Posts Tagged ‘Clinton Global Initiative’

Strap Yourself In, Change is Coming: Clinton Global Initiative

This is the week of the annual Clinton Global Initiative meetings in New York. This series of plenaries and breakout sessions is attended by the most forward-thinking innovators from countries around the world. Leaders of business, politics, charities, and nations gather in a mind expanding brainstorming session to address the biggest issues of our world. It is not just an intellectual exercise—action is taken. Money is pledged by the millions of dollars, new foundations are born, solutions are teased out of the wildest imaginative places, and problems are truly solved. It is the most vibrant, alive, inspiring several days you can imagine…to a power of ten. I attended as press a couple of years ago and was launched out of those hotel meeting rooms like a rocket. Every attendee gets fired up in ways and to a magnitude you cannot imagine. Seeing the meetings and speeches simulcast will not include the truly tangible excitement of being there and wrestling with huge issues, but you can get a flavor here. This year there is a particular focus on joblessness and underemployment around the world, but that is folded in with global hunger, warfare, gender discrimination, education, health, safety, war & peace, access, communication, aging, slavery, and more. There is no politicking thought he presidents and prime ministers of many nations will attend. There is no liberal conservative republican democrat crap gumming up the works…it is leaders and energizers from all sides of any issue or dispute, coming together to solve global issues. Nobody is more dedicated to opposition than they are to humanity–wouldn’t that be a refreshing change of pace if our American politicians could function that way, on our behalf?

Drop in on the website, grab a nugget of fire for your belly, and take it out to spark your best ideas into life. Be a part of cracking issues wide open.

Clinton Global Initiative Commitments

Five years ago, the first Clinton Global Initiative meetings brought together world leaders, CEOs, heads of the non-profit world, and philanthropists to think big and come up with solutions to the world’s biggest problems. Together each year, people and organizations come together to form new short- and long-term commitments to tackle the big stuff. In five years, the gathering has gathered more than 125 current and former heads of state, 15 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 1,900 commitments valued at $63 billion, which have already improved the lives of nearly 300 million people in more than 170 countries. The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship,, an online portal where anybody can make a Commitment to Action, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young leaders from business, government, and civil society.

In the first two days of sessions this year, the following astounding commitments have been made. This was the most inspiring few days I could imagine last year, as everyone knuckles down and puts their heads together to dream big and then find real world ways to make those dreams a reality.


ACS Energy Advisors, in partnership with WorldWater & Solar Technologies, will donate solar-powered water purification machines—which also serve as energy-efficient generators—to provide clean drinking water in Pakistan.

Over the next five years, Al Jisr will partner with businesses in Morocco to provide much-needed services, technology, and resources to students, parents, and teachers in 1,000 Moroccan schools.

The American Society for Muslim Advancement is teaming its Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality with the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organization to increase awareness of women’s rights in Afghanistan and train Imams and mosque communities.

Aspen Global Health and Development commits to launch the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health, chaired by former president of Ireland, Mary Robinson,  and its Call for Resolve Campaign in order to achieve universal access to reproductive health within five years. Continue reading

A Big Week for the Global Community

It’s a big week–United Nations General Assembly, Clinton Global Initiative, and dozens of ancillary events taking advantage of the gift and opportunity of having most of the world’s leaders together in New York City…together with devotion to solving the world’s problems and moving the GLOBAL community forward.

It is Monday morning…so much to do.


Ben Stiller is a smartass. We knew that–it’s why we love him. He is able to send up serious situations that bring levity while still being respectful (though not necessarily exhibiting outer respect). We see it in films and TV appearances, and I saw it when he hosted the final evening of last year’s Clinton Global Initiative. Sometimes we can’t believe we are laughing in light of such seriousness, being in the presence of majesty (literal and figurative) and victories over suffering and the face of so much suffering still to be vanquished–and there’s Ben, goofing on it all and on us. Well, he’s at it again–blessedly. He has launched a new foundation, STILLERSTRONG, and uses as a catch phrase “Stealing Great Ideas from Other Charities to Build Schools in Haiti.”

Stiller actually started his work before the January quake, inspired by a visit to Haiti in 2009. He has already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to build schools in the country, in partnership with Architecture for Humanity, Causecast, and the Global Philanthropy Group.

“Our goal is to help kids get back in school as quickly as possible,” said Stiller. “Schools are a safe haven for kids in times of crisis, and are instrumental in delivering not only education but also healthcare, nutrition and other critical services.”

I hope I’ll see Ben when I’m there building schools in August. Flashing a little Blue Steel. We are not on the same project, but have the same dream and goal for helping heal Haiti.

Clinton Global Initiative-Day 2


Lordy I love Diane Sawyer—she is just so damn smart and so unpretentious. She lets you in on everything without making you feel stupid—no small feat at this event where we swim in statistics and stories of hardship (and eventual stories of victory and success)

This morning’s plenary session of the Clinton Global Initiative is “Investing in Girls and Women.” Bill Clinton looks better rested today as he sets the context: Every problem in the world today is exacerbated by gender inequality. Women perform 66% of the world’s work, they produce 50% of the world’s food supply (in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia it is 60%-80% of the food supplied by women), but they only earn 10% of the income and own only 1% of the world’s property. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 59% of HIV/AIDS cases are women, almost none of them contracting it through their own high-risk behaviors, but contracting it from non-monogamous partners as well as a huge number of women and girls who are sexually molested/raped. 75% of the Sub-Saharan youth HIV/AIDS patients are women and children—infected by sexual molestation. Continue reading

Clinton Global Initiative


Last night, Tuesday, was the opening plenary session and welcome for the Clinton Global Initiative fifth annual meeting. There were a thousand members of the press wedged into the basement of the New York Sheraton hotel, and a thousand special guests upstairs in the Metropolitan Ballroom…and at least a thousand more security and secret service.

After metal detectors and security wands and pat downs, I was finally admitted to the bowels of the building. The technology is impressive with several Wi-Fi channels and the conference even has it’s own closed messaging system, so Barbra Streisand can tell Brad Pitt his haircut looks great and it’ll stay between them.

The CGI is an annual gathering of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and charitable orgs, business leaders, and world leaders (the rooms are lousy with presidents and prime ministers) who gather to make specific commitments to projects to better the world. This was the birthplace, in past years, of projects like Matt Damon’s water program (, expanding this year to Haiti), the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative, and so many more. In the five years since beginning there have been 1,400 commitments made (participants are required to make commitments to existing projects or commit to creating new projects), valued at $46 billion dollars, and impacting the lives of 200 million people in 150 countries. This year’s meeting will give birth to 30 more of these programs.

Continue reading