Clinton Global Initiative University

The William J. Clinton Foundation
International, Youth
New Orleans, LA
March 2008

The Clinton Global Initiative Enlists College Students to Address Global Challenges

Over 600 students, university presidents, and other young activists gathered at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, for the inaugural meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U). The new initiative challenges students and universities to tackle global problems with practical, innovative solutions. AmericaSpeaks worked with CGI U to design and produce the working sessions on four important global issues: energy and climate change, global health, human rights and peace, and poverty alleviation. CGI U is a non-partisan project that builds on the successful model of the Clinton Global Initiative.

Students came together from nearly every state and 15 countries on six continents to address global issues and take real, concrete steps toward solving them. Prior to attending the meeting, each attending student and university developed and submitted “Commitments to Action”, a specific plan of action that addresses a pressing challenge on their campus or in the wider global community. The students at CGI U generated nearly 700 “Commitments to Action”.  And since the meeting at Tulane University, nearly 1,000 commitments to change the world have been made by students from across the globe.


To give back to the host city of New Orleans, attendees also participated in a special service project with Brad Pitt’s Make it Right Foundation in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. Students prepared sites for the construction of new homes in neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Katrina. They also had the opportunity to interact with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Brad Pitt, Lance Armstrong, Laurie David, James Carville, Lauren Bush, Dave Eggers and New Orleans Recovery Chief Dr. Ed Blakely. These leaders shared their experiences and helped participants brainstorm actions and solutions.


Using AmericaSpeaks’ deliberation model, 500 American and International students formulated innovative solutions to pressing global issues. Students also aided in the construction of houses in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.