Professor H Hits the Road

H is for Hunger: Meet Professor H. 

His students at Auburn University might know him better by his real name, Professor Douglas Coutts. A former World Food Programme Country Director, he used his incredible field experience to shape an innovative hunger studies program at Auburn and now inspires his students in the classroom. 


Professor H believes that educating students about global hunger is an incredible opportunity to engage future advocates, which is why he’s hitting the road this fall to get university students involved in the fight against global hunger. You can keep tabs on the adventures of Professor H – and hear the stories of all the inspirational students he meets along the way – on the WFP Students Facebook and Twitter pages.


WFP Students recently sat down with Professor H to learn more about him and discuss the critical role students can play in combating global hunger. Here's what he had to say.


How many years have you been teaching at Auburn University?

Three years


Recent WFP posts:

Country Director Bangladesh, Nepal and North Korea


What are three things you learned about global hunger from working in the field?

  1. School feeding programmes are one of the most important things we can do
  2. The importance of nutrition for mothers and babies
  3. The importance of good nutrition and access to critical vitamins and minerals early on in a child's life, even prior to our school feeding programme.

School feeding and maternal health programmes really grabbed me and made me realize I was doing the right kind of work.


How does your experience with WFP help you as a professor?

I can share stories from the field and give a point of view from the ground, and my students really react to this real world application of what they're learning.


Why are students important in the fight against hunger?

Students bring a fresh awareness and interest to the issue. These students sitting in our classes are the future leaders leaders of our country. They'll be making key choices and decisions in the future. There's an ooportunity fur us to help them understand what this is all about.


Why should students care about global hunger?

This is their world and we all live in it together. With global connectivity, we're all so much more interconntected then ever before - what happens to people abroad happens to the rest of use too. 1/6 of the world's population is hungry and can't accordingly make a real contribution - to the arts, to science, to business. We have to address global hunger first before we can make real progress on so many other issues.


What advice would you give students who are passionate about global hunger?

Typically, everyone thinks global hunger is someone else's problem so it's great that they're passionate abou tit. I would say take time to understand how hunger fits into your chosen profession. You don't need to be a hunger expert. We need students from all fields on board - from nursing to engineering. This is an interdisciplinary problem and it needs multidisciplinary solutions.