Former President Bill Clinton has announced that the Clinton Global Initiative will expand its work to college and university campuses through CGI U (Clinton Global Initiative University), a youth-focused meeting that will convene students, academics, and social, political, and cultural leaders to discuss global problems and ways to bring about action to solve them.
Similar to the annual CGI meetings in New York City, CGI U is designed to inform and motivate a new generation of young people to act on urgent challenges, particularly in the areas of energy and climate change, global health, poverty alleviation, and peace and human rights. At the first meeting, which will take place March 14-16, 2008, at Tulane University in New Orleans, CGI U will work to identify, cultivate, and engage college students in tackling global issues; challenge universities to organize research and service-oriented commitments in targeted areas; introduce and promote CGI's work and mission to a new, younger audience; and connect students, organizations, and university administrators around the world with others working on similar issues.
During plenary sessions and panel and group discussions, students will have an opportunity to ask questions of panelists, develop ideas, and form commitments. Before the event's close, participants will be asked to make a commitment to do something — big or small — to improve the world. They also will have a chance to participate in a day-long service project sponsored by CGI U. Students who are unable to attend CGI U may view the sessions through a live Webcast via the CGI U Web site, which will also act as a portal for students to submit their commitments.
"Today's college students have an unprecedented capacity to make a difference, both in their communities and half a world away," said Clinton. "They also have incredible enthusiasm, optimism, passion to learn, and a desire to help others. The CGI model is about collective action to make a difference, and it works because people who care come together not just to talk, but to form partnerships to bring about change. It's a model that we know works, and by offering it to college students, I hope CGI U will give them a new outlet to tackle problems and foster social change."