ONLINE COURSE: The Human Right to Food

HREA.org publishes this new online course on The Human Right to Food. Course director: George Kent, Minimum number of participants: 5. This description of the spring 2007 TPU course on the Human Right to Food is available online.

Over the last half-century human rights advocates have emphasized civil and political rights, but work on economic and social rights is now progressing rapidly. The human right to adequate food has been clarified under initiatives led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and others. Many agencies at both national and global levels are recognizing the right and are working to assure its realization.

This course is designed to support those who would like to teach about the right to food. The teaching that is contemplated may be formal or informal, with people living in poor communities, elementary school students, university courses, government officials, nongovernmental policy advocates, or other kinds of groups. Participants are asked to design their own specific teaching plans. These plans may be based on on-site face-to-face teaching, on-line teaching using the Internet, or a mixture of the two.

The core text will be George Kent, Freedom from Want: The Human Right to Adequate Food, published by Georgetown University Press. It can be purchased from the publisher or through book dealers such as Amazon.com All other reading materials will be available on-line at no cost. We will use recently developed teaching materials from the Right to Food Unit of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The entire course will be conducted in close coordination with that unit.

Participants in this course should gain an understanding of recent developments relating to the human right to adequate food, and also develop skill in applying it in specific contexts. Goals include learning about the nature of rights systems generally; the content and character of the international human rights system, in the framework of international law; the historical foundations of the human right to adequate food; the meaning of the human right to adequate food as it has been clarified since the World Food Summit of 1996; the application of the human right to adequate food in various contexts, e.g., in specific countries, and in relation to refugees, infants, drinking water, prisons, etc. With these foundations, participants should become capable of working with others to enhance our shared understanding of the meaning and uses of the right to food. This work should also build skills in formulating proposals for policy and legislation to assure realization of the human right to adequate food in specific contexts.

This will be an on-line course, using the Yahoo! Groups software. We will also use Skype to conduct online chats. All participants must have regular access to the Internet, including both email and the Worldwide Web. Written assignments are to be prepared with the Microsoft word processing program.

The course director, George Kent, is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawai’i. His approach centers on finding remedies for social problems, especially finding ways to strengthen the weak in the face of the strong. He works on human rights, international relations, peace, development, and environmental issues, with a special focus on nutrition and children.

The course will run from March 19 to June 19, 2007. It will be offered on-line through TRANSCEND Peace University. For participants from developed countries, the cost for taking this course will be 300 Euros, and for those from developing countries, the cost will be 150 Euros. TPU and its registration procedures is available.

The course will be divided into three phases: fundamentals of the right to food, tools for teaching and learning about the right to food, and sharing our teaching ideas and plans. Each of the twelve weeks of the course will focus on a particular theme. There will assigned readings for each week. In most weeks, there will be written assignments, to be submitted by the end of the day on Fridays. There will also be weekly one-hour chats on Saturdays.

Our activities will be based on the following tentative schedule. Further details will be provided to participants before the class begins.

(See also Learning Centre).

CALENDAR of the course (weeks 1 to 12): (full text).

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