What was the best part of convention?
“Sharing our stories and seeing God’s work through his people in so many ways.”
“The presentations were stellar.”
“Variety of seminars! So hard to choose one!”
“Being with like-minded people all focused on the same goal of supporting MEDA and business solutions to poverty.”
Reflections on convention
Members and friends of Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), gathered in Vancouver, BC, Canada Nov 2-5 for MEDA’s annual convention. Business as a Calling 2017: Building Bridges to Enduring Livelihoods was our focus, and we were pleased to gather and again hear some very important talks on current issues and learn more about what MEDA is doing in the marketplace.
Thursday night opened with past staff member Wally Kroeker speaking about his years at MEDA as director of publications. Wally was the editor of MEDA’s magazine, The Marketplace, serving MEDA for 32 years. A dynamic speaker, Wally brings theological insight to his speeches and writings, particularly about faith in the marketplace, as we minister in our workplace, jobs and vocations. You can listen to his presentation, Girders of Faith: Hope that Lasts, online.
Friday’s lunch panel topic, Building Bridges to New Lives for Refugees, featured three professionals speaking about their refugee experiences. Refugees predate modern history. Wherever there has been upheaval—political, economic, social or environmental—families in need have emerged from those trying times.
Many seek freedom to live in peace according to their practices; many seek new opportunities; some flee dark memories that can haunt them for years. To watch this powerful discussion between a successful “displaced person” and service providers, and to learn about Peace by Chocolate, click on this link.
Saturday morning is when members gather to attend the annual general meeting. MEDA finished a strong year as their positive impact continues to grow. MEDA touched 91 million families in 60 countries through its work with 322 partners. Learn more here.
90%! - A Saturday plenary presentation by Samantha Nutt, humanitarian and co-founder of War Child Canada and War Child USA was particularly well received by convention attendees, with 90% agreeing it was inspiring and memorable.
Going into my eighth year of serving on the MEDA Board of Directors has afforded me an incredible insight. Helping people living in poverty is a daunting project. MEDA’s work with Global Affairs Canada by facilitating matching funds yields project success.
MEDA has embarked on a large, five-year campaign to raise $50 million USD to support our mission of creating business solutions to poverty. This will allow MEDA to continue to leverage donor funds with investments from governments and foundations for lasting impact.
More often institutions are requiring sponsoring agencies to “self-invest” along with the award in order to achieve project goals. MEDA will continue to adapt to the marketplace in order to fulfill its 60+ year vision…that all people may experience God’s love and unleash their potential to earn a livelihood, provide for families and enrich their communities.
To learn more about MEDA visit www.meda.org
As a parting thought, here’s one more survey comment that sums it all up:
“We are witnessing the early ripples of what promises to become a wave of change that will usher in an era of business and economics that prioritizes the wellbeing of people, communities and the planet. … MEDA is at the forefront of this coming wave… its recipes for good in frontier markets and the community-minded examples being demonstrated by its business constituency at home modelling the way for others. Powerful. Inspiring. Motivating. Humbled and privileged to witness and be part of this collective shalom-building endeavor.”
Mark your calendars now for next year’s convention:
Business as a Calling 2018: Roads to Enduring Livelihoods
Nov 8-11, 2018
At the JW Marriott