Course date

22 July - 2 August, 2002
Application deadline:
15 February, 2002
Course Director(s): 

George Kent

Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, United States of America
Course Faculty: 

Deborah Hines

World Food Program, Rome, Italy

David Clark

UNICEF, Nutrition Section, New York, United States of America

Malcolm Langford

European University Institute, San Domenico di Fiesole, Law, San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy

Joseph Mulupi

International Federation of the Red Cross, Geneva, Switzerland

The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding of the human right to adequate food and nutrition, and to develop skills in applying that understanding. The conceptualization of the human right to food and nutrition has advanced rapidly in recent years. However, as in most other human rights work, emphasis has been placed on the obligations of national governments to people living under their jurisdictions. In this course, we will give special attention to the international implications of nutrition rights, to clarify the obligations not only of nation states but also of other parties such as international agencies, transnational corporations, and international nongovernmental organizations.

The goals of this course 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 food and nutrition;
  • the meaning of the human right to food and nutrition as it has been clarified since the World Food Summit of 1996;
  • the application of the nutrition rights approach in various contexts, e.g., in specific countries, and in relation to refugees, infants, drinking water, prisons, etc.;
  • the role of pedagogy in building shared understandings about human rights. 

And, with these foundations, building skills in ...

  • analyzing concrete situations to identify violations of the human right to food and nutrition;
  • formulating proposals for policy and legislation that would operationalize the realization of the human right to food and nutrition in specific contexts;
  • preparing teaching materials to support school or university based teaching, community-based education, and political lobbying work.

Each participant will be expected to carry out a project on the ways in which a selected agency’s work might be adapted to conform more closely with human rights law and principles.

Three modules This course involves three distinct modules, involving both conventional and Internet-based distance learning.

Module One, July 1-19, 2001, on the Internet, will be used to introduce the participants to the course and to each other. Participants will use this period to get an overview of the global human rights system, and also to identify their own special interests in that field.

Module Two, July 22 – August 2, 2002, will be a two-week face-to-face course conducted at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. This part of the course will be used to review and discuss the reading materials, and also to develop skills in applying the concepts by carrying out projects. Projects may be undertaken individually or in groups. A sheet describing some possible project topics will be distributed. In this module we will meet Monday through Friday each week, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, with an hour for lunch, and shorter breaks in the mornings and afternoons. In the mornings, the class will meet together to hear and discuss presentations from the Course Director, the Resource Persons, and guests. Groups will meet to work on their projects in the afternoons, except on the last two days, when we will be together for presentations of the projects.

Module Three, August 26 – December 12, 2002, on the Internet, will be an optional opportunity to apply what has been learned in the context of a graduate course on Nutrition Rights. This is a distance-learning course offered by the Course Director, George Kent, from the University of Hawai’i. It will mix participants from the CEU course together with new participants who are getting their first introduction to the human right to food and nutrition. Those who have completed the first two modules of the CEU course may choose to engage in Module Three in either of two ways. They may participate informally, as Resource Persons, sharing the knowledge and insight that they have developed in the Budapest course. Alternatively, they may come in as formally registered participants, paying tuition (about US$540) to the University of Hawai’i for the three-unit graduate course. Those who successfully register and complete all the requirements of the distance education course would get three units of graduate credit from the University of Hawai’i on their official records.

Regardless of whether they are involved formally or informally, participants in Module Three will be expected to present the projects they developed during Modules One and Two.