Partnership: United in Service and Action

Nearly 500 students from some 20 Christian colleges and universities attended the three day Faith and International Development Conference at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI. The theme was “Partnership: United in Service.”Students were there to learn more about development issues, including the role of advocacy, and how their faith impacts their efforts. By the end of the weekend, those in attendance not only grasped the many development issues in the Global South but were able to act as advocates for progress in the fight against global poverty and treatable, preventable disease.

Featured Plenary speakers included Abikök Riak from World Vision as well as Katherine Marshall from the Berkley Center at Georgetown University and the World Faiths Development Dialogue – both stressing the importance of partnerships between the NGO and faith communities In the afternoon I’ll be leading a couple breakout sessions on Advocacy as ONE and the opportunities ahead of us in 2009-2010 to act effectively in the fight against global poverty and disease.

The weekend was also about collaboration among many organizations working together to end global poverty –World Vision, Bread for the World, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, World Hope International and Food for the Hungry are all here. Students from Indiana Wesleyan, Hope College, Calvin College, King’s University, Michigan State University, and many others were able to interact with the organizations throughout the weekend in forums, breakout sessions, and at a Fair Trade Fair.

As the soundtrack to the conference, we were also treated to some great music acts. K’Naan, brought his mix of hip-hop, rock, and world beats coupled with his lyrics on growing up in Mogadishu, Somalia and The Psalters displayed their diverse sound and socially conscious message.

Check out Isaac Fuchs, Calvin student and co-director of the 2009 conference sharing his thoughts on the work of ONE and partnership for development.


-Adam Phillips