News / USA

Clinton Global Initiative Seeks Creative Solutions for World's Problems

President Bill Clinton addresses the audience at the opening of his Clinton Global Initiative at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, 17 April 2010
President Bill Clinton addresses the audience at the opening of his Clinton Global Initiative at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, 17 April 2010

Former President Bill Clinton opened the Clinton Global Initiative meeting at the University of Miami, Friday. The initiative, begun in 2007, aims to encourage students and universities to come up with innovative solutions to solve global problems.

In order to attend CGI U a student must make a "Commitment to Action" detailing steps they will take to resolve a global issue. Mr. Clinton described this year's series of commitments as "the best yet."

According to CGI, over 1,700 committments have been made during its annual meetings. They are valued at over $57 billion and have had a positive impact on over 220 million people living in 170 countries.

About 1,500 people including university students, NGOs and university presidents from the U.S. and abroad are attending this year's three-day conference. In addition music, film and sports celebrities will participate in workshops and meetings focused on issues such as education, climate change, the environment, human rights, poverty alleviation and global health.  This year's meeting will put special emphasis on earthquake-stricken Haiti.

"I want to say a special word of thanks for the university's response to Haiti with which I have been very much involved," Clinton said.

During Friday's opening session, which sought to ignite the "social imagination," President Clinton spoke about his work as special U.N. envoy for Haiti.

"The whole idea is to create global networks of people who are committed to doing good as private citizens. You really have the power to change the world," President Clinton told the audience. "It's becoming increasingly clear that you don't have to be personally wealthy to do it. In the recent response in the United States alone to the earthquake in Haiti, more than half of American households made a contribution."  

Clinton said many donations were made through the Internet and via text messaging. He hosts a private luncheon Saturday for the university presidents in attendance - among them six Haitian university presidents.

Gerard Dorcely, president of the Universite de Port-au-Prince in Haiti
Gerard Dorcely, president of the Universite de Port-au-Prince in Haiti

Gerard Dorcely, president of the Universite de Port-au-Prince says his school was completely devastated by the January 12 earthquake. He hopes the conference will provide new ideas on how he might rebuild and inspire young people to continue their studies.

"I don't know what the outcome will be," Dorcely said. "I think we need to re-think our university because when the January 12 catastrophe struck, we didn't have any response. A university should serve as a guide during a crisis."

The opening session Friday evening, featured a panel of two university students whose commitments during previous Global Initiatives resulted in projects that are helping to provide micro-loans to Palestinians entrepreneurs in Israel,  and build "green" cars that significantly reduce the carbon footprint. R&B artist Usher, who was scheduled to participate but was unable to do so, was replaced by Hip-Hop artist Pharell. He spoke about his "Kidults" program encouraging young people to get an education and stay out of jail. He also talked about his clothing line which uses recycled plastic to make fabric. The fourth panel member was U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin.

University of Miami President Donna Shalala, who served as secretary of health and human services during the Clinton administration, said she hopes attendees will be inspired by ideas presented at CGI U and share them with young people in their communities.

"We are delighted to host the Clinton Global University on our campus," she said. "This is no ordinary time and you are not ordinary young people. Over the next three days, you will be thinkers who are doers. President Clinton is a world class thinker and a world-class doer."

Anne Marie Warmenhoven, left and Camille Kremer started 'Rasin Lavil Bay Lavi' an urban sustainable garden project in Cape Haitian, northern Haiti
Anne Marie Warmenhoven, left and Camille Kremer started 'Rasin Lavil Bay Lavi' an urban sustainable garden project in Cape Haitian, northern Haiti

Among the "doers" Shalala spoke about, were Anne Marie Warmenhoven of Florida International University and Camille Kremer of the University of Miami. Together, they started an urban sustainable garden movement in Haiti called "Rasin Lavil Bay Lavi" (Urban Roots Give Life) in connection with SOIL. President Clinton called them to the stage and lauded their work in Haiti.

"It's a tremendous honor," Kremer said.

"I think President Clinton has done a lot for the country of Haiti and I think he has a real committment to Haiti," added Warmenhoven. "So I think that his support is something that will help us move from idea to action, which is one of the themes of this conference."

In keeping with that spirit, hip-hop artist Pharell energized the audience with a call to action.

"Let's stop talking about it, let's just do it," Pharell said.

The audience responded with cheers.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid