Food is central to our being—not only as sustenance, but also as fulfillment, enjoyment, and celebration. It is essential to our existence throughout our lives, and it serves as a symbol of religious, cultural, ethnic, familial, and individual identity.
Yet many people suffer from hunger and malnutrition and do not have enough food to meet even their most basic needs.
- Worldwide, 170 million children are hungry. In the year 2000, 3.4 million children died of hunger.
- In the United States, more than 1 in 10 households are unsure where their next meal will come from.
- In Rhode Island, over 100,000 people struggle with insufficient resources to feed themselves and their families.
Our charitable impulse in response to hunger leads over 90 percent of us to give to anti-hunger organizations—by making a monetary donation or simply by leaving a can for the local food drive. But the number of food-insecure people continues to grow, and under-funded federal food assistance programs continue to restrict eligibility and discourage participation.
This colloquium will provide an opportunity to celebrate the significance of food in our lives, to appreciate the power of its absence, to dissect the idea of food as a human right, and to ponder the paradox of hunger in a society rich with resources.
Join us to consider why, almost 60 years after its adoption, we have yet to embrace fully the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, December 10, 1948):
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age, or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
–Article 25, UDHR