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CGI U 2021 concludes with launch of more than 400 new student Commitments to Action to address the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, systemic racism and social justice, food insecurity, and more

Leadership & Public Service | 15 Minute Read

For Immediate Release: March 26, 2021

Contact: [email protected]

CGI U 2021 concludes with launch of more than 400 new student Commitments to Action to address the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, systemic racism and social justice, food insecurity, and more

This week’s virtual meeting hosted by President Bill Clinton, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton in partnership with Howard University, focused on COVID-19 recovery, restoring faith in democracy, environmental justice, and creating systemic change, including conversations with Vice President Kamala Harris; Honorable Muriel Bowser, Mayor, District of Columbia; Stacey Abrams, Founder and Chair, Fair Fight Action; Wes Moore, CEO, Robin Hood; Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, President, Howard University; Xiye Bastida, Co-Founder, Re-Earth Initiative; Anya Dillard, Activist and Founder, The Next Gen Come Up; Catherine Coleman Flowers, Founder/Author, Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice; Amika George, Student, Activist, and Founder of FreePeriods; Eric P. Goosby, M.D., Director, Center for Global Health Delivery, Diplomacy & Economics Organization, University of California San Francisco; Natalie Hopkinson, Associate Professor, Howard University; Kyle Korver, NBA All-Star; Thabani Maphosa, Managing Director, Country Programmes, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Alanah Odoms, Executive Director, ACLU of Louisiana; Zulaikha Patel, Social Justice and Anti-Racism Activist & Writer, Charlotte Mannya Maxeke Institute; Naelyn Pike, Apache Stronghold Member; Katrina Ramos, Co-Founder, Compassion in Oakland; Khloe Thompson, founder, Khloe Kares; and more.

Watch this year’s full program at

Washington, DC – This week, President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton convened 600 student leaders from around the world for the 13th annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting in partnership with Howard University. Launched in 2007, CGI U is a leadership development program run by the Clinton Foundation to engage the next generation of leaders, and is grounded in the belief that no one is too young to make a difference and create positive change in their communities. The program connects students with global leaders and peers who help them develop Commitments to Action – new, specific, and measurable projects that address societal issues they face on campuses, in local communities, or around the world.

“Whether on campus or at home, across America or around the world, I am grateful that the CGI University Class of 2021 are all coming together to take action on some of our most urgent challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, systemic racism, and voter disenfranchisement,” said President Bill Clinton.

“It’s been incredibly powerful over the last year to see so many of our CGI University students step up and step forward to be part of solutions in our communities and across the world,” said Chelsea Clinton.

The CGI U Class of 2021 has already developed more than 400 Commitments to Action to address a wide range of issues, including:

  • A commitment by Tinotenda Michael Simemeza of the University of Zimbabwe to create a universal system that authenticates health records to combat the growing tide of medical record counterfeiting and promote global health security.
  • A commitment by I-Ting Wu of Arizona State University to develop portable, noninvasive technology to improve the speed and efficiency of medical diagnostic testing in the United States.
  • A commitment by Darlene Wilson, Hayeden DuBoise, and Mya Martinez-Metzgar of Navajo Technical University to provide clean water to the people of the Navajo Nation, providing training on how to monitor and maintain the filtration systems, test the water quality, and complete repairs through the community.
  • A commitment by DeAnte Washington of Howard University to establish a mentorship program for LGBTQ youth of color in the Howard/Shaw area of Washington D.C.
  • A commitment by Kadambari Shah of the University of Chicago to develop a women-focused financial inclusion and independence course in Maharashtra, India, using AI and digital delivery to create and disseminate information, educational content, and access to financial services to the program participants.
  • A commitment by Danielle Boyer and Shawn Ray of the University of Vermont to increase technical educational accessibility for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) youth in the United States with culturally competent educational materials designed to encourage students to participate in engineering.
  • A commitment by Charlie Hoffs of Stanford University to develop a multilingual, mobile-friendly platform to help individuals access community services in the Bay Area, California, levering existing, vetted community databases to ease access barriers for low-income and underserved individuals seeking community and low-cost social services.
  • A commitment by Raina Kadavil of Johns Hopkins University to develop a platform to aid the safe relocation of refugees in Turkey through an app that will map aid providers in healthcare, education, housing, legal aid, job assistance, women’s, and LGBTQ services through a secure platform.

This week’s program included opportunities for students to hear from leaders in government, climate change, and civic engagement, participate in virtual community service projects organized by Howard University, and collaborate and network with other students.

With a network of 10,000 alumni from more than 1,100 schools, 160 countries, and all 50 states, CGI U students have made more than 7,000 Commitments to Action.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, CGI U has continued its efforts through a wide range of virtual programming. In August 2020, CGI U announced $100,000 in grants made to student projects that address the COVID pandemic. This year, CGI U and Verizon are partnering on the 2021 Social Innovation Challenge, a program for current undergraduate students, graduate students, and CGI U alumni to develop leading-edge technology-based solutions—including those leveraging the power of 5G—to address significant societal challenges related to education, health, and climate justice. Finalists will be invited to participate in a summer program of hands-on entrepreneurial training from accelerator partner VentureWell. This new partnership with CGI U is part of Citizen Verizon, Verizon’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental, and social advancement.

CGI U and IBM are also partnering on the Call for Code University Challenge: Howard Hackathon for Environmental Justice. This challenge provides participants with opportunities to showcase their coding expertise, expand their professional portfolios, and digitally connect with a cohort of students dedicated to addressing global challenges. This year’s focus for undergraduate and graduate student designers from across academic disciplines is to develop unique digital prototypes and tools that help build more resilient communities impacted by climate change and tackle environmental injustices. Registered students will have the opportunity to have their ideas assessed by an esteemed panel of judges including Chelsea Clinton and Bob Lord, IBM Senior Vice President, Worldwide Ecosystems and Blockchain. The challenge will commence with the Call for Code: State of the University Challenge, featuring remarks from Mami Mizutori, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction as well as John Cohn, IBM Fellow, IBM AI Research. Event will be streamed starting at 7 p.m. EDT on Friday, March 26, 2021 at

Previous CGI U meetings have been held at the University of Chicago, Northeastern University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Miami, Arizona State University, Washington University in St. Louis, George Washington University, the University of California, San Diego, the University of Texas at Austin, and Tulane University. In April 2020, shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton brought together leading voices in public health, government, and philanthropy for the Foundation’s first major virtual convening focused on addressing the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. Originally slated to take place at the University of Edinburgh, the CGI U program quickly transitioned to a virtual program due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CGI U’s year-round program is made possible through the generous support of IBM, Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and Kevin Xu, with special thanks to Verizon.


About Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that comprises 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows, and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit

About the Clinton Foundation

Building on a lifetime of public service, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation on the simple belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, everyone has a responsibility to act, and we all do better when we work together. For nearly two decades, those values have energized the work of the Foundation in overcoming complex challenges and improving the lives of people across the United States and around the world.

As an operating foundation, we work on issues directly or with strategic partners from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement and service. Our programs are designed to make a real difference today while serving as proven models for tomorrow. The goal of every effort is to use available resources to get better results faster – at the lowest possible cost.

We firmly believe that when diverse groups of people bring resources together in the spirit of true cooperation, transformative ideas will emerge to drive life-changing action.

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