During the fall semester, International Food Security at Illinois (IFSI) cooperated with the Division of Nutritional Sciences to offer a semester-long lecture series on the “Right to Food, Food Assistance, and the Biological Consequences of Malnutrition.”
This series grounded a discussion of a right to food and programs to ensure that right is realized in the latest discoveries about the physical effects of food inadequacy. The series served as a graduate seminar (DNS 500) and was also open to the campus community at large. To increase the reach of the series towards those interested in food security, several of the presentations were summarized or recorded, as indicated below.
The dynamic and diverse line-up of speakers included:
- Dr. Batamaka Somé, an anthropologist and an alumnus of the University of Illinois, who spoke about providing sustainable access to food through agricultural development programs that represent indirect forms of food assistance. Read a recap of Dr. Somé’s lecture.
- Lisa Moon, president and CEO of the Global FoodBanking Network in Chicago, spoke about the role of food rescue in advancing food security. She made several suggestions towards reducing food waste for greater food security. Read a recap of Moon’s lecture.
- Dr. Dan Maxwell, the Henry J. Leir Professor in Food Security Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, spoke about why famine is recurring in the 21st century, a time of declining global hunger. He said if we recognize conflict as the common factor in famine events, we can do some things differently to alleviate famine. Read a recap of Maxwell’s presentation here.
- The United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Hilal Elver spoke on governmental duties with regard to food emergencies and a right to food around the world. Read a recap and view Elver’s presentation here.
- Dr. Laura Murray-Kolb, associate professor at Penn State University spoke about neuropsychological consequences of iron deficiency.Her talk drew from her experience on the MAL-ED cohort study assessing infant and child development and caregiving mediators in 8 low- and middle-income countries.
- Dr. Janina Galler, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and The Chester M. Pierce MD Division of Global Psychiatry, spoke about the intergenerational effects of famine in the Caribbean.
- Dr. Thomas Thymann from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark spoke of his work using the pig as a model to study pathological changes during malnutrition and refeeding.
- Dr. Brent Kreider, professor of economics from Iowa State University discussed statistical methods to isolate effects of various food assistance programs.
A successful seminar series
“Partnership between the Division of Nutritional Sciences and International Food Security at Illinois had many benefits. We believe we reached a wider audience with the series than would have been the case if either unit had acted independently of the other. Moreover, by pooling the knowledge and interests represented by organizers from both units, we were able to construct a series that covered a range of issues in depth and allowed for meaningful transdisciplinary and food systems consideration of responses to food deprivation around the world,” said Alex Winter-Nelson, director of the Office of International Programs and IFSI.