Clinton Global Initiative U.

In the next 10 years what are the 3 biggest environmental issues we must face and how can students be involved in addressing those issues? See 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton’s response…

April 1st-3rd at the University of California, San Diego was the setting for the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative University. We had the honor of attending this event as both press and a student group allowing us the rare opportunity to get a complete view of the events.

Highlights and Plenaries

Opening Plenary: What’s the Big Idea?: Powering Innovation on Campus and Beyond…

From soccer balls that generate energy to maps that use crowdsourced crisis data, countless out-of-the-box student ideas are addressing global challenges in ways that never seemed imaginable. What may begin as a brainstorm in a lecture hall can one day become a new world-changing product, policy, or technology. Yet all too often, young changemakers face significant hurdles when trying to translate their big ideas into concrete action. How can students work with universities, NGOs, and the private sector to support innovation on and off campus? How can universities provide the tools and resources that foster a culture of creative problem solving? This panel of serial entrepreneurs will detail their own paths from idea to implementation, and will describe how to harness innovation in a world where good ideas can spread faster than ever before.

Marye Anne Fox, Chancellor, University of California, San Diego
Paul E. Jacobs , Chairman and CEO, Qualcomm Incorporated

President Bill Clinton, Founding Chairman, Clinton Global Initiative; 42nd President of the United States
Chad Hurley, Co-founder, YouTube
Shirley Ann Jackson, President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Greg Lucier, Chairman and CEO, Life Technologies
Jessica O. Matthews, Jessica O. Matthews, Co-founder and CEO, Uncharted Play Inc.; Co-Inventor, sOccket

Closing Plenary: A Conversation with President Clinton

What can students learn from those who are working on the front lines in some of the most distressed places on the planet? How can CGI U attendees translate their ambitious commitments into meaningful results in the months and years ahead? This conversation will highlight how individuals and organizations can effectively work in partnership with under-resourced communities in an empowering, productive, and ultimately successful manner. For lower internet connections or to just watch a shorter version of this try the clips under this video. Its a great look at the closing plenary.

President Bill Clinton, Founding Chairman, Clinton Global Initiative; 42nd President of the United States
Kennedy Odede, President and CEO, Shining Hope for Communities
Sean Penn, Humanitarian and Actor; Founder and Chief Executive Officer, J/P Haitian Relief Organization

Below are some great pieces taken from the closing plenary…

Senn Penn and Bill Clinton Discuss NGOs

Sean Penn and Bill Clinton talk about NGO’s in a way rarely discussed at UCSD for Clinton Global Initiative University on April 2nd, 2011

“Our goal today should be to work ourselves out of a job” – Bill Clinton

Make yourselves irrelevant to the people you are supporting by working yourself out of a job. Make life better for others by seeing them as a person and not a charity.

Working together instead of supporting another.

Kennedy Odede (President, Shining Hope for Communities) speaks about what the women of Shining Hope for Communities are doing to better there own lives. Bill Clinton also speaks on the issue of having the countries we help begin producing for themselves economically.
Bill Clinton economic and long term sustainability thoughts
President Bill Clinton talks about remittances and long term sustainability in Haiti. Bill Clinton mentions his work with George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama. Also speaks on the economic disadvantages in 3rd world banking systems.

“Convince the rich people in poor countries that they can do better by taking a smaller percentage of a very big pie” – 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton “What would you do if 100 people asked how they can help you everyday for the next 3 months?”

See Sean Penn’s response.

“Norman Mailer had said it one time that this maybe the first century that mankind doesn’t survive, and I think its a significant century not for that reason, but because its the first century where what is happening in North Africa has really shown that this is the greatest time to be young and involved. Because for the first time its being proven that principle is strategy and so what happens now in this 100 years is that its the first 100 years that we will all live to see our own accountability for what we did or did not participate in.” – Sean Penn

Bill Clinton brings up the How Can I Help question, sort of…

During a press conference earlier in the day I was given the chance to ask President Bill Clinton a question.

The question was: In the next 10 years what are the 3 biggest environmental issues we must face and how can the youth be involved in addressing those issues?

I think what the president is addressing here is that same question in a slightly different way.

He answered the environmental part of the question as the three biggest issues being: the worst consequences of climate change, water shortages, and food production/distribution issues.

He finished answering the question during the press conference with: “The way the youth can be involved in addressing the issue is that if there are sustainable economically-sound investments in renewable energy we can not avoid pursuing them.”

“One of the biggest problems we have in the world today is that to many of us have accepted the way things are” – Bill Clinton

“The answer is not Hello, the answer is I see you.”

Clinton’s thoughts on our time in history.

What is Clinton Global Initiative University?
Building on the successful model of the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together world leaders to take action on global challenges, President Clinton launched the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world.

Each year, CGI U hosts a meeting where students, national youth organizations, topic experts, and celebrities discuss solutions to pressing global issues. CGI U 2011 was held at the University of California at San Diego from April 1-3, 2011. At this meeting, nearly 1,200 attendees came together to make a difference in CGI U’s five Focus Areas: Education, Environment & Climate Change, Peace & Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health.

But CGI U is more than just an event. It is a growing community of young leaders who don’t just discuss the world’s challenges – they take real, concrete steps toward solving them. Throughout the year, and as a prerequisite of attending the CGI U meeting, students and youth organization directors develop their own Commitments to Action: a specific plan of action that addresses a pressing challenge on their campus, in their community, or in a different part of the world.

Commitments range from installing energy-efficient light bulbs to establishing campus bike share programs, from distributing life-saving water filtration kits to designing medical backpacks for nomadic doctors in Africa. Since the inaugural meeting in 2008, nearly 3,000 commitments have been made.

Throughout the year, students are also invited to join the CGI U campus representative network. Nearly 200 student representatives from over 25 countries are working together to spread the word about CGI U on their campuses. To learn about becoming a campus representative, click here.

CGI U is proof that young people have the power to make a significant impact by confronting some of the world’s most urgent challenges.

The Focus Area of Environment & Climate Change as stated on the CGI U website
Empirical scientific records and climate projections provide abundant evidence of the dire consequences that climate change already is having on both human societies and ecosystems. Yet in both the developed and developing world, CO2 and methane emissions continue to rise; hundreds of coal plants and superhighways remain on the drawing boards, and international consensus on a new global climate agreement appears elusive. Building on an increasingly global consensus, many universities, government institutions, and corporations worldwide have rallied together to find common solutions to our climate crisis. Throughout the world, a groundswell of eco-entrepreneurs and young climate leaders are expanding the renewable energy economy, creating green jobs, and accelerating progress towards a sustainable future.

Any environmental issue or problem has community ideas and solutions that create new and exciting opportunities for Generation Green! Get involved today and begin making a difference in the world around you.

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