Serve Well Blog

7.29.15

A Decade Later: Avoiding Cynicism

The Krista Foundation | Krista Foundation Press, Developing Nations, Integrating Service As A Way Of Life

 

Stephen Allen, 2005 Krista Colleague

A service year in Cairo, Egypt working with international students led Stephen Allen '05 to a career with humanitarian aid agencies. A decade later, he coordinates UNICEF's activities in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan. Humanitarian work has its dark side, with cynicism and despair close at hand, especially when administrative demands mean little time with Syrians. "It's easy to come to [the refugee] camp, spend a few hours huddled with other humanitarians over cups of strong coffee talking...and then climb back in our SUVs and drive away," he says. 

 

Stephen's antidote: the ethic of service he gained from the Krista Foundation. Instead of working on refugee issues, Stephen seeks to work with refugees to resolve issues: "Spending time with those you are serving and respecting them enough to listen, argue, disagree, and work together. And you can still do it over a strong cup of coffee."