GlobeMed at Columbia HillTop 2012: Day 1

GlobeMed at Columbia University’s Fall 2012 HillTop began today! Our chapter welcomed delegates from over 10 GlobeMed chapters to our campus for a weekend of reflection, inspiration, and learning. Today’s events included a wonderful opening keynote by David Cohen, executive director of Village Health Works. Village Health Works was founded by Deogratias (Deo) Niyizonkiza, who returned to his home country Burundi after spending time in the United States during his undergraduate and graduate years. Deo rallied the community of Kigutu to create a community health clinic in 2007, and established Village Health Works as a successful and uniquely community-driven NGO. David Cohen spoke about his own work in Burundi as well as his time with the Obama Campaign in Iowa and Nevada and the history of King Leopold II’s occupation and ownership of the Congo Free State. He tied these various lessons and experiences together to talk about grassroots organizations and mobilization in different communities. David spoke of a collaborative effort by the members of the Kigutu, who brought their passion together to solve a common problem. He showed inspiring and thought-provoking images and videos of community members collaborating to build the health and community center brick by brick, as well as before and after pictures of those who received treatment at the facility. GlobeMed members were then able to talk to him about different strategies in community engagement, as well as various sources of non-profit funding and advertising techniques. His speech highlighted the various trials and successes of Village Health Works and provided greater understanding of the mechanics of grassroots organizations.
GlobeMedders then broke into small groups, where they each discussed what defines a grassroots organization. Members were able to draw both from David Cohen’s speech as well as their personal experiences, whether they were from working with a partner grassroots organization or promoting activism in their universities’ communities. Some of the benefits of grassroots organizations highlighted by members included increased trust, easier communication, and a better understanding of community needs. As the weekend progresses, GlobeMedders will be encouraged to reflect on where GlobeMed and grassroots activism intersect, and how we can apply grassroots principles to our own communities. They will be able to speak to members of various community based organizations, as well as talk about their respective roles in GlobeMed and listen to two wonderful keynote speeches. In addition, delegates will attend an activism workshop, where they will learn how to apply their passion and beliefs to inspire meaningful change. Delegates have all this and more to look forward to tomorrow, which marks Day 2 of GlobeMed at Columbia’s HillTop!

For more information about Village Health Works, visit their website and like them on Facebook. To see David Cohen’s speech and others to follow, go to this link.



One response to “GlobeMed at Columbia HillTop 2012: Day 1

  1. Reblogged this on GlobeMed at Penn State and commented:
    A great weekend at GlobeMed at Colombia! Regional conference with other GlobeMed chapters. Check this out if you weren’t able to go and be sure to talk to those who went to hear their thoughts.

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