Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Verba has taught and researched political issues related to functioning democracy for over fifty years, with a focus on citizen participation and engagement in civic and political life. A main concern is the equality of voice among all citizens. He considers his publications in this field to be both contributions to social science as well as works relevant to a significant set of public issues that deserve greater attention. Verba has also been involved in various activities aimed at benefiting needy individuals or groups. One set of activities was related to his role as Director of the Harvard Library for 24 years. Under his leadership, the Harvard Library supported many other libraries less well-endowed with books and other materials, as when the Harvard Library coordinated with other research libraries to replenish the collections of the Bosnian National Library after it was badly damaged during the siege of Sarajevo. In a different area, Verba has in recent years been active in the Human Rights field as Chair of the Committee on Human Rights of the National Academy of Sciences which works to protect scientists, engineers, and medical professionals from wrongful treatment for their views and activities.