Annual Conference Coverage Print {sharethis label=}
For Amy Hewitt of International Aid in Spring Lake, Mich., this year’s CCIH Annual Conference was an opportunity to network and learn, but it was also spiritually rewarding, helping her stay connected to other Christians working in global health. “Networking with people actively working in international health is what I find most valuable at the CCIH conference,” said Hewitt. “I open myself to the direction of the Spirit and am always amazed by the people I meet and the enduring connections.” Although this was only her second CCIH conference, according to Hewitt, it has quickly become one of the best conferences she attends. “It lifts my spirits, is informative, has relevant topics and keeps me connected,” she said.
This year’s conference was held June 7-10 at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, USA. It attracted attendees from 16 nations across the globe. One of those international registrants was Viateur Kalinda of the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda’s Remera Rukoma Hospital in Kamonyi. “What I found most valuable was listening to the experiences of the speakers and talking with attendees from other faith-based organizations who have similar experiences as my organization,” said Kalinda. 
The theme of the conference was Gender, Health and Development: A Christian Perspective, and many of the sessions focused on the potential of the faith community to address the problem of gender-based violence and other factors harming the health of women, girls and entire families. In the opening plenary, a panel of speakers from the U.S. government shared how their organizations address gender and health issues and interact with faith-based organizations. 
Daniela Ligiero, senior advisor for gender, Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, U.S. Department of State, discussed the importance of the faith community in addressing gender issues in her organization. “It is refreshing to have you focus on gender because there is such an important role for the faith community to play. The faith community has helped to de-stigmatize HIV/AIDS in a way no other group can,” said Ligiero. “There is still so much silence surrounding gender-based and sexual violence and the next horizon is learning from what we’ve accomplished with the faith-based community and HIV/AIDS and translating that to gender-based violence.”
A number of concurrent sessions throughout the conference also addressed Christian responses to gender-based violence. 
Above photos: Students and young professionals at the CCIH Conference; Daniela Ligiero, Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator; and John Donnelly, communications advisor to the World Bank President discussing methods of lifting up the stories of those working in global health. 
Last Updated ( Monday, 22 July 2013 12:55 )