clinton & obama

President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama engage in health care conversation at Clinton Global Initiative meeting. (Photo by Seitu Oronde)

*President William “Bill” Clinton, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton opened the ninth Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting organized around the theme “Mobilizing for Impact.”

Over the course of three days, more than 1,000 international leaders and innovators will convene to explore how cross-sector partnerships can create sustainable improvements in living conditions for people worldwide.  During the opening day meeting speakers discussed how philanthropic and public funds are still essential to fully resolve issues that cannot be addressed by markets alone.

“As CGI’s ninth Annual Meeting begins, I am once again profoundly impressed by the dynamic group of leaders from around the world who chose to be here today,” said Chelsea Clinton.  “The dedication and passion of CGI members from the public, private and non-sectors alike remind us that, when it comes to addressing global challenges, we are all in this together.  In the next three days, I look forward to learning more about how the commitments made in years past are having an impact and seeing how the partnerships forged this year at CGI will attack some of the world’s most pressing problems.”

Featured speakers included President Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States; Her Majesty, Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Queen of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Al Gore, former vice president of the United States, chairman, The Climate Reality Project; Tzipi Livni, minister of justice, State of Israel; Bill Gates, co-chair & trustee, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Melinda Gates, co-chair & trustee, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Bono, lead singer, U2, co-founder, ONE and (RED); Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook; Christine Lagarde, managing director, International Monetary Fund; Mo Ibrahim, founder & chairman, Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Muhammad Yunus, chairman, Yunus Social Business, Global Initiatives; and Khalida Brohi, founder & executive director, Sughar Empowerment Society and Giving Women Wings in Pakistan; Matthew Bishop, bureau chief, The Economist; Tony Elumelu, chairman, Heirs Holdings Limited; Geeta Rao Gupta, assistant secretary-general & deputy executive director, UNICEF; Margaret Chan, director-general, World Health Organization; Adrian Gore, CEO, Discovery Holdings Limited; Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president & CEO, Robert Wood Foundation; Charlie Rose, executive editor & anchor, Charlie Rose; Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent, CNN.

President Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, and CGI commitment makers also announced new Commitments to Action and reported progress of commitments made at past CGI Annual Meetings.  Current commitments will address improving nutrition, combating cholera, ending child marriage, and providing safe drinking water.

During the festivities President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton engaged in a convivial conversation about the benefits and future of health care reform in America and access to quality health care around the globe.

The full program, webcast schedule, and list of all CGI Annual Meeting commitments are available here:

The 2013 CGI Annual Meeting was sponsored by Tom Golisano, Ambassador Gianna Angelopoulos, Hult International Business School, Rockefeller Foundation, Starkey Hearing Foundation, Victor Pinchuk Foundation, Barclays, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company, Duke Energy, Ford Foundation, P&G, Shangri-La Industries, United Postcode Lotteries, Varkey Gems Foundation, BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina, Cisco, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, NRG, APCO Worldwide, Aft, Booz Allen Hamilton, Delos, Deutsche Bank, Dow, ExxonMobile, HP, Fuel Freedom Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank, InterEnergy, Laureate International Universities, Microsoft, Nike Foundation, Pfizer, Standard Chartered, Swiss Re, Toyota, unite4:good, Western Union, Diageo and Jive.

*President William “Bill” Clinton was joined by Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton, and Vice President Joe Biden at the 7th annual Clinton Global Citizen Awards gala on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel during a special ceremony at the CGI annual meeting where Elias Taban, a former child soldier, was honored for building basic infrastructure, providing employment, and leading peace negotiations among communities in South Sudan, along with six other exceptional people from the public, private and nonprofit sectors for their vision and leadership in addressing global problems.

 kristoff & taban

Clinton Global Citizen Awards recipient Honorable Elias Taban is presented with his award by Nicholas D. Kristof. (Photo by Seitu Oronde)

Elias Taban, National Bishop, Evangelical Presbyterian Church of South Sudan and Uganda, grew up during Sudan’s civil wars.  Despite great hardships, Taban was educated in Africa, receiving diplomas in civil engineering and theology, but returned to Sudan to pastor devastated churches.  His courage and selfless efforts saved many lives, and after the war, Taban became known throughout South Sudan as he built schools, orphanages, and hospitals in the region.  He and his wife adopted four orphans and currently oversee three orphanages.

In addition to leading the Sudan Evangelical Alliance, he organized Tent Makers International to help with challenging construction and transportation needs.  Taban also partnered with Water is Basic and became its general director, leading efforts to drill 433 water wells while also providing employment for citizens devastated by the war.  He continues to lead peace negotiations among the tribes and provides aid and education for those internally displaced by the tribal violence.

The other six Clinton Global Citizen Awards recipients included 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who, after being shot by the Taliban less than a year ago for her outspoken support for girls’ education, has co-founded the Malala Fund to continue advocating for universal access to education.  New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, for his contributions to environmental sustainability and public health, and for leading New York City’s response to Hurricane Sandy.  Bunker Roy, for providing community-led development solutions in dozens of countries through his founding and leadership of the Barefoot College.  Jessamyn Rodriguez, for founding and leading Hot Bread Kitchen, which blends business and social outcomes.  Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan, for their innovation in creating sustainable personal and home care products through Method, a company they co-founded.

The Clinton Global Citizen Awards were launched in 2007 to honor outstanding individuals for their visionary leadership, demonstrated impact, and sustainable and scalable work in solving global issues. Recipients were chosen from government, civil society, the private sector, and the philanthropic community.

Each recipient received a beautiful handcrafted award originated in 2012 when CGI partnered with Donna Karan to design the Clinton Global Citizen Award.  The collaboration was inspired by Karan’s design aesthetic and her efforts in Haiti to bring artisan products to a global market. Karan reached out to her longtime friends Nadia Swarovski of Swarovski Crystal and Cookie Villiard, a Haitian metal artist, to work together to create an award emblematic of CGI and its mission.  The handcrafted design is an illustration of the magic that happens when individual voices come together to take positive action.

In addition to Vice President Joe Biden, other special appearances included Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and president, Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice; Nicholas Kristof, columnist, The New York Times; M. Sanjayan, lead scientist, The Nature Conservancy; and Diana Taylor, managing director, Wolfensohn Fund Management.

The noble awards ceremony featured stellar performances by Elvis Costello, Malian musician Fatoumata Diawara, and The Roots with Randy Jackson who also served as musical producer for the show.

Follow CGI on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at for meeting news and highlights, and watch the live webcasts at

About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,300 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 400 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $76.7 billion.

CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world, and, this year, CGI Latin America, which will bring together Latin American leaders to identify, harness, and strengthen ways to improve the livelihoods of people in Latin America and around the world.

New York based award-winning journalist Audrey J. Bernard covers entertainment, fashion & beauty, film, lifestyles and travel for the Electronic Urban Report and other outlets.  Contact her via: [email protected]

audrey bernard

Audrey J. Bernard