September 04, 2014 14:38 ET

Human Rights Triple Header Set for 2014 MEDA Convention in Winnipeg Nov 6-9

Internationally Known Ziauddin Yousafzai, Laura Ling, Art DeFehr to Speak


WATERLOO, ON--(Marketwired - September 04, 2014) -  The Pakistani human rights activist famed for being "Malala's father" will headline Mennonite Economic Development Associates' annual convention Nov 6-9 in Winnipeg, MB.

Professional educator and advocate Ziauddin Yousafzai, father of education activist Malala Yousafzai and co-founder of the Malala Fund, will keynote a special evening at the soon-to-open Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Malala Yousafzai was nearly killed in 2012 when she was shot in the face by Taliban extremists for advocating education for girls. Yousafzai will reflect on his influence in her upbringing, which moved Malala to take the courageous acts that culminated in her shooting.

This year's convention theme, Human Dignity Through Entrepreneurship, will focus on how MEDA's work advances clients' dignity, promotes respect for aspiring entrepreneurs with meager resources, and gives families hope for a better future.

"We're excited to visit Winnipeg, which has a rich Mennonite cultural heritage and serves as a historical meeting place," says convention organizer Howard Good. "Now, with Yousafzai's address, MEDA supporters will be inspired about human rights while exploring its connections to our theme of human dignity through entrepreneurship."

That focus will continue with an address by Laura Ling, an award-winning journalist and author, who will share her life-changing story of 140 days in detainment by North Korean soldiers along the Chinese-North Korean border in 2009.

The weekend also includes plenary presentations by:

  • Winnipeg's Art DeFehr, Palliser Furniture's CEO and long-time humanitarian, who will tell how he uses his business skills to enable positive change for people around the world.
  • The founder and CEO of JMX Brands, Jim Miller, who will share how his commitment to integrity and quality in his Amish furniture business relates to authentic living and leadership.

MEDA president Allan Sauder will reflect on this past year's successes and identify new opportunities for growth at the annual general meeting. "I look forward to this weekend every year as a great way to meet new faces and see again the long-time MEDA supporters who together make our life-changing impact possible."

The new Professional Development Track is a special set of seminars aimed at providing employees with quality training surrounding multi-dimensional leadership, teamwork, branding and succession planning.

For more information about MEDA Convention 2014 or to register, call 1-800-665-7026 or go to for full details on this year's slate of speakers, seminars and tours.

About Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)
MEDA is an international economic development organization whose mission is to create business solutions to poverty. Founded in 1953 by a group of Mennonite business professionals, we partner with the poor to start or grow small and medium-sized businesses in developing regions around the world. Our expertise includes a full range of economic development tools: financial services, improved technology, business training, better access to markets and equity investment. Our work most often focuses on women, youth and the rural poor. We believe that all people deserve the opportunity to earn a livelihood and that unleashing entrepreneurship is a powerful way to alleviate poverty.

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