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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
Jane Monheit Christmas Speciali
X
December 22, 2014 8:15 PM
Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.

All About America

AppleAndroid