Essay contest winner explores ways to address global hunger

March 28, 2014
Adam Krahn, a senior at Bethany Christian Schools in Goshen, Ind., earned grand prize for his essay on global hunger in the MCC U.S. Washington Office annual essay contest. (Photo courtesy of Bethany Christian Schools)

Adam Krahn, a senior at Bethany Christian Schools in Goshen, Ind., earned grand prize for his essay on global hunger in the MCC U.S. Washington Office annual essay contest. (Photo courtesy of Bethany Christian Schools)

Adam Krahn, a senior at Bethany Christian Schools in Goshen, Ind., has earned grand prize for his essay on global hunger in the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. Washington Office annual essay contest.

In his essay entitled “Effectively easing global hunger,” Krahn analyzed the administration and effectiveness of U.S. international food aid. Krahn also described the role of nongovernmental organizations in eliminating global hunger and called for increased support of economic development and peacebuilding abroad.

Referring to the difficulty in reforming food aid in ways that benefit local economies rather than U.S. corporations, Krahn wrote, “As a nation, it seems our allegiance to capitalism trumped our better judgment. … U.S. food aid does help a large number of people avoid starvation. … But a supplementary program should be created to cover its shortfalls. … More specifically, the program would use funds raised in the U.S. to not only feed the hungry, but strengthen local economies and promote agricultural growth through local food purchases and education programs for farmers.”

Krahn’s home congregation is Yellow Creek Mennonite Church, Goshen.

In addition to the grand prize, national honorable mention prizes were awarded to Gabriel Eisenbeis of Freeman (S.D.) Academy, and Katie Hurst and Kinza Yoder, both of Bethany Christian Schools. Eisenbeis examined the topic of global hunger, Hurst focused on creating justice for the people of Haiti and Yoder wrote about addressing mass incarceration in the U.S. through the lens of restorative justice.

The essay contest highlights the perspectives of youth on significant public policy issues and promotes the involvement of young people in faithful witness to government authorities.

The annual contest is open to Anabaptist youth of high school age and to all youth who attend Mennonite high schools. Entries are judged on the participants’ understanding of the issues, clarity of argument and degree of creativity in crafting thoughtful policy positions. Grand prize is $300, and honorable mention winners each receive $100.

Building bridges in Iran

March 16, 2014

In the latest Third Way Cafe, Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach looks at some initial steps toward building bridges between Iran and others in the international community.

Read her article here and urge your Members of Congress to support a diplomatic resolution with Iran.

A bridge in Isfahan, Iran.  (MCC Photo/Cheryl Zehr Walker)

A bridge in Isfahan, Iran. (MCC Photo/Cheryl Zehr Walker)

Colombia – Release of Newest Prophetic Call Report

March 4, 2014

The Research and Advocacy program of JUSTAPAImageZ [the Christian Center for Justice, Peace, and Nonviolent Action] and CEDECOL [the Peace Commission of the Evangelical Council of Colombia] have just released the eighth edition of A Prophetic Call, an annual report that documents human rights violations against Protestant and evangelical church members, leaders and pastors in Colombia. This report brings to life and provides a record and analysis of the abuses that Colombians within the church face due to the ongoing armed conflict in the country.

This year’s report summarizing violations for 2012 includes 42 cases mostly involving displacements and threats, being conducted by neo-paramilitary and by FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] the largest guerrilla group in the country. These stories are collected by trained regional teams, and then categorized and entered into a central database, where they can be subjected to statistical analysis. The research and advocacy program that documents these stories also runs peacebuilding training for churches, spiritual accompaniment for victims, legal aid, and political advocacy.

A Prophetic Call provides a national contextual analysis of Colombia, the cases documented, as well as a quantitative analysis of the demographics of victims, their locations, the identity of the perpetrators, and the most frequent types of violations. The report shares formal statements, experiences, and peacebuilding proposals from Protestant and evangelical churches.

Finally, the report recommends a number of action points. This year’s recommendations include:

  • That the Colombian government give priority to social programs and reduce military spending
  • That the United States government continue to redirect military aid towards socio-economic aid and peace initiatives
  • That new anti-narcotics policies be adopted that reduce coercive strategies in favor of a renewed focus on addiction, demand for drugs, and arms trafficking
  • That new methods be developed for comprehensive protection that include nonviolent strategies

It is important to share these stories that are being recorded and shed light on our brothers and sisters sufferings. As the report explains, “Historical memory has been a key element in helping Christians to better understand their faith and social responsibilities as bearers of hope.”

Read the Full Report Here.

Take action for peace in Colombia and participate in the Days of Prayer and Action.

Zimbabwe Election Update

August 23, 2013

Julia Stafford writes about the recent Zimbabwean presidential election in the latest Third Way Cafe.

On July 31, the people of Zimbabwe re-elected President Robert Mugabe. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission declared that Mugabe won 61 percent of the vote. His primary opponent, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, garnered 34 percent of the vote. Although the electoral process was mostly peaceful, many people in Zimbabwe and the international community have raised questions about the legitimacy of the election results, due in part to the wide margin by which Mugabe was re-elected.

Read the entire article here.

Cheers and jeers for immigration reform

August 6, 2013

Tammy Alexander writes about immigration reform and the border security amendment in the recent Peace Signs.

We should not be in the business of choosing one neighbor over another, when all are members of the household of God.  It is wrong for one community to suffer more in order for another to receive greater justice. All should be able to live with dignity, as whole families, free from fear and able to pursue the fullness of life.

Read the entire article here.

Anti-Drug Policy vs. Colombian Farmers

July 22, 2013

Theo Sitther writes about the affects of U.S. drug policy in Colombia in the latest Third Way Cafe.

One way in which the war on drugs has played out is through massive levels of U.S. military assistance to countries where many of the drugs are produced. Colombia, for example, has received billions of dollars in military aid since the inception of Plan Colombia in 2000. Much of this money has been used to fight illegal armed groups and to destroy coca crops, which is the primary ingredient in cocaine.

Read the entire article here.

Faith and Action for Haiti’s Displaced

July 15, 2013

Danielle Crooks writes about housing issues in Haiti in the latest Third Way Cafe.

Currently, Haiti is experiencing a housing crisis and its government does not have a centralized institution to manage it. The country’s constitution requires the government to recognize the right to decent housing for those who cannot find a home for themselves. An example of a housing program is the 16-6 program, which called for the clearing of six displacement camps and the rehabilitation of sixteen neighborhoods. As part of the rehabilitation process, the government offered a $500 one-time rental subsidy for those who did not own homes.

Read the entire article here.


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