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A spirit that is not afraid

Honors College Discusses Hunger

The Honors College Spring Convocation, held Monday evening, cited a biblical parable for its event titled "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat: Bringing Relief and Enabling Self Reliance in Developing Countries."

Emma Clark, native of Auburn, is studying at New York University to become a certified women's health nurse practitioner. She has worked and studied extensively in Africa and has spent the past year working with International Medical Corps in Iraq.

"Everything is a cycle, and you have to figure out how to get in there at some point and break the cycle," Clark said.

Douglas Coutts is a distinguished visiting professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at Auburn University. He is on assignment from the United Nations World Food Programme. Coutts said the top five contributors to world hunger are poverty, natural disasters, economic mismanagement, conflict and civil strife.

The World Food Programme addresses the issue of hunger with four distinct programs: maternal/child health, food for education, HIV/AIDS food intervention and economic independence training.

Coutts placed particular emphasis on the "food for education" program, which provides meals at school as an incentive for parents to educate their children. He said education is a way to break the vicious cycle of poverty.

Her work in the past has involved ensuring adequate health care for both newborns and their mothers.

Clark cited various measures that are being taken to improve maternal and newborn health, such as supplying clean razors for the severing of umbilical cords and providing warmth for the new child.

When asked how their perspectives have changed as a result of the work they have done, Clark said studying abroad and working in an orphanage and a mobile health clinic help shape a more global mind-set. Coutts said his line of work has helped him realize "we are all part of the solution." Coutts mentioned the Committee of 19, a student organization focusing on combating world hunger.

The committee organizes such events as the Hunger March, a walk from campus to Montgomery to raise awareness about hunger. This year's march is March 27-29.

Paul Harris, associate director of the Auburn University Honors College, said he hoped the convocation would "encourage those who attended to get involved."

"The issue of world hunger can often seem hopeless, but there are many things we can do collectively and individually to help solve the problem," said John "Hank" Brock, senior in political science and member of the Honors College.

Brock said he discovered the convocation through the Auburn Web site.

"If you're discouraged in my line of work," Coutts said, "then you don't get out of bed in the morning."

His field, Coutts said, requires a kind of relentless optimism, the kind of attitude that produces change.

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