International Health, Human Rights and Peace-​Building

Course Number
5100 (Social and Behavioural Health Science)
Course Instructor(s)
Akwatu Khenti, Catherine G. Chalin, Julia Lee

Course Description

  • This course will seek to examine issues related to international health, human rights and peace building. It will analyze international health in a social, cultural, economic and political context. The course will examine the structural forces influencing international power relationships, especially those relationships which impact on gender and health, with specific emphasis on how the dynamics influence everyday lives in developing countries. Section A will look at health and human rights in the context of the global political economy. Section B will be a series of student presentations focusing on specific issues in international health, human rights and peace building. Section C will review Canada’s role and contribution to international health, human rights and peace building. The course will develop links between theory and practice and will look at case histories and examples of non-government (NGO) and government-initiated interventions for public health, human rights and peacebuilding.
  • Rationale for Course:Many of the factors which influence health happen outside the health sector. Many graduate students in the Department of Public Health Sciences do not have a background in areas which impact on population health (e.g., human rights, peace building, economics) and often are limited in the analytic tools they can use to understand population health. While it is traditionally held that population health is influenced by economics, peace and security, education, gender and other factors. Recent literature suggests that the relationship between health, economics, peace, security, education and other determinants of health is equally powerful in both directions (i.e., there is no prosperity in an unhealthy nation; there is no wealth, no health, where human rights are abused).
  • The course will consist of lectures, guest speakers, audiovisual presentations, case studies and seminar discussions.  Students will take leadership roles in identifying issues of relevance to their particular areas of interest and by presenting these issues to the class.

Course Objectives

  • The learning objectives of this course are for students to:
  • 1. broaden their understanding of the social structures which impact on health in developing countries;
  • 2. become familiar with key policy documents on international health, human rights, peace building and development;
  • 3. examine in detail specific issues related to health, human rights and peace building;
  • 4. explore the human capacity for resistance to oppression and human rights abuses, especially through examples of community-based and grassroots organization.

General Requirements

  • None