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Press Release: President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton Conclude Sixth Annual Clinton Global Initiative University

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President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton Conclude Sixth Annual Clinton Global Initiative University with More Than 630 New Student Commitments to Action

Commitments to address global challenges such as education, environment and climate change, poverty alleviation, peace and human rights, and public health

A special CGI-U themed episode of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” will air Monday, April 8th  

ST. LOUIS – President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton concluded Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) 2013, dedicated to empowering the next generation of leaders to solve the world’s most pressing global challenges.  More than 1,000 students, from more than 300 colleges and universities, all 50 states, and over 75 countries joined  innovators, thought leaders, and civically engaged celebrities at Washington University in St. Louis to address issues in areas such as education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.

At this year’s meeting, students made more than 630 Commitments to Action: specific, measurable plans to address pressing challenges facing campuses and communities around the world, bringing the total number to more than 4,500 Commitments since the CGI U was first held in 2008.

“I am completely inspired and optimistic by the more than 1,000 students who came to CGI U this year and made remarkable commitments to tackle more than 600 challenges, targeting issues on their campus, in their communities and in our global community. I am also invigorated by the fact that every year, we have more students coming who make even more commitments to action to change our world,” said Chelsea Clinton.

Throughout the meeting, students and leaders from business, government, and civil society explored topics such as social entrepreneurship, human trafficking, prescription drug abuse among young people, and increasing participation in STEM education.

On Friday, President Clinton moderated Getting off the Ground: Stories of Starting Up, on the challenges of launching new businesses, organizations, and products. The panel discussion featured Kenneth Cole, chairman and CEO of Kenneth Cole Productions; Jack Dorsey, founder and CEO of Square Inc.; and William Kamkwamba, inventor and writer, Moving Windmills, and student at Dartmouth College, who shared advice and stories for aspiring social entrepreneurs.

Today, Chelsea Clinton moderated A Better Future for Girls and Women: Empowering the Next Generation, which explored tangible ways for young people to build a better social and economic outlook for girls and women around the world. Featured participants included Shabana Basij-Rasikh, Managing Director, School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA); Hawa Abdi Diblawe, Founder, The Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation; Stephen J. Felice, President and Chief Commercial Officer, Dell, Inc.; and Muhammad Yunus, Chairman, Yunus Centre.

In a lunch panel called Solutions without Borders: Working with Unlikely Allies, editor of The Daily Yonder and author of “The Big Short” Bill Bishop led a discussion on how cooperation, civility and trust are crucial to solving any challenge facing the world today. Featured participants included Will Allen, Founder and CEO, Growing Power; Claire McCaskill, U.S. Senator for Missouri, United States Senate; and Sara Minkara, President and Founder, Empowerment Through Integration.

CGI U 2013 closed with Stephen Colbert, host and executive producer of “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central, by interviewing President Clinton for a special CGI U-themed episode of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” to air on Monday April 8. President Clinton and Stephen Colbert also participated in a lively Q&A session with students.

Students also participated in smaller working sessions and skill sessions. Working session topics ranged from engaging women in water solutions, to poverty and economic opportunity in America’s Rust Belt, to internet access as a human right. CGI U students also participated in skill sessions which provided them with opportunities to learn from experts in the field on how to enhance the effectiveness of their CGI U commitment.

At yesterday’s closing plenary, President Bill Clinton revealed the winner of the CGI U 2013 Commitments Challenge, a competition of ideas from college and university students in the form of a bracket. Voting began on March 25 received more than 507,000 votes from around the world for their favorite Commitment to Action. Arizona State University (ASU) student Davier Rodriguez won with his student-led certification program at ASU that provides students and faculty with the knowledge and tools they need to effectively support the university’s undocumented students. Glenda Alfaro, of Mount Hood Community College, narrowly lost in the championship round of voting with her commitment that will promote agricultural development in a rural community in El Salvador by teaching small farmers how to make and use compost.   

Participants at CGI U 2013 included Will Allen, chief executive officer, Growing Power; Shabana Basij-Rasikh, managing director, School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA); Bill Bishop, editor of The Daily Yonder and author of “The Big Short”; Michael Botticelli, deputy director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; Edward Breslin, chief executive officer, Water for People; Lora Brown, physician, the Pain Truth: Wake Up!; Gemma Bulos, director, Global Women’s Water Initiative; Clara Chow, president and chief executive officer, Generation Enterprise; Chelsea Clinton, board member, Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation; Stephen Colbert, host and executive producer of “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central; Kenneth Cole, chairman and CEO of Kenneth Cole Productions; Bita Correa, coordinator, PSA Program, FUNDAEC; David Deluca, head of campaigns,; Hawa Abdi Diblawe, founder, the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation; Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO, Square, Inc.; co-founder and executive chairman, Twitter, Inc.; Myles Estey, senior editor, Makeshift Magazine; Karen Freeman-Wilson, mayor of the City of Gary, Indiana; Eden Full, founder, Roseicollis Technologies, Inc.; Tyler Gage, chief executive officer, Runa LLC; Kumar Garg, senior advisor, White House Office of Science and Technology; Wendy Hanamura, chief project development officer, KCETLINK; Aaron Hurst, president and founder, Taproot Foundation; Emily Jacobi, co-founder and executive director, Digital Democracy; Jeremy Johnson, president of undergraduate programs, 2U; William Kamkwamba, inventor and writer, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope”; Sarah Kendzior, writer, Al Jazeera English; Brij Kothari, founder and president, PlanetRead; Sally Madsen, design lead, IDEO; Michael Mazgaonkar, co-founder, Mozda Collective; Claire McCaskill, U.S. Senator for Missouri, United States Senate; Sara Minkara, president and founder, Empowerment Through Integration; Andrea Moore, team member, Google Online Marketing Challenge Program; Mark Nager, chief executive officer, Startup Weekend; Preeta Nayak, manager, Leading for Impact; The Bridgespan Group; Sarah Nerad, co-founder, PTR Associates; Matthew Perry, actor; Jada Pinkett Smith, actress and advocate, Don’t Sell Bodies; Shai Reshef, president, University of the People; Andrew Revkin, reporter, Dot Earth Blog, The New York Times; Jeannette Richardson-Baars, director, Aruba Police Academy; national coordinator, Anti Human Trafficking and Smuggling; Zainab Salbi, writer and producer, Nida’s Alnissa Productions; founder, Women for Women International; Michael Sherraden, founding director, Center for Social Development, Washington University; Christine Schindler, undergraduate, Duke University; Tyler Spencer, founder and CEO, the Grassroot Project; Annis Stubbs, executive director, Teach for America-Detroit; Amy Sun, president and co-founder, Fab Folk; Sebastien Tilmans, co-founder, re.source and Ph.D. candidate, Stanford University; Dan Viederman, chief executive officer, Verite; Evans Wadongo, founder and executive director, Sustainable Development for All-Kenya; Alex Wagner, host, “NOW with Alex Wagner,” MSNBC; Gary White, co-founder and CEO,; Jake Wood, co-founder and president, Team Rubicon; and Muhammad Yunus, chairman, the Yunus Centre.

For the first time this year, nearly $500,000 in funding was available for CGI U 2013 student commitment-makers to carry out their ideas, primarily through the newly established CGI University Network of 34 colleges and universities that have committed to support, mentor, and provide seed funding to student innovators and entrepreneurs from their respective schools.

In addition to the more than $400,000 from the University Network, the Resolution Project awarded $100,000 in seed funding for CGI U 2013 students through the Resolution Social Venture Challenge, a competition designed to support student-launched social ventures that are sustainable and have a measurable impact. Chelsea Clinton unveiled the 17 winning commitments: Autism in Jenin representing the University of Richmond; Baby Metrics representing Rice University; Building with Bottles representing Carnegie Mellon University; Cassava Factory Bainet representing Northcentral Technical College; Changing the Face of a Rural War-Torn Area in Nepal representing Westminster College, Fulton; CrowdSOS representing the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Malaria Awareness Program representing Duke University, the University of Miami, Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey, and Washington University in St. Louis; Malindza Sustainable Energy for Peace representing Wartburg College; Million Dollar Scholar representing Morehouse College; The Mobile Science Lab representing Duke University; Pathfinder representing Washington University in St. Louis; Project Plus One representing Brandeis University; Project SMS Accounting Management representing the University of Chicago; Sharing Joy representing Northcentral Technical College; Social Enterprise Response for Refugee Crisis Housing representing New York University, Abu Dhabi; Sustain-a-bears representing Vanderbilt University; and Tigers Giving Back representing the University of the Pacific.

President Clinton also announced the winning team of the $10,000 cash prize in the Up to Us competition, launched by CGI U, Net Impact, and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation to increase awareness among young people of America’s fiscal issues. Five students from the University of Virginia (U.Va.) won first prize in the nationwide contest. The U.Va. team members are Lena Shi, Joshua Lansford, Alan Safferson, Ryan Singel and Amara Warren.

Today, President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton joined CGI University attendees to participate in a day of public service at Gateway STEM High School in St. Louis. CGI U mobilized volunteers as a way to give back to the local St. Louis community by painting, carpeting, and performing other maintenance projects on a local high school with stretched resources.

CGI U thanks its sponsors: American Association of University Women; Andy Nahas and The Prospect Fund, Boeing; Dell Inc.; The Hernreich Family Foundation; Laureate International Universities; Microsoft; Joan and Irwin Jacobs; the Peter G. Peterson Foundation; United Association; and Trudy Valentine.

The following new commitments and progress reports were announced in CGI U 2013 plenary sessions:

Pedal Forward (formerly Panda Cycles) (CGI U 2012)
Commitment By: Chris Deschenes; Jon Torrey; Matthew Wilkins
Focus Area: Environment and Climate Change
School: The George Washington University
Geographic Scope: United States
In 2012, Chris Deschenes, Jon Torrey, and Matthew Wilkins committed to building and selling sustainable bamboo bicycles at an affordable price on the George Washington University campus. For every bike sold, the group will donate one bicycle to Bicycles for Humanity. The group hopes that their commitment will reduce carbon emissions, as well as provide a means of transportation to individuals in developing countries.

October 2012 update:
Shortly after CGI U 2012, Panda Cycles changed its name to Pedal Forward. Since then, Pedal Forward has become a registered LLC, and is in the process of acquiring B-Corp certification: a company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. The Pedal Forward team is currently developing a business plan, finding financial support, and securing partners. Mayor Mark Mallory of Cincinnati, Ohio, has demonstrated interest in having Pedal Forward bikes manufactured in his city, as well as using the bamboo bikes as part of a bike share program.

The Kansas City Free Eye Clinic (CGI U 2012)
Commitment By: Birju Solanki, Sheela Vivekanandan, Anna Shah
School: University of Missouri – Kansas City                  
Focus Area: Public Health          
Geographic Scope: United States          
In 2012, Birju Solanki, Sheela Vivekanandan, and Anna Shah committed to see 400 patients over the next year, doubling the number of patients they are able to serve and further improving the healthcare provided to the underserved population of Kansas City. With the help of seed money from the Clinton Global Initiative University, The Kansas City Free Eye Clinic is now an established clinic capable of providing comprehensive ophthalmologic exams. Over the next year The Kansas City Free Eye Clinic will move to a new clinic space within walking distance of several major Kansas City homeless shelters, and will improve follow up care for their patients, and provide a shuttle service and bring on a social worker to address patient needs regarding transportation and community resources.

October 2012 update:
Since CGI U 2012, Birju, Sheela, and Anna have worked with an all-volunteer base of students to alleviate the disparities in public health services among the poor of Kansas City. In May 2012, The Kansas City Free Eye Clinic (KCFEC) was proud to unveil a brand-new, state of the art, eye clinic facility — a major milestone for the organization. The new facility enables KCFEC to treat a larger number of patients in an even more private and dignified manner. To date, KCFEC has provided 550 comprehensive eye exams, 1,220 vision screenings, 42 free surgical referrals, and dispensed 1560 prescription eyeglasses and medications.

Vaccine Dream (CGI U 2012)
Commitment By: Kris Adhikari and Jovian Marcelo           
School: Las Positas College 
Focus Area: Public Health   
Geographic Scope: Philippines and Nepal  
In 2012, Kris Adhikari and Jovian Marcelo committed to raising money to purchase and distribute 10,000 comprehensive vaccine sets to children living in impoverished regions in Southeast Asia.  Kris and Jovian plan to partner with pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and universities to help them accomplish their goal of sending vaccination kits overseas to 10,000 children.

October 2012 update:
Kris and his team have turned Vaccine Dream into a federally recognized 501(c)(3). They are now focused on soliciting donations and writing grants so that they can begin assembling and distributing vaccination kits.

The SEGway Project: Soccer Empowering Girls Worldwide and You (CGI U 2012)
Commitment By: Lindsay Brown and Courtney Barg         
School: University of Notre Dame
Focus Area: Peace and Human Rights
Geographic Scope: Nepal  
In 2012, Lindsay Brown and Courtney Barg committed to providing girls in Surkhet, Nepal with the opportunity to receive a valuable education and pursue personal development through the sport of soccer.  Lindsay and Courtney will empower adolescent girls through academics and athletics and enable them to reach their full potential, on and off the field.  Currently, approximately 25 girls between the ages of 10 and 13 are members of TSP’s soccer team. 

October 2012 update:
Over the last year, Lindsay and Courtney have scaled their girls' soccer program, which now consists of four teams (60 players). In 2012, the SEGway Project was recognized on the cover of Seventeen Magazine and co-founder Lindsay Brown was a guest on the Today Show in October. Lindsay also represented The SEGway Project at the 10X10 global girls' education launch event in New York City and at the United Nations International Day of the Girl Assembly in October 2012.

Practice Makes Perfect (CGI U 2012)
Commitment By: Karim Abouelnaga; Amy Mitchell; Nicolas Savvides
Focus Area: Education
School: Cornell University
Geographic Scope: United States
In 2012, Karim Abouelnaga, Amy Mitchell, and Nicolas Savvides committed to narrowing the academic achievement gap by pairing under-achieving fourth graders with high-achieving ninth graders under the supervision of college interns for an intensive academic summer program called Practice Makes Perfect. They plan to operate four programs that will impact more than 200 students across New York City.

October 2012 update:
Over the last year, Practice Makes Perfect (PMP) operated three programs across three boroughs in New York City and served close to 150 low-income students from Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; Long Island City, Queens; Harlem, Manhattan. The program grew by 300% from the previous summer. The group won the 2012 Ernst & Young Your World Your Vision Nationwide Competition, and received the Robinson Appel Humanitarian award. The PMP team also implemented a Serving Our Streets program that required all of the high school and college participants to engage in group community service projects on the weekends. As a result, PMP participants impacted thousands of New Yorkers by weeding local parks and hosting food and clothing drives.

Girls Make Change through Engineering (CGI U 2012)
Commitment By: Christine Schindler
School: Duke University
Focus Area: Poverty Alleviation
Geographic Scope: United States
In 2012, Christine Schindler committed to bringing together female Duke engineering students with girls ages 14 to 17 to complete Engineering World Health Kits. Through her commitment, Girls Make Change through Engineering, she hopes to educate the teenagers on careers in engineering. Christine will launch the program in January 2013 in local Durham schools and Girl Scout programs. The volunteer engineering students will teach the girls the benefits of becoming an engineer, different types of engineering jobs, and the practical ways in which engineers can make a difference in the lives of others. The teenage girls will then work with their engineering mentors and assemble different low-cost medical devices that will be sent to partner hospitals in different developing countries. Christine hopes that this model can be easily replicated within the nearly 40 Engineering World Health chapters worldwide.

October 2012 update:
Christine has developed a curriculum and completed two pilot sessions during the summer of 2012. She also had the first “Girls Engineering Change” event at Duke in October 2012. Christine hopes to open Girls Engineering Change chapters at UC Davis and UNC Chapel Hill in the coming months.

The SAPHE Mat (CGI U 2013)
Commitment By: Ping Teresa Yeh; Lauren Theis; Amanda Gutierrez; Stephanie Hsu
School: Rice University
Focus Area: Public Health
Geographic Scope: United States
In 2013, Ping Teresa Yeh, Lauren Theis, Amanda Gutierrez, and Stephanie Hsu committed to conducting clinical trials for the SAPHE Mat, a specially designed pad that aids in the visual estimation of blood loss to diagnosis postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). The SAPHE Mat will help physicians and healthcare workers in developing countries measure blood loss and therefore properly diagnose and treat PPH. Clinical trials to test the accuracy and usability of the SAPHE Mat will begin at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston in early 2013.

Sponsoring Girls’ Education by Mentoring for Diversity (CGI U 2013)
Commitment By: She’s the First
Focus Area: Education
Geographic Scope: Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Nepal, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, United States
In 2013, She’s the First committed to launching a student-led mentorship model to meet the needs of girls in low-income communities in the United States and engage them in awareness-building and fundraising activities to advance the education of girls in developing nations. She’s the First will provide resources to help Campus Chapter Leaders pilot these activities in their local communities. In addition, She’s the First has committed to providing financial support to She’s the First CGI U participants, and guide them through the process of implementing projects in New York City, Ann Arbor, Asheville, and Fort Myers. Through this mentorship model, She’s the First aims to sponsor the education of 30 girls from developing nations and engage 350 girls from low-income communities over the course of one year.

Addressing the Mobile Gender Gap in Pakistan (CGI U 2013)
Commitment By: Karen Mok and Magnus Petersen-Paaske
School: Washington University in St. Louis and University of Copenhagen
Focus Area: Poverty Alleviation
Geographic Scope: Pakistan
In 2013, Karen Mok and Magnus Petersen-Paaske committed to creating a smartphone application for illiterate women in Hafizabad, Pakistan. They have already partnered with the Bunyad Literacy Community Council, a local NGO in Pakistan that has experience implementing mobile literacy initiatives. The group hopes to empower women by providing access to education, health information, and microfinance opportunities through mobile technology. They will use their unique backgrounds in computer science, business, and international affairs to develop their commitment in three stages across three different countries. The team plans on distributing over 50 phones to women in Hafizabad by the end of 2014.

One Bead Project (CGI U 2012)
Commitment By: Sara Wroblewski 
School: Hobart and William Smith Colleges            
Focus Area: Education
Geographic Scope: Kenya  
In 2012, Sara Wroblewski committed to raising money to support the Oloosirkon Government Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya. To raise the necessary funds, Sara designed recycled glass beads that she will sell through her nonprofit organization One Bead Project. Half the bead is thick and the other thin to symbolize the juxtaposition of having a lot versus having a little. In the center is an “O” for the Oloosirkon School. Over the next year, Sara hopes to raise enough money to build a fence and restroom for the school.           

October 2012 update:
Since CGI U, Sara has launched the One Bead website, expanded sales to include apparel, and registered One Bead as a 501(c)(3) organization. Since creating One Bead, Sara has raised more than $13,000 in product sales and another $13,000 in grants. During the summer of 2012, the One Bead team traveled to Kenya to build a 923-meter fence around the Oloosirkon Government Primary School. This fence was requested by the community primarily in response to stealing and disturbances on school grounds. In addition, Sara’s team collected 400 pounds of school supplies donated from supporters in the U.S., which were distributed to students in late September 2012. Sara and her team also ran a two-day art camp for Oloosirkon students which emphasized the importance of recycling and ended with a trip to the recycled glass blowing studio to see how the beads are made.

DREAMzone (CGI U 2013)
Commitment By: Davier Rodriguez
School: Arizona State University
Focus Area: Education
Geographic Scope: United States
In 2013, Davier Rodriguez committed to developing the DREAMzone program and establishing a national network of DREAMzone allies to support undocumented students in Arizona. DREAMzone’s four-hour ally certification program breaks down preconceptions of undocumented students and educates participants on federal, state, and local challenges. Davier plans to establish DREAMzone programs across Arizona by 2014, with institutions nationally by 2015. He will record the number of allies certified through the program and collect survey data to measure program effectiveness.

Compost Methods to Improve Soil Fertility (CGI U 2013)
Commitment By: Glenda Alfaro
School: Mount Hood Community College
Focus Area: Environment and Climate Change
Geographic Scope: El Salvador
In 2013, Glenda Alfaro committed to developing Compost Methods to Improve Soil Fertility (CMISF), which aims to improve soil productivity using composting methods in the agricultural community of Jardins de la Nueva, El Salvador. Glenda plans to replenish nutrient-poor soil that causes diminished plant growth, increased erosion, and disrupted natural runoff. In November 2013, she will distribute composting bins to 12 families and teach them at-home composting methods. Glenda’s program is the first attempt to improve soil quality in the community without the support of the government, and she plans to distribute surveys and test soil pH levels to determine if her initiative is working.

For more information about CGI U or the CGI University Network, please visit Follow us on Twitter at @CGIU and @ClintonGlobal or on Facebook at for meeting news and highlights. The event hashtag is #CGIU.

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