Dec 31
December 31, 2015

6 Must-Read Blogs of 2015, Recommended by Chelsea Clinton


With 2015 coming to an end, we asked Chelsea Clinton to take a look back on our blog and select 6 of the most memorable stories of the year. See what she picked and why. 

Seeds of Progress in Haiti
By Sabine Toussaint, Senior Program Manager, Clinton Foundation in Haiti

“Working with various business partners to create sustainable businesses in Haiti has been one of my greatest joys: I’ve seen and shared the beauty, and potential, of the Haitian countryside with the world.”

The Clinton Foundation team is deeply committed to their work, and I love hearing what motivates and inspires everyone to improve people’s and community’s lives today and in the future. This summer, Clinton Foundation President Donna Shalala and I travelled to Haiti to see our work in action, particularly our work empowering girls and women and supporting entrepreneurs. In this blog, Sabine, who works on our Haiti team here at the Foundation, talks about our work in Haiti, and shares her personal connection to the country. Her grandparents are from Haiti and when she was younger, she would visit them every summer. She joined the Clinton Foundation’s Haiti team the year of the devastating earthquake. We are very lucky and grateful to have Sabine on our team. 

7 Trendlines You Might Not Know About Africa
By Clinton Foundation Editorial Team

“The world belongs to the creative cooperators. The headlines are dominated by constant conflict. Underneath the headlines, the trend lines are going in our direction. You must not be discouraged by the fact that doing good is not often considered good news.” – President Bill Clinton

One thing I’ve inherited from my family is an inveterate sense of optimism and a great disdain of cynicism. I think cynics are predominately people interested in preserving the status quo – or at least not particularly interested in changing it.  I think real optimism contains a belief that we can make a positive impact and the responsibility to think through how best to do that coupled with a humility to understand what’s not worked before, what’s worked elsewhere and what partners we need to build the world we want to live in. Our world faces many challenges but it’s also filled with examples of meaningful progress, worthy hope – and optimism. I think it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate the good. That’s why this blog sharing positive trendlines about Africa is an important read.    

We Can Save Africa’s Elephants
By Frank Pope & David Daballen, Chief Operating Officer and Field Operations Officer, Save the Elephants

“The assault on elephants is complex and global and must be addressed on that basis. What Save the Elephants is trying to do, along with a coalition of 25 partners that have come together through the Clinton Global Initiative, is address the problem on three fronts: stop the killing of elephants on the ground, stop the trafficking of ivory by organized criminals and terrorist organizations, and stop the demand for ivory by shutting down the markets that are driving poaching in the first place.”

I don’t want my children to grow up in a world without elephants, both because I want them to be able to see elephants in the wild or our local zoo and because I know how important elephants are to their local environments and to the health and prosperity of their local communities. Fighting elephant poaching is about saving elephants and about saving local ecosystems and the people who protect elephants. Not only has the tragedy of elephant poaching cost the lives of more than 1,000 rangers in the past decade, it takes the lives of 32,000 elephants every year. It also supports organized crime, making this an ecological issue and a security issue at the same time. In this blog, Frank and David give an example of the important work being done by a consortium of Clinton Global Initiative members to save Africa’s elephants and, in turn, our world.  

A Vision for Unlocking Human Potential
By Donna Shalala

“At this point in my career, the last thing I needed was another job. But this isn’t just ‘another job.’  This is an organization unlike any other. We’re doing the kinds of on-the-ground, life-changing work that I whole-heartedly believe in – improving lives, transforming communities, and unlocking potential.” 

Donna Shalala is one of the most hardworking and vivacious people I know – and I was thrilled when she became president of the Clinton Foundation this year. When she takes something on, she gives her all. Donna’s lifework shows how much she cares about making a positive difference in people’s lives. In this blog, she talks about why she joined the Clinton Foundation and what the work means to her. The praise she gives belongs to all our staff, partners and supporters who have made our work possible.     

Why I’m Hopeful for a No Ceilings Generation in Afghanistan
By Shabana Basij-Rasikh, Co-Founder of SOLA—School of Leadership, Afghanistan 

“So, almost every day for the next six years, I would walk through Kabul’s streets and into a darkened living room that served as a secret school. If caught by the Taliban, the punishment could have been severe, including death. The crime? We were girls and we wanted to learn.”

My grandmother often said that “life is not about what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you.” Shabana’s story is a powerful example of this tenet. As you’ll read in Shabana’s blog, she went from secretly pursuing an education under oppressive Taliban rule to establishing the first and only boarding school for girls in Afghanistan. What she’s doing is truly remarkable. Shabana—like Malala and others—reminds us that although we’re still not there yet when it comes to the full participation of girls and women around the world, progress is being made and there are many reasons to be hopeful, particularly when we keep elevating and supporting work like Shabana’s.   

Meet the Farmer President Clinton Featured on Instagram 
By Clinton Foundation Editorial

“For Edgar Lemus, agriculture is a family tradition; a way of life passed on from generation to generation. ‘I have been dedicated to agriculture since I was young when my stepfather taught me how to work on the land. I inherited my land, and I’m going to leave it to my children as an inheritance.’ Edgar is talking about the small farm that he and his wife Irma own. Land that employs him and more than a dozen others in his community. But this wasn’t always the case. For a long time, Edgar struggled to make enough money to even pay for basic needs like food and clothing, let alone employ additional workers.”  

At the Clinton Foundation, we often say that the greatest good is helping others live their best life story. That’s the common motivating force across all of our programs. Whether we’re working to combat climate change or to help parents gain the tools needed to support the healthy development of their children, our goal is to empower individuals and families across the world. Edgar’s story is a powerful depiction of what this means in practice. With the help of the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, he went from being a subsistence farmer to being able to employ more than a dozen individuals in his community. Edgar’s story is a powerful example of what can be achieved when the focus is on empowerment.    

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