THE BUZZ: From September 23rd through 25th 2012, I attended the eighth annual Clinton Global Initiative at the Sheraton in New York. It brought together notables from around the world – from heads of states and CEOs to non-profit leaders – to collaborate in solving some of our biggest universal challenges. Over 150 new commitments were made valued at more than $2 billion, expected to impact nearly 22 million people. On the last day, President Barack Obama, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney were the headliners.
Most interesting to me were the sessions and initiatives related to Women & Girls and Health & Sustainability. Commitments in these areas ranged from the Georges Malaika Foundation expanding educational access and quality learning opportunities to 340 young girls in the Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Procter and Gamble (P&G) increasing its scope of providing clean drinking water to developing countries by aiming to save a life every hour, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by 2020 with their PUR packet program.
I got a chance to catch up with Smokey Robinson, whom I’ve known since I was little. He is aggregating celebrity social media feeds into a global Smoke Alarm to raise funds and share clean drinking water through the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program. People and companies around the world are encouraged to join this new digital platform leveraging social media for good at SmokeAlarm.org, where their voice will become part of the first global Smoke Alarm later this year.Another initiative that caught my attention was the real estate company Delos introducing the WELL Building Standard™, the world’s first building standard focused exclusively on enhancing people’s health and well-being through the built environment. I have been evangelizing the connection between health and sustainability for years now so I am delighted to see an integrated solution that marries the best of science and technology with design and construction, and that focuses on human health in addition to environmental impact. Delos will be putting the standard into practice by building a range of hotels, offices and residential complexes. Black Eyed Peas front man Will.i.am was there to talk about the standard being used in his experimental Trans4m school in Los Angeles. It will be interesting to see how this approach can impact more disadvantaged communities which are disproportionately suffering from diseases such as asthma.
Probably the most impressive commitment was from the Rwanda Ministry of Health. The Government of Rwanda, partnering with the US government, the Global Fund, and leading health sciences universities committed $152,000,000 to create the Human Resources for Health (HRH) Program to build the health education infrastructure and workforce necessary for a high quality, sustainable healthcare system. Partnering with 7 leading medical schools, 5 nursing and midwifery schools, and 1 health management school, the program will send more than 100 faculty members to Rwanda annually to assist medical, nursing, and public health schools and teaching hospitals and to mentor educators and students. What I like about it is the focus on building a sustainable health-care system that the Rwandan people will be able to manage themselves.
President Clinton revealed that CGI Latin America will be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil next year in December. It marks the Clinton Global Initiative’s first overseas meeting since convening CGI Asia in Hong Kong in 2008. CGI will convene more than 1,000 students representing approximately 300 colleges and universities around the world to explore innovative solutions to pressing global challenges in its CGI University at Washington University in St. Louis April 5-7, 2013. President Clinton also announced that CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, will return to Chicago in June 2013.
Contributed by Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, Ph.D., MBA.
Video related videos from Clinton Global Initiative:
Creating a More Sustainable Market Economy
Building Healthy Sustainable Spaces