The George Washington University hosted the fifth annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) March 30 – April 1, 2012. CGI U, founded by former President Clinton in 2007, provides a forum to engage both domestic and international students on the challenges facing the world today. It is a unique program that builds upon President Clinton’s belief that young people have more power today to change the world than they ever had before.
CGI U convened at GW more than 1,000 students representing all 50 states, 82 countries, and more than 300 universities. Students, along with distinguished speakers and moderators, examined critical topics such as the transformation of the Middle East, the global economic crisis and its impact on young people, recruiting and retaining teachers, the famine in the Horn of Africa, cost-effective campus sustainability programs, and the youth movement for global health. In addition to powerful discussions and high-profile speakers, including President Clinton, students brought to the table their very own “Commitment to Action” - a concrete plan to address an issue within CGI U’s focus areas: Education, Environment & Climate Change, Peace & Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation and Public Health. Students attended the CGI U meeting to turn their ideas into action by learning about issues, networking with nationally known leaders and gaining inspiration from their peers.
“Our fifth CGI University meeting has been a real success, with 915 new commitments made, which brings us to nearly 4,000 total commitments since the first meeting in 2008,” said President Clinton. “Young people have a greater ability to enact change than ever before and CGI U is a global network of young people seeking to use the resources at their disposal to make a difference in the world.”
Dr. Steven Knapp, president of the George Washington University provided opening remarks during Friday night’s opening plenary session, followed by an exceptional panel on the importance of public service featuring Dr. Knapp, Madeline K. Albright; chair, Albright Stonebridge Group, Rye Barcott, co-founder, Carolina for Kibera, Usher, chairman and founder, Usher’s New Look Foundation, and Sadiqa Basiri Saleem, executive director, Oruj Learning Center.