Accompanying marginalized and recovering communities pursuing fullness of life is Laura Yoder’s personal and professional purpose. She has lived and worked alongside smallholder farmers and forest dwellers throughout Asia and Latin America, mostly in situations of conflict, disaster, chronic poverty, or political marginality. It was through this work that she came to appreciate Tearfund’s merging of education, advocacy, and practical action.
For decades Laura has used Tearfund materials with communities and as resources in university and church settings where she serves. Her scholarship and work with Christian development NGOs and environmental field programs has engaged agricultural biodiversity, land/forest authorities, and land policy formation that affects rural peoples’ livelihoods and resource access.
Laura Meitzner Yoder currently serves at Wheaton College, IL, USA, as Director and John Stott Chair of Human Needs and Global Resources (HNGR), and Professor of Environmental Studies. She works with students and others to learn from the global church how Christian communities respond to the array of critical human needs in their midst. She enjoys the frequent contact her role brings with local integral mission practitioners in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Laura pursued a Masters in International Agriculture & Rural Development (Cornell, with project work in Honduras) and a Ph.D. in Forestry & Environmental Studies (Yale, with long-term fieldwork in Indonesia and Timor-Leste). Her research and writing focus on human-environment interactions and land/forest policy that affects rural peoples’ resource access.
Based in Wheaton, Illinois, her family is actively involved with a local Mennonite congregation.