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Taking the leap in Tucson
When was the last time you took a leap – whether it be personally, professionally, or academically? With support from WUSA’s Enterprise, Opportunity, and Innovation Fund, I had the opportunity to explore what it means to "take the leap" by attending the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)’s Annual Convention in Tucson, Arizona at the end of October.
MEDA is headquartered here in Waterloo, but their reach is far beyond our part of the world. As an international economic development organization, MEDA touched over 800,000 people in 76 countries last year with the mission of create business solutions to poverty. These market-driven solutions must be sustainable, replicable, scalable and measurable in order to create a long-term impact. As an Environment and Business student at the University of Waterloo, the significance of this impact and the importance of MEDA’s values in development work resonated with me. To learn more about their work and celebrate their impact, I attended their 4-day convention and left energized by the possibility for students to engage with MEDA.
From seminars to keynote speakers to conversations with fellow supporters, there was little time to pause during convention. My notebook got a workout from all of the things I was learning and excited by! One highlight in particular was the programming from young professionals where I was able to meet other like-minded students and dream up ways of engaging our campuses with MEDA’s work. MEDA has a long history of engaging with youth through opportunities like their internship program for recent graduates and innovative pitch competitions at previous conventions. Over the four days, it quickly became clear to me that there is a strong need to create and mobilize a community of youth as the next generation of MEDA supporters on our campuses and in our communities. Since returning home, I have been in conversation with MEDA and other students as to what this will look like going forward.
Are you interested in "taking the leap" and eliminating poverty? Visit MEDA’s website [external link] to learn more about their work and for updates about a local event for young professionals coming in January.