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CGI Annual Meeting Tuesday Highlights

Leadership & Public Service | 10 Minute Read

Today at CGI, programming focused on public health and emergency response, access to higher education and opportunity for girls, and ecofriendly tourism – among other things. To re-watch major sessions, go to

Commitment announcements included a new coalition of more than 30 corporate and nonprofit partners working to address significant gender gaps and advance the gender quality targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, a program to provide pathways to social entrepreneurship for young leaders, and an initiative to support cities committed to driving change in the field of mental health.

The morning started with a breakout session that discussed how sports programs can be a valuable tool for development, education, health, and the integration of youth and vulnerable populations. The session was moderated by Ben Osborne (Editor-in-Chief, Bleacher Report) and featured panelists Jason Collins (Goodwill Ambassador and Retired Player, NBA), Lex Gillette (Track & Field, Team USA), Becca Meyers (Swimmer, Team USA), Ibtihaj Muhammad (Fencer, Team USA), and Casey Wasserman (Chairman & CEO, Wasserman; Chairman, LA2024). Watch the session here.

  • Casey Wasserman said: This is not just about the NBA. This is about access for kids, in all types of sports with all types of abilities, to have success and opportunity.”

Access to Education and Opportunities for Girls and Women Worldwide: The first plenary session of the day opened with remarks by Zainab Salbi (Founder, Women for Women International) and Richard Adkerson, who looked back at the legacy of CGI’s impact. Chelsea Clinton announced a series of commitments facilitated by No Ceilings, that aim to address significant gender gaps and advance the gender equality targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Watch the session here.

  • Chelsea Clinton said: “This coalition demonstrates that a broad range of partners from the private sector to the grassroots community to the UN offers us a powerful opportunity to accelerate opportunities for girls and women worldwide. No Ceilings data show us that achieving gender equality doesn’t only change the lives and opportunities for girls and women, it changes the world. When girls and women participate fully, societies, nations, and our global community are all more secure.”
  • Learn more about how the commitment came together in a blog by Rachel Tulchin from No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project here

The second part of the discussion focused on increasing secondary education for girls, investing in female health and well-being worldwide, and creating gender-friendly environments with Sonita Alizadeh (Artist and Activist, The Strongheart Group), Memory Banda (Girl Leader and Advisory Board Member, Rise Up), Kazuo Hirai (Representative Corporate Executive Officer, President and CEO, Sony Corporation), Cecile Richards (President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund), and Katja Iversen (President and CEO, Women Deliver).

  • Zainab Salbi said: “I have been a proud member of CGI since 2005. I have witnessed its unique, practical, and measurable contributions in the world, the opportunities it created for marginalized voices to be heard, and how it helped push social issues otherwise ignored to the limelight.”
  • Cecile Richards said: There is a lot of enthusiasm for investing in girls and investing in girls’ education. But we cannot invest in education unless we also invest in girls’ access to information on contraception and rights.”

Healthy Cities & Inclusive Communities: The afternoon plenary was split into two topic-based sections. The first part looked at how cities can be designed for health and prosperity, with a presentation by Shin-pei Tsay (Executive Director, Gehl Institute) on the XYZ, followed by a discussion between John Chambers (Executive Chairman, Cisco), Sir Andrew Witty (CEO, GSK), and Clara Doe Mvogo (Mayor, City of Monrovia, Liberia), which was moderated by CNBC’s Becky Quick and filmed for broadcast. The second part featured a conversation moderated by President Bill Clinton with Balkan leaders Camil Durakovik (Mayor, Municipality of Srebrenica) and Aleksandar Vucic (Prime Minister, Serbia) on how they are reconciling their differences and nurturing more inclusive communities two decades after the Dayton Accords. Watch the session here.

  • Andrew Witty said: “It’s not just about how to innovate, but how to innovate and develop a business model which produces global access to that idea.”

Pitching Scalable Solutions: The day concluded with the “Hult Prize Award Dinner,” where President Bill Clinton joined a panel of judges as business school finalists pitched their solutions to address global challenges related to crowded urban spaces, and compete for $1 million in start-up capital. Muhammad Yunus (Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Chairman, Yunus Social Business Global Initiatives) provided opening remarks, and the panel of judges consisted of Mohammad Ashour (Co-founder and CEO, Aspire Food Group), Akinwumi Adesina (President, African Development Bank Group), John Chambers (Executive Chairman, Cisco), Bob Collymore (CEO, Safaricom Limited), Brian Fetherstonhaugh (Chairman and CEO, OgilvyOne Worldwide), Kathleen Rogers (President, Earth Day Network), and Premal Shah (President and Co-founder, Kiva).

A piece in Wired by Issie Lapowsky titled  “Unlike Trump Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative Has Data to Prove Its Worth” reported on both the important impact of CGI and the Clinton Foundation, and the detailed statistics and measurements of impact – as she writes, “And boy, did Bill bring the receipts.”

“[President Clinton] did spend the first few minutes of his opening address at the Initiative, rattling off a stunning list of statistics about the Clinton Global Initiative’s impact. 3,600: That’s how many public commitments the Initiative’s attendees have made on stage over the last 12 years. 435 million: That’s how many people those commitments have helped. 52 million: That’s how many children have received access to education as a result of those commitments. 114 million: That’s how many people can drink clean water because of the Initiative. The list goes on.

President Clinton discussed CGI’s impact and the Foundation’s policy changes in an interview with CNBC’s Becky Quick. See video clips here and here.

In an interview with Amanda Marcotte at Salon – “The real Clinton Foundation: Joe Conason is out to tell the true story behind Bill Clinton’s career in philanthropy” – Joe Conason described President Clinton and CGI’s approach to philanthropy:

“Through his work for the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and other activities, former president Clinton has devoted himself to fighting against poverty and for greater access to education, nutrition and health care around the world.”

A Fortune piece by Laura Cohn –Exclusive: Airbnb, P&G, and Unilever Are Partnering With the Clinton Foundation to Invest Over $70m in Women” – covered the announcement that through a CGI commitment, more than 20 partners, led by the Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings initiative, are addressing the gaps in women’s economic progress:

“Fortune‘s exclusive look at the effort shows that CGI anticipates it to impact the lives of more than 900,000 people in 60 countries around the world over the next five years.”

A Devex article by Catherine Cheney – “With CGI coming to a close, what’s next for the Haiti Action Network?” – covered a CGI session on the Haiti Action Network and the Commitments to Action that have impacted the live of more than a million Haitians:

“At the Haiti session yesterday, CGI members broke down how their commitments have positively impacted the lives of 1.4 million people, through areas like improved access to health services, training and education programs, and empowerment initiatives for girls and women.”

“Dominic Macsorley, the CEO of Concern Worldwide, echoed that commitment. ‘The network introduced us to new ways of working and new ways of thinking,’ demonstrating how the CGI model — which brings together individuals and organizations to catalyze action — will continue to influence the work of its members, he said.”

A Chronicle of Philanthropy piece by Megan O’Neil titled “Clinton Global Initiative Winds Down on a Note of Optimism” highlights the impact that CGI has had on reimagining philanthropy:

“The central message of the work has been that everyone, whether a corporate CEO, a nonprofit leader, or an individual philanthropist, has a role to play in advancing the public good, nonprofit leaders said.”

CGI member Ari Johnson authored an op-ed in the Huffington Post titled, “What’s at Stake When the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting Ends,” that connects CGI and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In the piece, he states: “It should be recognized that CGI’s approach to social impact—which emphasizes partnering across sectors to make tangible commitments—is one of the keys to achieving the SDGs.”

Rachel Tulchin from No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project authored a blog, “Partnering for Girls, Women, and the Global Goals,” on the creation of nearly 25 new commitments that addresses significant gender gaps across women’s economic participation, violence against girls and women, and women’s leadership. She says:

“As we look to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we must all make a serious commitment to invest in girls and women. We believe that accomplishing the gender-related goals and targets of the SDGs will be the tipping point; only then will we see progress across all the SDG goals and ensure no ceilings for all.”

Gregory Milne, the Clinton Foundation’s Chief Metrics and Impact Officer, authored a blog on Medium titled “Increasing Economic Opportunity in Haiti, One Lime at a Time,” which highlights the partnerships that are fundamental to the Foundation’s impact. He says:

“When the Clinton Foundation was launched, we forged a new path in philanthropy by creating unlikely partnerships between private and public sector actors with the sole purpose of solving some of the world’s most challenging problems — from increasing crop yields in Africa to drastically reducing the cost of AIDS drugs worldwide.”

Tomorrow, the third and final day of the Annual Meeting, will celebrate the legacy of turning ideas into action and the continued dedication of CGI members to addressing shared global challenges. Announcements will include a commitment to reduce the amount of waste the hospitality industry sends to landfills, a new community-based social impact program to create access to the healing benefits of yoga in at-risk and underserved communities, an initiative to engage men in the global peace and security agenda, and a partnership expand access to oxygen for women and children in Ethiopia. The commitments will come from a range of organizations including Hilton, lululemon, Promundo, the Gates Foundation, Libraries without Borders, and Thread International.

The most up-to-date agenda can be found here: