Recap of the 2011 CCU Symposium

  • Andrew Romanoff at CCU Symposium
The 2011 Compassion for the Poor Symposium, which spanned October 11th and 12th, featured leading activists, scholars, advisors, and executives who have dedicated their lives to solving the complicated issues surrounding poverty. For thirty hours, students, staff, faculty, and friends of CCU listened to these illustrious men and women who challenged all to think and act in new ways.

Robert Woodson, president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, offered methods to empower the poor through entrepreneurship -- by providing hope and then providing help. He shared stories of transformation for disadvantaged people, living in both urban and rural areas, and rallied listeners to invest, beyond handouts, in the lives of the disadvantaged.

Woodson was followed by stories from Andrew Romanoff and Mercy Ships. Romanoff works for IDE (International Development Enterprises), which provides technology to rural farmers in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, allowing them to irrigate crops and access clean drinking water. Mercy Ships travels throughout Western Africa offering men and women basic healthcare -- cataract surgery, tumor and cleft palette reconstruction, obstetric care, dental procedures, and orthopedic surgeries -- all aboard a state-of-the-art medical ship.

From here, groups broke off into workshops, learning firsthand from visionaries whose work ranged from Cambodia to a few miles away in Lakewood. These workshops, beyond the telling of transformative stories, suggested ways to get involved in these dynamic efforts.

In the evening, the community watched the important movie Waiting for Superman -- a look at the problems intrinsic to America's urban schools. It was a moving time, and one that encouraged a response to the injustice here at home.

Wednesday, October 12th saw Lawrence Reed and Paul Cleveland speak on the need for liberty in solving the problem of poverty. Reed appealed to the example of 19th century presidents in responding to this crisis, while Cleveland stressed areas where government has overstepped its role, thereby causing a loss of dignity and greater harm. Both men vocalized the need for character growth and spiritual awakening: change begins in individual hearts.

President Armstrong concluded the Symposium by calling the community to action. He delineated ten steps which he would take as a result of this time -- beginning with prayer. This led the way for Joe Walters to lead the gathering in communion. It was a fitting way to end the 2011 Symposium, with an affectionate remembrance of He who rescued us all.

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