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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid