Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Michael Messenger: '90 Alum


Plans to return to Gordon for Homecoming this year (20th reunion is not until 2010 but some of his closest friends were in the class of 1989).

Featured in “The Society Record,” the law society in Nova Scotia where he speaks about his decision to leave law practice and return to World Vision.

Volume 26, No. 2, April 2008, www.nsbs.org

Lawyers don’t often talk about love, at least not professionally. Justice, of course, but not love. So I chuckled when I found myself proofing the 2007 annual report for World Vision, where I now work as vice president for public affairs. The theme of the report is “What does love look like?,” referring to St. Augustine’s quote that poses that question and then answers: “It has hands to help others. It has feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of humankind. That is what love looks like.” A chance to use my legal skills in pursuit of this idea of “love” is the reason I left the daily practice of law and took the leap from being a volunteer to joining the staff of an international relief, development and advocacy organization.

When I attended law school, I had worked for five years in Toronto and Geneva for World Vision, focusing on government relations and public policy related to international development. I had a passion for social justice, but I realized that without a deeper understanding of the workings of the policy-making that I would be less effective in influencing laws and practices that could affect the children, families, and communities we partnered with in the developing world. My decision to study law did let me look at policy from the inside, but it also unexpectedly unearthed a love for legal argument and the excitement of trial advocacy.

So, instead of returning to the non-profit sector, my family and I moved to Halifax, where I spent nearly nine years as a litigator as part of the firm of Cox & Palmer. I was fortunate to work with talented colleagues and enjoyed varied work from a range of clients. I also found satisfaction from volunteering. I tried to contribute to the profession as president of the Nova Scotia Medical Legal Society, by volunteering at the bar skills course, and by mentoring younger students and clerks. My community outside the law was also important, and I sang with the Symphony Nova Scotia Chorus and was a lay leader in various roles at St. Paul’s Church. What was common among all of these areas of involvement was that I always learned and received so much more than I ever contributed. Volunteer work was not a distraction; I felt it made me a better lawyer and a better person.

My passion for working for international issues was reignited when I was invited to join the board of directors of World Vision in 2003. I soon found that my heart had never really left this work with children overcoming the grip of poverty. Soon after I joined the board, my wife and I had a chance to see World Vision’s work firsthand in a trip to Rwanda and Uganda. While I’d visited many of the organization’s international programs as a former staff person, this was the first time I’d visited since I had become a lawyer, a husband and a father. What I saw moved me. While seeing the terrible ravages of HIV and AIDS on African families and talking to orphans and other vulnerable children, I was struck by the injustice of poverty and oppression, and began to wonder how best I could stay involved.

In 2005, I was honoured to act as lead counsel to the Nunn Commission of Inquiry. While working with Justice D. Merlin Nunn, I had the chance to step outside the day-to-day work of civil litigation and re-engage directly with issues of public policy. It was a powerful and eye-opening experience in its own way. I soon began to consider whether there was another path for me that might bring my legal background and passion for social justice closer together.

And so, when I was invited to consider applying for a management role at World Vision, I knew I needed to explore the option seriously. Today, I am trying to use my legal skills not to focus on resolving disputes, but in the pursuit of justice of another kind. And not just justice, but love, as St. Augustine thought it looked like. Love that has hands and feet to bring relief and hope to those in need; eyes and ears to see and speak out against the symptoms and causes of child poverty around the world.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Jessica Hulsey- Kristin working on this (possible STPT story?)

From: Jessica Hulsey [mailto:jessica.hulsey@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, June 26, 2009 8:21 AM
To: Nancy Mering
Subject: Re: Tim's good suggestion

Hello Nancy,

Thanks for your email and the possibility of a story about us living in this region.
Trey and I live in Bethlehem working in Humanitarian Aid which includes community development, peace and justice work and relief work. Josh and Julie Korn live here (alumni but grew up here) and Josh works in reconciliation work between Pal. and Israeli's. Lastly, there is a couple who left a year ago that taught in a school in Bethlehem and could possibly add another dimension to the story. Doug Priorie and his wife Mandy were teachers at the Jerusalem School here in Bethlehem for 2 years and have some great experiences to share, also. Just wanted to throw that out there.

Trey and Jessica Hulsey work for a small humanitarian aid organization called Mennonite Central Committee. They currently live in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Our organization works in 3 specific areas, here. Peace and Justice, Community Development and Relief Work.
MCC supports a wide variety of Palestinian and Israeli peace-building initiatives. These include conflict resolution among Palestinians, education among Israelis on injustices to Palestinians and dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis. MCC supports agricultural research and development in the Bethlehem area with funds from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and supports the improvement of wells and water pipes in the area of Qalqilyah and Tulkarem.

We have been her for 2 years and have 1 more year to go.

We have a bunch of interesting org. we work with here. We as an org. don't come in and start doing our own work that we think is important. We join alongside the locals here (both Pal and Israeli) who are already doing good work. We support them both financially and with our time.

Some org. that might spark some interest:
YMCA Women's Training Program: Educational Training Program for women who get micro-finance loans through the YMCA to start a small business
Zochrot:: Israeli org. that works to help their own people understand what is happening to the Palestinian people
Palestinian Center for Peace and Democracy:

Also, Josh Korn and Julie Kopp Korn. They both graduated from Gordon. Josh works for an org. called Musalaha.

Musalaha is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians as demonstrated in the life and teaching of Jesus. They endeavor to be an encouragement and advocate of reconciliation, first among Palestinian and Israeli believers and then beyond to our respective communities. Musalaha also aims at facilitating bridge building among different segments of Israeli and Palestinian societies according to biblical reconciliation principles.

Depending on the angle of a possible story, I think this could be an interesting article for Stillpoint. I would be happy to connect with Josh Korn if this seems like a viable possibility.

Possibly there could be a story about alumni living on different sides of the wall...us in Bethlehem and Josh and Julie in Jerusalem.

Sarah Hines '01

My name is Kelley Meck. I'm coordinating a press strategy for PharmaSecure, Inc., a multinational Dartmouth start-up company aiming to stop counterfeit medicines in the developing world. PharmaSecure looks forward to announcing a major milestone in our brief corporate history in the next days or weeks and, anticipating that you may want to profile our acting CEO and co-founder Sarah Hine, who is a young Stillpoint alumnus. Below you'll find more details about the milestone we expect to be announcing.

PharmaSecure, Inc. To Conclude Tie-Up w/ Pharma Giant
Within the coming weeks, PharmaSecure, Inc. and a top-5 Indian pharmaceutical manufacturer will close an agreement for a pilot project to label over six lakh (600,000) packages with a PharmaSecure coding system to allow chemists and consumers in India to authenticate the products with a text message or SMS. If successful, the project will provide the basis for the company to employ the authentication system on their entire product line, accounting for approximately 4% of the $8 billion Indian pharmaceutical market. It's a major milestone in PharmaSecure's brief history and we believe it represents an important step towards stopping counterfeits in India.

I would like to ensure you have the level of information and access you require to meet your publication needs, so if there is interest in this story, let me know what sort of story you would consider writing--

With regards,

Kelley Meck


Kelley Meck
Project Manager
PharmaSecure, Inc.
INDIA: New Delhi, India
+91 97177 55633
USA: 16 Cavendish Court