well-being of populations. Her other work has been published in a number of journals, including the Journal of Politics, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and International Studies Quarterly.