Plenary Session

Opening Plenary Session

The opening plenary session will frame the agenda for the three days to follow. World leaders will identify critical areas for action and collaboration across a multitude of sectors, ranging from education and the environment and energy to global health and economic empowerment.

Keynote Lunches

Economic Empowerment

Poverty persists as a transcendent challenge, but sound policy combined with human ingenuity offers solutions that can be brought to scale. This session will feature presentations on important issues within the area of Economic Empowerment.



Quality education is the most important tool for all people to pave themselves a path to a better future. This session will feature presentations on important issues within the area of Education.


Environment and Energy

As the Earth's temperature rises, so does the will to find climate solutions. This session will feature presentations on important issues within the area of the Environment and Energy.


Global Health

Investment in health not only alleviates suffering, but increases human capital and helps avoid inter-generational transmission of poverty. This session will feature presentations on important issues within the area of Global Health.

Plenary Session

Empowering Girls and Women

Empowering girls and women is both smart policy and smart business. When given opportunities to learn and work, women can drive economic growth and development. For example, women are likely to reinvest significantly more of their income into their families than men do. In some countries, an increase of just 1 percent in girls’ education can boost GDP growth rates by 0.2 percent. Businesses, governments, and development organizations that fail to invest in women are missing out on important ways to improve productivity, develop new markets, and address global challenges. This plenary session will explore new ways to empower girls and women, such as incorporating more women-owned businesses into global supply chains. Panelists will also discuss strategies for enabling girls and women to access education, high-quality health care, and viable economic opportunities.

Girls and Women Breakout Sessions

Access: The Key to Women's Economic Empowerment

When women are economically empowered, they earn income that they invest in the health and education of their families. They start businesses, employing not only themselves but others. They save money that can smooth family consumption and provide for emergencies. For many low-income women, the challenge is accessing fundamental tools—assets, property rights, technology, and information—that can help them start down the road to economic independence. This panel will examine the latest strategies in enabling women to serve as their own economic agents by expanding access to these four critical areas.


Preparing Girls for the World

In many parts of the world, adolescent girls are the most vulnerable demographic group. They are more likely than boys to be forced out of school, face alarming risk of sexual violence and exposure to HIV/AIDS, and often are pressed into early marriage. Moreover, cultural practices highly constrain adolescent girls' mobility and relationships, making it hard to reach them with important messages and support. This panel will explore culturally sensitive approaches to preparing girls for the world, including effective strategies for increasing schooling, delaying marriage, promoting savings and entrepreneurship, encouraging the adoption of new technologies, and improving health awareness.


Securing the Health and Safety of Girls and Women

If girls and women are unsafe and unhealthy, families suffer, communities are poorer, and cycles of poverty are perpetuated. Yet there is a gender-based health crisis in many parts of the world today. Women account for 75 percent of new HIV cases among 15-45 year olds in sub-Saharan Africa; sexual violence is an epidemic worldwide; and hundreds of thousands of women die in childbirth each year. Panelists will discuss new innovations in improving women's health, reducing their vulnerability to HIV and violence, and engaging new players to enhance the well-being of girls and women.

Special Session

Special Session: Peace and Beyond in the Middle East

Drawing on re-invigorated leadership in the Middle East and internationally, hope is re-emerging among parties on all sides that a just and comprehensive peace can be agreed, bringing an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Assuming the peace process continues to advance, this session will examine the contours and realities of a peaceful Middle East. What would the region look like? What would be the needs of the Israeli, Palestinian, and neighboring communities? Would they have access to education and economic opportunity? What are the steps that can be taken today by CGI members, notably the private sector, to help address those needs and prepare for, and uplift, a peaceful Middle East?


Special Session: Profiting from the Poor? A Discussion on Microfinance IPOs

Microfinance now brings over 150 million people access to financial services. What was once led by the nonprofit sector is increasingly linked to mainstream financial markets offering investors a range of ways to participate – through debt, equity, and other specialized instruments. This link has led many to question: are microfinance institutions (MFIs) and wealthy investors profiting from the poor? There is continued controversy over the level at which interest rates become exploitative; and now, with the public offering of a third MFI—SKS Microfinance—the question arises over appropriate means to raise microfinance capital. This session will provide a forum for a candid discussion on the topic.