Photo credit: Barbara Kinney / Clinton Global Initiative
Monday
Nov 24
2014
November 24, 2014

Top 7 Moments from the Last 7 CGI University Meetings

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"Today’s generation of young people holds more power than any generation before it to make a positive impact on the world." — President Bill Clinton

The young leaders who have taken part in CGI University (CGI U) since the first meeting in 2007 continue to demonstrate their ambition not only to make a positive impact on the world, but also to take action—designing and implementing plans for carrying out their work.

President Clinton founded CGI U to challenge college students and universities to address global problems with practical, innovative solutions and to engage the next generation of leaders. Since its inception, CGI U has convened students from over 875 schools, 145 countries, and all 50 states. These plans for addressing pressing challenges on campuses, in local communities, and around the world are known as CGI U Commitments to Action. To date, more than 6,500 students have made 4,800 commitments in the following issue areas: Education, Environment and Climate Change, Poverty Alleviation, Peace and Human Rights, and Public Health.

As we approach the upcoming eighth annual CGI U meeting—taking place from March 6-8, 2015 at the University of Miami—we would like to celebrate some of the most memorable moments from the past seven CGI U meetings.

1) CGI U 2008 - TULANE UNIVERSITY
CGI U Attendees Join President Clinton and Brad Pitt for the Groundbreaking of Pitt’s ‘Make It Right’ Construction Project

At the inaugural meeting of CGI U at Tulane University in New Orleans, 600 students from around the world joined President Clinton and Brad Pitt to formally break ground on Pitt’s ‘Make it Right’ project, which will construct 150 sustainable and affordable homes in the Lower 9th Ward.

2) CGI U 2009 - THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
A Soccer Ball That Lights the World

Jessica Matthews and Julia Silverman were both students at Harvard Business School when they made their CGI U Commitment to Action to create the Soccket ball. This innovative soccer ball harnesses energy from play and stores it for later use, promoting both physical activity and providing a source of electricity for those living in developing nations. Matthews continued to engage with future generations of CGI U students, speaking on the Opening Plenary Session panel at CGI U 2011.

3) CGI U 2010 - UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI
A Closing Conversation on “Moving Forward in Haiti”

Just three months after the large-scale earthquake hit Haiti, CGI U invited NPR’s Michele Norris to host a conversation with President Clinton on the recovery and reconstruction efforts underway in Haiti, and how students and the university community could get involved.

The Clinton Foundation has been active in economic development programs in Haiti since 2009 and led recovery efforts following the 2010 earthquake.

4) CGI U 2011 - UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO
A Closing Conversation with President Clinton and Sean Penn

At the Closing Plenary Session, President Clinton, Sean Penn, and Kennedy Odede explored how CGI U attendees can channel their ambition into meaningful results. Odede shared insights from his experience of founding a school for girls in his hometown of Kibera, Kenya.

5) CGI U 2012 - GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
Jon Stewart Interviews President Clinton

Jon Stewart, host and executive producer of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," interviewed President Clinton in a Closing Conversation to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing the next generation including poverty in America, youth employment, youth incarceration rates, and gay rights.

6) CGI U 2013 - WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY AT ST. LOUIS
Students Share Their Commitments with Stephen Colbert at the CGI U Exchange Fair

Stephen Colbert visited CGI U’s Exchange Fair to learn more about students’ commitments and their objectives, ranging from empowering smallholder farmers in Colombia, to harnessing low-cost, off-grid technology from the atmospheric air, to reducing traumatic brain injury for student athletes. He characterized the fair as a “science fair for noble causes.”

7) CGI U 2014 - ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
Chelsea Clinton Moderates “Coming in Second: Scaling What Works”

Chelsea Clinton raised the question “if measurable impact is the ultimate goal, should students focus less on starting up and more on scaling up?” She brought together entrepreneurs, NGO leaders, and private sector representatives to discuss the challenges, costs, and benefits of scaling up successful solutions.