Benjamin Drolet, Global Service Co-worker (LTV)
How would you describe the mission of our partner in Forum for Development, Culture, and Dialogue (FDCD)?
As FDCD says on its website, its mission is to “reach an enlightened Arab World, where political views, ethnicities and religions are incorporated into a richly diverse culture of peace and dialogue, respecting and promoting the human rights of all citizens.” It works toward this vision by working at all levels of society, engaging religious and social leaders and mobilizing grassroots action through various strategies. FDCD seeks to help communities understand how faith can be utilized in peace-building rather than weaponized in conflict. Finally, FDCD also responds to the immediate physical needs of communities in Lebanon and Syria through emergency relief and livelihood programs.
How do you fit into their mission?
I assist FDCD is designing, writing, implementing projects in both Lebanon and Syria. I also help plan events which bring together activists, intellectuals, social workers, and social leaders. I feel fortunate that I am able to use English fluency to contribute to FDCD’s mission on a daily basis.
What led you to engage in this calling?
I firmly believe that the core message of the gospel calls us to live our faith in ways that bring greater peace and understanding to our world. I am inspired by the many people of faith who challenge others to see their texts, traditions, and values as catalysts for hope. After studying International Relations, I realized that I had a passion for engaging faith in every aspect of my work, whether that be political or developmental. FDCD embodies that link between these sectors and many more and the positive role than faith can play as we seek to impact our communities.
Is there a passage of scripture that carries special meaning in your daily work?
Luke 10:27-28: He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus said. “Do this and you will live.”
What are some of the challenges facing the people of Lebanon, our partner, or yourself?
It is an ongoing challenge to convince others that dialogue is a necessity in this region, as well as Europe and the United States. Many feel that dialogue does not have the power to change perceptions of “the other.” We are constantly working to show the communities in which we work that dialogue is really the only option, and it dialogue itself does not bring peace, the connections formed within such encounters often lead to collaborative work.
What is a lesson you have learned from our partner that you feel should be shared with churches in the U.S.?
FDCD is an outstanding example of partnering with local individuals and organizations to ensure that its implementation strategy fits local needs. It always consults community leaders before designing projects so that its resources are used most effectively. I think churches in the U.S. would benefit from engaging with locals when deciding how their resources can be used to maximize impact around the world.
Which books have influenced your understanding of your country, work, or theology?
- Pity the Nation - Robert Fisk
- Jesus the Son of Man - Khalil Gibran
- The Courage to Be - Paul Tillich
- Either/Or - Soren Kierkegaard
Which films that have influenced your understanding of your country, work, or theology?
- The Insult
- Waltz with Bashir