Re: On-line Nutrition Rights Course (Fall 2001)

Dear members,

Please find below an updated description of the distance learning course on 
nutrition rights that I will be teaching this fall.


George Kent

Nutrition Rights
Political Science 675c, Fall 2001
(Course Reference Number 39401)

Professor George Kent
Cell: (808) 389-9422




The purpose of POLS 675c Topics in Public Policy: Nutrition Rights is
to study the working of human rights systems through close
examination of the human right to food and nutrition.

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 and
nutrition, in particular, is being clarified under an initiative led
by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Many
agencies at both national and global levels are recognizing the right
and working to assure its realization. This course examines the
meaning and the application of the human right to adequate food and

Participants should gain an understanding of recent developments in
nutrition rights, and also develop skill in applying the nutrition
rights approach 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 food and
     *  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.

   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.



This is an on-line course, using the Yahoo! Groups software. After
the instructor receives your email address and tells that
you are to be admitted, you will be able to access the web site (or
"home page") for the course, at   As a participant in this
course, you will need to check the website and/or your email every
few days. You will want to create a  shortcut for this URL (Universal
Resource Locator) on your computer desktop. If you are likely to be
participating in the course from several different computers, you
could put the shortcut onto a diskette.

The core text for the course is Nutrition Rights: The Human Right to
Adequate Food and Nutrition, prepared by the instructor.  It may be
accessed at:
Participants in this course are advised to print out this text,
section by section, and assemble it in an appropriate binder. The
last two sections, Sources and Bibliography, provide leads to many
publications and websites that offer useful information on human
rights and related issues. The most important single website on human
rights is that of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights, at

This course is based on the premise that we learn best by becoming
actively engaged through discussion of the issues that are being
studied. These discussions are intended to help participants explore
the course materials and any relevant issues of interest. Active
engagement by all will help us to create an active virtual community
of learners. Thus, participants in the class will be randomly divided
into small discussion groups. They are expected to discuss the
materials during every week of the course, and to report back on
those discussions. They may take place through email exchanges,
through Chats using the chat function on the course website, by
telephone, or through face-to-face meetings, depending on what is
convenient to the group members.

The reading sequence alternates between chapters on more conceptual
issues, in Chapters I through IX of the Nutrition Rights text, and
the Applications, in Chapter X. The purpose of this alternation is to
develop a steady counterpoint between theory and practice. Several
cases studies are introduced.

This course begins on August 27, 2001 and ends on December 17, 2001.
A schedule for the course is provided separately.



Participants' major responsibilities in this course are to:

   *  Keep up with the readings, as scheduled,
   *  Participate actively in discussions, and
   *  Submit assignments, as scheduled.

The assignments and their due dates are summarized on the course

For  Assignment 1. Autobiography, you are asked to upload a brief
autobiography on the course website. The purpose here is twofold:
first, to share information about your background and interests with
the rest of the class, and second,  to make sure you know how to
upload your assignments. Your autobiography should include
information such as your schooling, your current employment and/or
activities, where you are living currently, etc. Please be sure to
indicate the email address you will use throughout this course. If
you are  willing to share your telephone number, please provide that
as well. Two or three pages would be sufficient.

Assignments 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9 are your Commentaries on the
current readings and the discussions associated with them. They may
also include comments and questions you may have about the readings,
your term project, and other concerns you may have. Your reviews of
the discussions  should not only report on what was discussed, but
also offer your reflections  on the issues. These reports will
probably run about three pages each.

Assignment 8 is your Draft Term Project, and Assignment 10 is the
Final Term Project. This  project is to be a research-based study on
the application of the the human  rights approach to improving the
food and nutrition situation in some particular context. The task is
to formulate suggestions for improved policy or law with regard to
the human right to food and nutrition. Participants may choose to
focus on a particular country, program, or agency. Some might choose
to expand on one of the themes addressed in Chapter X of the text.
Some might want  to focus on a special situation, such as the right
to drinking water in Botswana, or the ways in which nutrition rights
could be effectively recognized and  realized in a selected  refugee
camp. Some participants might want to  look at prospects for
strengthening nutrition rights in their own communities  (e.g.,
Hawai'i), or in a specific nutrition-related program such as,
say, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants,
and Children  (commonly known as WIC) in the United States. In
general, participants are  advised to focus on situations they know
or can readily learn about.

All of these assignments must be uploaded to the designated folder on
the course website. All submissions must include:

   *  An informative title
   *  Your name
   *  Assignment identification
   *  Date
   *  Footnotes citing sources of specific information, where
   *  Bibliography, where appropriate
   *  Page numbers (if more than 2 pages long)

Also, all submissions should be spell checked.



The ten assignments are all of equal weight.  Each assignment  will
be graded on a ten point scale.

All assignments must be submitted by the dates on which they are due.
Work that is late, by up to one week maximum, will have the grade
reduced by ten percent of the maximum possible grade. Work that is
more than one week late will not be accepted, except by prior
arrangement with the instructor.



Full-time students at the University of Hawai'i at Mânoa may
register through Pa'e, following their usual registration

Individuals who are not registered as full-time students at the
University of Hawai'i at Mânoa can register for this course
through the university's Outreach College, through its website at  The tuition and registration fee for
students who register through Outreach College add up to $519 for
both Hawai'i residents and non-residents.

Additional information about this course may be obtained from
Professor Kent at

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