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News and notes

Professor Gurgulino de Souza to Be Third Rector

The appointment of Professor Heitor Gurgulino de Souza, a national of Brazil, as the third Rector of the United Nations University was announced at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 30 March 1987. Professor Gurgulino de Souza is expected to assume his position at the University's headquarters in Tokyo on 1 September 1987.

A noted university administrator, educator, and scholar, Professor Gurgulino de Souza is President of the Planning Chamber of the Federal Council of Education of Brazil (CFE). A member of the Federal Council by presidential appointment, he has also served as its Vice-President from 1980 through 1982.

Professor Gurgulino de Souza was Director of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development of Brazil from 1975 to 1978 and then became Special Adviser to its President. From 1972 to 1974 he headed the Department of University Affairs of the Ministry of Education and Culture located in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. From 1970 to 1974 he was Rector of the Federal University of Sao Carlos, State of Sao Paulo.

Professor Gurgulino has participated in numerous international conferences, including the Conference of National Research Councils of Latin America and the Regional Conference on the Application of Science and Technology to Development organized for Unesco in 1978 and 1985, respectively. He is involved in a number of organizations active in the promotion of academic research and teaching, including the Grupo Universitario Latino Americano (Caracas), the International Association of University Presidents, the International Council for Educational Development, and the Instituto Ajijic sobre Educatión Internacional (Mexico).

Professor of Science at the Julio Mesquita Fiho State University of Sao Paulo since 1959, he is the author of a large number of publications in the fields of physics and scientific and technological applications to development, as well as in the field of national and international university education and administration.

FAO Food Policy and Nutrition Activities

Traditional Food Plants: Key to Improving Family Nutrition

The activities of FAO's Food Policy and Nutrition Division promoting traditional food plants were extended to Latin America and western Africa in 1986. In October a meeting on under-exploited Andean plants with nutritional potential was held in Chile for six countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru). In December an inter-country workshop was held at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, to draft project proposals for both francophone countries (Benin, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire) and anglophone countries (Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone).

The long-range goal of FAO activities to promote traditional food plants has been to restore their importance as dietary items in developing countries where their production and consumption have been eclipsed by new or imported food crops. During 1984 an expert group identified 125 underexploited plant species with the potential for improving the nutritional lot of sub-Saharan populations in arid and semiarid areas, either through direct consumption or indirectly as a source of income with which to purchase other foods.

During 1985-1986, the Food Policy and Nutrition Division began work on a resource book of information on various aspects of cultivation and consumption of those underexploited species. Studies of selected food crops were commissioned in five east African countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe), and an expert consultation was organized on broadening the food base with traditional food plants. Other activities were supported in this vein, with a focus on national projects, including a meeting for 11 African countries organized by the Zambian affiliate of the International Alliance of Women, training courses in Uganda and Zimbabwe, and a workshop in Madagascar. Further activity in east Africa during 1986 included national workshops in Malawi and Mauritius.

In addition to the resource book mentioned above, which is intended for use by agricultural planners and technical field officers, the Food Policy and Nutrition Division is committed to producing an information book to promote the subject among policy-makers during 1987. Work is also proceeding on a volume on Ugandan food plants for district-level planning and extension officers.

Safeguarding Sight

FAO is collaborating with WHO head agency), UNICEF, and Unesco in a 10-year action programme to control and prevent vitamin-A deficiency, which is a major cause of nutritional blindness in developing countries. The Food Policy and Nutrition Division has been designated the co-ordinating unit in FAO for this programme. All departments and their relevant offices (e.g., horticulture, food processing and preservation, among others) are involved.

Nutritional blindness is said to strike half a million infants and young children each year in the developing world. However, vitamin A, the nutrient which can prevent that syndrome, is abundantly available in nature in the form of its precursor carotene in yellow fruits and dark green vegetables. It should thus be in reach of all people at risk, even the poor. FAO strategy for equipping vulnerable communities to control vitamin-A deficiency is based on two key elements: la) consumption of locally produced vegetables, fruits, and animal products rich in vitamin A; and (b) nutrition education. The surest long-term approach is increased fruit and vegetable production and changes in family dietary practices.

The FAO action programme started in 1986 with advisory missions to Tanzania and (jointly with WHO) to Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Nepal. In each country, professionals from various sectors meet in national workshops to develop project proposals for the prevention of vitamin-A deficiency and to strengthen programme strategies. A first workshop was held at the end of 1986 in Nepal. Others are planned for Bangladesh and Tanzania in 1987. Further missions to five African countries are planned in 1987.

Fellowship Programme on African Agriculture

The Joint Committee on African Studies of the American Council of Learned Societies and the Science Research Council (USA) is sponsoring the Project on African Agriculture: Crisis and Transformation.

A major component of the project is a fellowship programme. Through support for African researchers and teams of African and non-African researchers, from both the natural and social sciences, the project seeks to promote interdisciplinary analysis of the agricultural crisis in Africa.

The first year of the fellowship programme is 1987188. The typical fellowship award will provide up to US$15,000 for support of activities during a period of three to twelve months. The application deadline is July 31 for awards during September.

For a copy of the working paper on the underlying assumptions and substantive issues and other information on the fellowship programme, write or call Martha Gephart or Thomas Painter, Social Science Research Council, 605 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10158, USA. Telephone (212) 661-0280.

Food and Nutrition for Community Health and Development

The five-month International Course in Food Science and Nutrition, held annually in Wageningen, Netherlands, will in 1988 be focused on the theme "Food and Nutrition for Community Health and Development."

The course will focus on the various sectoral approaches towards the improvement of the food and nutrition situation in developing countries. The course promotes the use of the systematic problem-solving approach, in which several relevant disciplines have to work together.

The programme is of particular relevance to these who are responsible for or involved in activities (programmes, projects, etc.) directed at the improvement of the food and nutrition situation in developing countries.

Requirements for admission:

-Academic degree (B.Sc. as a minimum), or its equivalent, in nutrition, food technology, home economics, agriculture, medicine, or a related field of study.
-Professional position with tasks related to the theme of the course and through which dissemination of the acquired knowledge is possible and can be expected.
-Some years of practical experience related to the theme of the course.
-Fluency in the English language.

Course period: 12 January-9 June 1988.
Venue: International Agricultural Centre, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Fellowships: The Netherlands Government has a number of fellowships available for this course.

The Dutch diplomatic representative can inform prospective candidates about the procedure for a fellowship application.
Language: The course will be conducted in English.
Application: For further information about the course programme and for application forms for the course, contact the Netherlands Embassy in your country or write to the course secretariat at the address below. The closing data for application for the course as well as for a fellowship of the Netherlands Government is 15 September 1987.
Address: International Courses in Food Science and Nutrition Lawickse Allee 11 6701 AN Wageningen Netherlands
Tel.: 08370-19040

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