Teleconference to focus on world hunger

By Stacy Goldman

A World Food Day teleconference at NIU Friday will link food, health and economic development.

The teleconference on world hunger issues will be held from 11 a.m. to noon in the Heritage Room of the Holmes Student Center.

Sondra King, assistant professor for dietetics, nutrition and food systems in the human and family resources department, helped organize the event this year.

“The purpose of the World Food Day is to generate public willingness and support in each nation to consolidate private and governmental efforts in the fight against hunger,” King said.

“This is the first time that we are promoting the World Food Day to this extent.”

In addition to building world food security through local, national and international policies and programs, the conference will place special emphasis on the experiences, problems and solutions of countries in the Western Hemisphere, King said.

“The conference will be led by a distinguished international panel of experts,” she said.

This year’s panelists include James Grant, executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund and under-secretary of the United Nations; Fernando Monckeberg, director of Chile’s Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology at the University of Chile; Wynante Patterson, director of the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute and Per Pinstrup-Anderson, food economics professor at Cornell University.

King said the presentations will address a variety of issues. One of the topics included will be the way in which urbanization has changed food habits and the nutritional status of poor people, she said.

Other topics include a discussion of government programs, maintaining food production while protecting communities from agricultural chemical contamination and public funding of nutrition programs.

“This conference can hopefully bring some solutions,” King said.

World Food Day originally was observed in 1981 and currently is observed every Oct. 16 in more than 150 countries around the world.

“The day marks the founding of the UN (United Nations) Food and Agricultural Organization,” King said.