Dispatches from CGI U

Read blog posts about CGI U this weekend from UM employee, master's student, and CGI U participant Sasha Dolgicer.

(March 08, 2015) — 4:25 p.m.

CGI U 2015 brought together students from more than 80 countries to discuss the world’s most pressing issues and helped prepare them to be catalysts of change. I was impressed by the high number of participants that were already working on their college campuses, and in their hometowns, to address the needs of their communities. Often times young people feel that they are not empowered to be change-makers, to be impactful. President Bill Clinton said that the best way to ensure that your commitments are taken seriously, is to keep them. So to all of the students who came together this weekend, and for those around the world who are dedicating themselves to a greater cause, thank you. Thank you for recognizing that we have shared vulnerabilities, shared lessons and shared a destiny. Thank you for keeping your commitments.

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(March 08, 2015) — 11:50 a.m.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton made an important announcement during Saturday evening’s closing remarks when they unveiled their No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project. Emphasizing the need to enable women and girls throughout the world to reach gender equality, No Ceilings is a global data project that seeks to build the case for the full participation of women and girls in the 21st century. Secretary Clinton made a call to action asking students to celebrate the accomplishments of the last two decades, but agree that full participation is unfinished business. CGI U students were the first to preview the data analytics of one million unique data points and were invited to the launch in New York City on Monday.

Today, Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton participated in the Not There movement. They asked both men and women to join them in an effort to generate attention to the ways in which women are still Not There, by replacing their social media profiles with a stock photo of a woman’s shadow. The Not-There.org site will simultaneously go live and hopes to make an impact by the absence of women on social media.

"I was already inspired before I came here this weekend, but now I am even more inspired,” said Chelsea Clinton. I couldn’t agree with her more.

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(March 07, 2015) — 2:30 p.m.

President Bill Clinton opens the afternoon plenary addressing students about America’s fiscal future. “If you spend all your money on the present and the past, you don’t have enough for the future. You have to invest in tomorrow.”

CGI U, Net Impact and The Peter G. Peterson Foundation presented an award to Stockton University for their innovative approach to the It's Up to Us campaign focused on raising awareness about the national debt. www.itsuptous.org

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(March 07, 2015) — 12:50 p.m.

Since we are all here because we made a commitment to action, it’s time to get to work. After our morning plenary, CGI U students attended skill and working sessions to dive deeper into their individual projects. I attended a session on organizational capacity and learned about the importance of developing long term strategies when creating an initiative or how a small, close-knit, team can actually be more powerful than a large organizational staff – what’s key is passion and perseverance.

Leading our session were Ben Simon, Founder and Executive Director of Food Recovery Network and Rachael Chong, Founder and CEO of Catchafire. Ben created his organization while he was still in college, after realizing the amount of food that was wasted on a daily basis in the student dining halls. With a small group of committed students, Ben was able to recover leftover food and donate it to area shelters. Matching a great need to a scalable model has allowed Food Recovery Network to create 122 chapters in colleges across the country.

Like Ben, Rachael saw many opportunities around her, but as an investment banker, it was difficult to find the time to volunteer in a way that was meaningful to her and the non-profit. This desire led her to create Catchafire, the largest online skills-based volunteer platform. She was able to create solutions for organizations in need by matching them with volunteers.

Our sessions today are meant to help equip us with the tools needed to take our commitments to the next stage. Whether it’s food deserts in St. Louis or iron deficiency in Cambodia, the students here today are dedicated to addressing global challenges. I couldn’t help but smile as I looked across the room, because I realized that we are not alone in the quest to make this planet a better place, we are all in this together.

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(March 07, 2015) — 9:35 a.m.

We are off to a great start this morning! Professor Hans Rosling from the Gapminder Foundation just presented his Ignorance Project, a global study to better understand what people know about the world they live in. “If you don’t know about the present, you can’t know about the future,” said Hans. After surveying CGI U students it seems that the future of the world may not be as bad as we believe.

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(March 06, 2015) — 11:55 p.m.

What rang true at Friday night’s open plenary session at CGI U is that we have a shared destiny, and due to this great commonality it is not enough to be good citizens, we must be good global citizens. CGI U opened with an introduction by Chelsea Clinton, who praised the University of Miami for its leadership in the areas of service and social entrepreneurship as an institution of higher education. She then welcomed President Donna Shalala on stage, who called on students to be “open to uncertainty and act with love for this planet we all call home.” So it came at no surprise when President Bill Clinton greeted the audience and announced that President Shalala would be moving on to lead the Clinton Foundation – she is the example of a life dedicated to community.

What followed was a moving panel of change makers who, as President Clinton stated, “rendered public service as private citizens.” We heard from America Ferrera, Actress, Producer and Activist, who shared her family’s story about growing up in Los Angeles as Honduran immigrants. She eloquently stated that “often times it takes being inside of the challenges to know what the real obstacles are and what the real solutions can be.” America felt inspired by her fellow panelist, Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Founder of Women Journalists Without Chains. Tawakkol led peaceful demonstrations in Yemen, demanding freedom and equality. When asked how she managed her role in this revolution while being a mother of three children, she simply replied, “the people of my country are my children.” Her love for humanity was matched by Vivek Murthy, United States Attorney General for the Department of Health and Human Services. While a freshman at Harvard, Vivek co-founded VISIONS Worldwide, a non-profit focused on HIV/AIDS education in the U.S. and India. Yet it was Paul Lorem’s story, a student at Yale University, who affected me the most. Paul was a child survivor of the continuous conflict in South Sudan. His parents left him at a refugee camp where he grew up and leveraged his education as a way to freedom. President Clinton was right to say that Paul could have chosen a different path, but he chose to give back and help others in need.

In the closing remarks, America said that being a good citizen was not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing. We have one world and it is our responsibility to take care of it, and each other, for future generations to come.

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(March 06, 2015) — 2 p.m.

Hi there!

My name is Sasha and I’m excited to share that I will be your Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) blogger for the next few days!

I am a student in the Master of Arts in International Administration program at the University of Miami and I also work at the university as the Senior Director of Corporate Relations – kind of unique for a CGI U participant. Today we will welcome more than 1,100 students from all over the country to our beautiful campus in Coral Gables, Florida.

CGI U will bring together students who have made a commitment to action, a commitment to making our world a better place, and connect them with thought leaders and experts to collaboratively develop solutions to immediate global challenges. So during our opening plenary this evening, we can look forward to remarks by three inspirational leaders, President Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and our very own President Donna Shalala. I'll be sure to keep you updated on the different sessions and I hope to give you an insider's look on what will be an impactful weekend!
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More coverage:

Live Webcast and Schedule
UM Projects for CGI U Receive Grants
CGI U Announces Speakers and Agenda for Event
Photos from CGI Events
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