Students challenged by FIDC

Liz DeHeer
Liz DeHeer

The ninth annual Faith and International Development Conference (FIDC) “Cultivating Community: A Right To Belong” was held Feb. 6 to Feb. 8 at Calvin College.

Senior Marie Ross, a participant at the conference, explained why she attended.

“I’m interested in international social work and getting connected with different NGOs (non-governmental organization) and non-profit organizations,” Ross said. “It helped me give myself more direction in what I’m doing next year … it reinforced what I want to do. I want to be involved in international social work whether it means working with an international organization in the U.S. or somewhere around the world.”

Ross has a word of advice for Calvin students who might be interested in attending the conference in the future.

“I would only really recommend it if they previously had an interest,” Ross said. “I think you have to be in the right mindset to really appreciate these kind of fields. One of the reasons I really liked the conference was because I felt like I was with a lot of people who had the same passions and the same interests and are excited by the different social issues around the world.”

Senior Josiah Gorter was the master of ceremonies at the conference. He talked about how the FIDC is a unique opportunity for Calvin students.

“It is right on our campus,” Gorter said. “We have people from all these different schools from all over the country come. It was really interesting hearing about international development from a faith-based perspective. Looking at just international development [without the faith-based perspective], they’re going to focus on economic development, farming and progress, but here, we’re getting all of that with an aspect of reconciling with broken people, between rich and poor and between us and creation,” Gorter added.

Senior Scott Stensrud also attended the conference. He described the demographics as “mostly students who are really interested in the awesome work that is happening across the world for the sake of international development, reconciliation [and] poverty alleviations,” Stensrud said.

Stensrud elaborated on how students should see their roles in light of the social issues around the world.

“In addition to having your eyes open to the problems and the brokenness, have your eyes open to how you can play a role in that and learn what’s happening in the faith community and world community to address the great injustices,” Stensrud said.

Senior Rachel Broemsen, who also attended the conference, talked about how Calvin students can also make a difference with respect to social issues in Grand Rapids.

“I think [Calvin students] can make themselves open to listening to people’s stories,” Broemsen said. “It’s not about going in and thinking that you can save people. It’s about being able to learn from them and recognize that they have things to teach us too.”

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