On November 5th and 6th, MEDA held its second virtual Convention, “Rising Together”, that featured a diverse program with an engaging lineup of speakers and activities. It was well attended with participants watching from round the globe, including countries like Germany, Ukraine, Kenya, Tanzania, the Philippines, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Paraguay, United States and Canada. Over the course of the two-day event, attendees engaged in discussion around faith, business, and alleviating poverty and heard from a varied lineup of panel guests, plenary presenters, and speakers.
Pastor Dave Hataj, president and owner of Edgerton Gears and Glen Guyton, Executive Director of Mennonite Church USA, both gave inspiring presentations. Dave Hataj spoke about the connection between work and spirituality in his address, “Good Work: How Blue-Collar Business Can Change Lives, Communities, and the World.” Glen Guyton shared from Acts 26 and challenged attendees to “rise to our feet”, encouraging us to come together and create positive transformation for all.
MEDA’s Year in Review highlighted MEDA’s challenges and achievements during the past fiscal year, noting MEDA is in a strong financial position. The “Towards an Equal World” plenary featured a panel of MEDA staff discussing the changing landscape of international development and explaining the three guiding principles of MEDA’s strategic plan. Eight seminars focused on various topics, such as key business learnings during COVID-19, leadership during crises, and solving the plastic crisis. Several seminars featured project staff from Nigeria, Kenya, and Tanzania, discussing project learnings and providing updates on project work.
The pitch competition highlighted five finalists with an impressive range of innovative ideas. These topics included methane management technology, eco-friendly farming methods, how Ghanian small business can reduce poverty, and farm-to-table and food waste diversion startups. Ultimately, Lucy Cullen, the CEO of Earthpup, won the pitch competition and the $10,000 prize. She demonstrated a true innovative flair by showing how her social enterprise, EarthPup, diverts nutritious food from landfills and turns them into healthy dog treats.
The convention culminated in a keynote address by Osheta Moore, a brilliant social activist and author, who gave a thought-provoking discussion of what peacemaking looks like in an anti-racist context. She further provided attendees with a roadmap for how we can bring anti-racism and reconciliation together to become “the beloved community”.
MEDA extends its appreciation for all 2021 Convention sponsors, attendees, plenary speakers, seminar presenters and panel guests whose support made this year’s event possible.
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We’re looking forward to seeing you in person next year! So mark your calendars for MEDA Convention 2022 on November 3rd-6th, 2022 in Lancaster, PA. To keep up-to-date on MEDA news and events, sign up to MEDAzine, our monthly newsletter or the Marketplace magazine.