Friday, September 26, 2008

The Candidates: Obama & McCain at CGI

I was in the room for this. Stay tuned to future postings for my impressions and my personal video capture.

From the CGI website

Senators John McCain and Barack Obama Address the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

President Clinton Announces Mega-Commitments Centered on School Feeding and Improved Sanitation and Clean Water Access for Developing Nations

New York – President Clinton opened the second day of the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting by introducing both Senators John McCain and Barack Obama, who delivered remarks to CGI members and those viewing online. The two presidential candidates spoke about issues related to CGI's focus areas: education, energy and climate change, health, and poverty alleviation.

"The fact that both candidates for president addressed CGI's Annual Meeting demonstrates the importance of the issues we focus on and the non-partisan nature of our work," said President Bill Clinton. "The next president will face unprecedented global challenges requiring international collaboration that transcends borders, politics, and religion. It is in this same spirit that we join together each year to commit to take action in response to the urgent challenges of our time."

Among the commitments announced today were several new mega-commitments in the fields of climate change, global health and education. They will: create large scale climate change awareness campaigns reaching well over 150,000 people; bring groups together to address the problems of sanitation and clean water in developing nations, including providing over 1 billion liters of water; and create and improve school feeding and deworming programs, in an effort to keep over 20 million children healthy and in school.

Additionally, Dana Freyer, a CGI member, updated President Clinton on the progress of the Global Partnership for Afghanistan's 2006 commitment. The Partnership committed to launching 100 commercially viable orchards and woodlot businesses in Afghanistan-but its growth has far outpaced its commitment. Already it has engaged more than 9,000 enterprise farmers, helping alleviate reliance on the poppy trade and improve financial stability.

Several of today's commitments, including further information on mega-commitments, is attached.

Information about the Clinton Global Initiative and CGI member commitments is online at

Commitments announced by President Clinton:

* Barclays, CARE, Accenture, and Plan International committed $20 million over 3 years to improve the quality of life for poor people by enhancing, innovating and accelerating sustained access to savings and other financial services. This commitment is expected to provide 800,000 people with access to financial services.

* Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with the University of Colorado Foundation, committed $1 million over 2 years to support the development of the Consortium for Capacity Building, helping developing countries to use science to forecast and withstand droughts, floods and other climate-related hazards.

* Standard Chartered Bank, Intel Corporation, Seva Foundation, Al Noor Magrabi Foundation, Aravind Eye Care System, Kilimanjaro Center for Community Opthamology, Lumbini Eye Institute, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Vivekanada Mission Association Netra Niramay Niketan Chaitanyapur, Visualiza, Seva Canada Society, International Association for the Prevention of Blindness and the World Health Organization, and Aravind Eye Care System committed a combined value of over $32 million to reduce the incidence of blindness and improve eye care for low-income people around the world.

* Broad Foundation, Harvard University, Departments of Education for the Cities of Chicago, New York and the District of Columbia committed $44 million over 3 years to create the Harvard Innovation lab for the study of urban public schools, providing a place for innovation and objective measurement of urban school district programs for grades K-12.

* Wal-Mart, in cooperation with the Environmental Defense Fund, committed to reduce Wal-Mart's global plastic shopping bag waste by an average of a third per store by 2013, resulting in a potential reduction of 290,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases each year-roughly the equivalent of taking more than 53,000 passenger vehicles off the road.

This year a number of CGI members have come together to launch several impressive awareness initiatives reaching specific constituencies with a combined commitment value of more than $6.5 million and the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of people. They include:

* The Energy Action Coalition will convene a conference in Washington, DC with more than 10,000 young people from across the country and around the world to call for governmental action to address climate change.

* The League of Conservation Voters will engage major labor unions and directly reach at least 150,000 members across the country.

* The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies will launch the Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change.

The following individuals and organizations committed to improve access to safe drinking water and effective sanitation. When fully implemented, these commitments will reach 8.5 million people, providing over 1 billion liters of clean water:

* Pepsico and Water Partners have teamed up to invest $4 million in WaterCredit, an innovative model that uses microcredit to expand access to safe water and sanitation in India.

* Through a second commitment to partner with the Safe Water Network, PepsiCo will also provide 200,000 people in Ghana, India, and Bangladesh with village water and rainwater harvesting systems.

* Three foundations – the Hesperian, Gates, and Kind World Foundations – will work together to translate, print, and distribute lifesaving educational resources on water, sanitation, and health in 20 different languages.

* Shaped by his own experience of overcoming polio, musician Feliciano Dos Santos will use the power of song to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene to 50 villages in his home country of Mozambique.

* Population Services International will distribute integrated health care packages-including safe drinking water, treatment for diarrheal disease, and malaria prevention and treatment--to half a million children in Madagascar.

* The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council has committed to mobilize an additional $30 million dollars for the Global Sanitation Fund, which invests in sanitation interventions for poor people worldwide. When implemented, this commitment will provide 2 million people with proper sanitation and hygiene.

* In collaboration with the Ministries of Health of ten Latin American countries, the Pan American Health Organization will implement a comprehensive maternal and child health program, promoting water, sanitation and nutrition for 2 million women and children.

* Procter and Gamble and its partners will supply 1 billion liters of safe drinking water worldwide, and launch a media and awareness-raising campaign that will reach over 300 million households in the United States and Europe.

* Building upon the success of their award-winning sanitation technologies and social movement in India, Sulabh International Social Services Organization will help five developing country governments adopt their model.

* OneXOne and H20 Africa have committed to raise at least a million dollars to WaterPartners International, providing safe water and sanitation to over 55,000 people.

* Representing a collaboration of 24 companies, non-profits, health organizations, and foundations, the Global Water Challenge will secure funding for the winners of a global competition to promote innovations in water and sanitation.

* The Robert Hernreich Family Foudantion and Global Action will add water purification practices to an existing micro-nutrient fortification program for 25,000 children living in Tanzania.

* The Aquaya Institute will validate a financially sustainable approach to providing community-level water treatment in rural western Kenya.

* Through a partnership with Direct Relief International, Napo Pharmaceuticals will develop and provide at cost a new pharmaceutical to treat pediatric diarrheal diseases in low income countries.

The following education mega-commitment has grown to include more than 16 commitments that will reach more than 20 million children in over 30 countries:

* World Food Program commits to expand its school meals program, in part through the generous support Yum! Brands, who commits to provide $80 million for school meal and nutrition programs over the next 5 years.

Further, the WFP commits to provide a half-a-million school meals per day to children sourced from local, low-income farmers.

* The WFP and the World Bank commit to open its $1.2 billion global food crisis fund, providing more than 5 million children school meals and school deworming.

* Digicel will provide school meals and nutrition to 14,000 students in more than 30 Haitian schools.

* Feed the Children, Deworm the World, Save the Children, and American Institutes of Research commit to deworm 10 million school children in 19 countries.

* Joint Aid Management will provide school meals to 1 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2012.

* Mercy Corps and Best Buy will prepare 375,000 young Americans to fight hunger through a new Action Center to End World Hunger in Lower Manhattan.

* Akshaya Patra and the Deshpande Foundation, after fulfilling last year's commitment to feed one million Indian school children daily, will further expand the capacity of their kitchens to produce an additional 100,000 meals a day.

* Booz & Co. will build a "mega-community" of Italian leadership to increase awareness and funding for the World Food Program

* The International Rescue Committee will pilot a school meals and nutrition program for displaced children in Colombia and apply the lessons learned to programs for children of conflict in 20 countries.

* Rica Rodman Orszag will commit to provide pro bono public relations services to promote the World Food Program Global Red Cup Campaign

* The Global Foodbanking Network will use foodbanking to link surplus food to 500,000 school children in Colombia, Argentina, Jordan, South Africa, and India.

* East Side Entrees commits $9 million to ensure 600,000 students in disadvantaged American schools start the day with a nutritious breakfast in the classroom.

Bill Clinton Will Close 2008 CGI Meeting Today

Today's sessions will feature speakers Wangari Muta Maathai, Rick Warren, Muhammad Yunus, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, among many others. I will not be live-blogging these last sessions. Watch for upcoming stories from me about the many ideas and generous commitments that have come from this year's meeting.

President Clinton will conclude the 2008 CGI Annual Meeting today following sessions featuring new commitment announcements and panel discussions which, as has occurred during the course of the entire 2008 meeting, will focus on devising solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI members have made nearly 1,000 Commitments to Action valued at upwards of $30 billion to improve more than 200 million lives in over 150 countries around the world.

TODAY'S PLENARY SESSION: The Global Impact of Rural Innovation

In today’s society, where technology enables people to connect with one another instantly, it is hard to understand why poor, rural regions around the world continue to face persistent challenges in isolation. To reconcile these inequalities, many individuals, organizations, and businesses are actively addressing education, economic development, energy opportunities, and other vital needs. From the development of alternative-energy technology to implementation of economic development initiatives, persistently impoverished rural communities are developing in ways that can be scaled to address global challenges. This panel will include leaders who are driving innovations that serve rural communities and can be applied around the world.
Program Participants:

Jacques Aigrain, CEO, Swiss Reinsurance Company
Steve Gunderson, President and CEO, Council on Foundations
Wangari Muta Maathai, Founder, Green Belt Movement, Kenya
Elsie Meeks, President and CEO, First Nations Oweesta Corporation
Rick Warren, Pastor, Saddleback Church
Muhammad Yunus, Founder and Managing Director, Grameen Bank

I'll be blogging other stories and updates this coming week. I've enjoyed my time here at this annual meeting and look forward to letting my readers know what I learned and answer some of the questions I've been asked.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Plumpy'nut Saves Lives

Plumpy'nut has the ability to save life after life after life.

Sounds like superhero, doesn't it?

The people who've created Plumpy'nut should qualify for Superhero status.

There are many people honoring their commitments and showing results here at the 2008 Clinton Global Initiative, and supplying Plumpy'nut to children who'd literally starve to their deaths in other circumstances is just one of the ways that those making commitments to global health are making a positive impact.

Plumpy'nut is a high protein and high energy peanut-based paste in a foil wrapper. It tastes slightly sweeter than peanut butter. It is categorized by the World Health Organization as a Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF).

Plumpy’nut requires no preparation or special supervision, making it easy to deploy in difficult conditions. Plumpy'nut is very difficult to overeat and keeps even after opening. It has a 2 year shelf life when unopened. The product was inspired by the popular Nutella spread (one of my personal favorites).

How does it save lives? The New York Times has reported that Plumpy'nut is administered in 500 kilocalorie packets, twice daily, for two to four weeks, in combination with Unimix, a vitamin-enriched flour for making porridge, and has been shown, by saved life after saved beautiful life, to reverse malnutrition in severely malnourished children.

Plumpy'nut has saved lives in places like Niger and Cambodia. Its creator is Andre Briend.

See this video about Plumpy'nut.

Read this story about the little miracle in a foil wrapper.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday - 2008 Clinton Global Initiative Meeting

Wednesday’s opening plenary session, held in the Metropolitan Ballroom at the Sheraton Towers in Manhattan, included the voices of Lance Armstrong (Founder and Chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation), former President Bill Clinton, Queen Rania of Jordan, Bono (who is representing the ONE anti-poverty organization and has been blogging his experiences at, former US Vice President Al Gore (now Chairman of General Investment Management), and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia.

President Clinton impressed upon everyone, regardless of what part they played in the meeting, that they are important to the success of the CGI, each in their own way. He said, "Everyone who has come to CGI's annual Meeting or is following it online has the power to make a difference. The commitments you will make this year - both at the meeting and on our web-portal come at a time of great uncertainty for the world. This makes our collective ability to touch the lives of others more important than ever. Working together, we can help make a safer and more sustainable future."

Former President George H.W. Bush made a surprise trip to the stage to join with Clinton to announce the creation of the Bush Clinton Coastal Recovery Fund. [see ABC News story]

President Clinton said that the current financial crisis is no excuse to ignore poverty. In his words, "This crisis is not an excuse to walk away from the world's challenges, but a compelling reason to intensify our efforts to meet them, around the corner and around the world."

Bono [of U2 and ONE] who, along with fellow rok singer and activist Bob Geldof have thrown their support behind a European Commission plan to give nearly 1.5 billion US dollars to African farmers, spoke passionately on Wedneday's plenary session panel about his unrealized expectations for his work with and hope for people who live in Africa.

Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of Save the Children UK, who spent the day here at the Sheraton yesterday, wrote about the potential good that the Clinton Global Initiative has as it is bringing together "non-traditional partners - governments, aid organisations, charities and business." ­She added,
At the opening of the session, U2 singer Bono immediately raised the mood by asking: "If we can spend $700 billion to save Wall Street, why can't we find $25 billion to save the lives of the 25,000 children who die each day?" [Telegraph UK]
Bono spoke of what he called "the extremes," each damaging to humankind, the three extremes being extreme poverty, extreme climate change, and extreme ideologies.

Al Gore gave a fiery talk on climate change, speaking of a need for a new "electronet" as the current grid is in dire need of update. Gore went as far as giving the green light to civil disobedience on behalf of progress on issues surrounding climate change.

College Students Participate in CGI University

College students are participating in the Clinton Global Initiative [] through CGI University [].

For those who use Facebook technology (as many of my readers do), there are four separate pages dedicated to the focus-areas of the 2008 Clinton Global Initiative Meeting and these pages represent different aspects of CGI University:

CGI U - Human Rights & Peace:

Although the number of violent conflicts in our world has decreased in recent decades, the international community must still confront serious challenges to the basic human rights of millions of people. Global citizens are taking note and taking action. College students are playing a vital role in these efforts: highlighting the challenges, promoting social justice, giving voice and assistance to the disadvantaged, protecting the rights of children and women, and establishing dialogues and friendships across communities. CGI U panels will explore these and other opportunities to bridge divides, advance human rights, and expand peace in all regions of the world.

CGI U - Global Health

Each year, millions of people around the world die from preventable causes. Millions more suffer from debilitating diseases because they lack access to affordable, quality health care. Working from campuses, students and universities are making significant progress in strengthening health services and improving the health of societies around the world. CGI U panels will explore novel approaches to harnessing the resources of students and universities to save lives and make the world a healthier place.

CGI U - Energy & Climate Change

As the Earth's temperature rises, so too does the urgency to find solutions to our world’s changing climate. More than 17 states, 600 cities, and 300 colleges and universities are taking the lead on fighting global warming and setting ambitious targets to reduce heat-trapping gases. As this leadership around the world continues to grow, venture capital is pouring into clean energy projects in record amounts. Nevertheless, enormous challenges remain: fossil fuel use continues to rise worldwide, hundreds of coal plants remain on the drawing boards, tropical forests continue to disappear at record rates, and international consensus on next steps remains elusive. Urgent action is needed. CGI U Commitments show specific ways students and universities are working to transform these challenges into economic and environmental opportunities, and preserve our planet for generations to come.

CGI U - Poverty Alleviation

Almost half the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day. Many families are unable to put food on the table, send their children to school, or attain the basic necessities they need to thrive. During the last decade, individuals and organizations have formed new partnerships – some with the poor – to address this global crisis. Starting from wherever they may be, students and universities are taking steps to alleviate poverty in innovative ways.

Bill Clinton not only spoke about CGI U this morning at the opening plenary session, but also, another CGI opportunity in which anyone and everyone is invited to participate. The CGI website describes the purpose of "My Commitment": aims to provide all people—regardless of age, income or where you live—with the resources to take action and make a real change in their communities and around the world. seeks to:

* Inspire Change. Provide information highlighting some of the world’s biggest challenges, raise awareness and motivate others to take action.
* Build Community. Connect people with others who share the same vision for change and help them create networks to put plans into motion.
* Facilitate Action. Offer tools for visitors to make commitments to act and track their progress and results.
* Strengthen Engagement. Encourage citizen action around America and throughout the world. builds on the success of the Clinton Global Initiative, a project of the Clinton Foundation, which has already inspired more than 1,000 commitments to action from some of the world’s top thinkers and government and business leaders. Learn more about CGI member commitments.

Launched in 2007, reflects President Clinton’s dedication to promoting citizen service. Throughout his life, President Clinton has met inspiring individuals and organizations taking innovative and unique approaches to solving some of the world’s biggest challenges. These encounters also led him to write his second book, GIVING: How Each of Us Can Change the World, which was released in September 2007.

Lance Armstrong Will Ride in At Least Three 2009 Races

Lance Armstrong appeared at a press conference this afternoon after having participated in the opening plenary session of the 2008 Clinton Global Initiative meeting. He's decided to return to professional cycling, not only for the purpose of competition, stemming from a true love of the sport, but to increase his presence as a spokesperson for his cause.
NYT: Addressing the opening session of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York on Wednesday, Armstrong said he would convene the first global summit of the Livestrong campaign to raise cancer awareness in Paris after the Tour.

He said, "Carrying this strong message around the world, whether it's on a bicycle or through the media is my number one goal."

Armstrong says he'll race in 2009 with Astana [see NYT story], the first race being in Australia in the Tour Down Under. The only other races he'd confirm taking part in will be Tour de France and the Leadville 100.

Armstrong pointed to Olympic contender Taylor Finney as "the future of American cycling" and said that he hoped that the Live Strong Global campaign adds a development component to a committed team already trying their best to win big events.

In a moment of contemplation about his drive to win (while not knowing how he'll perform in these races), Armstrong credited his mother for his willingness and spirit to never quit.

NYT: Armstrong, a fierce and uncompromising competitor, has kept in reasonably good shape. He has competed in several marathons, finishing them in under three hours. Recently, he has raced in smaller cycling races near the home he is building in Aspen, Colo., finishing second this summer in the Leadville Trail 100, a 100-mile mountain bike race through the Rocky Mountains. He raced for Team Livestrong, which is associated with his cancer foundation.

Armstrong has said the Leadville race, in particular, stoked his desire to return to competitive racing. Just before that race, he rejoined the testing pool run by the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Athletes are required to be in the program for at least six months before participating in elite-level competition.

He called Don Catlin "beyond reproach" in his field as an anti-doping scientist and Armstrong plans to use Catlin for his own personal anti-doping program.

Voicing his his appreciation when one woman shared her personal story about her experience with having had cancer and writing a book about it, Armstrong said that there are those who live in societies today who still cannot talk freely about having the disease because of the stigma that all too often goes along with the risk of being so honest. Being ostracized for having cancer is commonplace in some of these societies and whether it's riding a bike, writing a book, participating in community outreach or whatever one person has the power to do, sharing those experiences help people understand that they're not alone. He urged everyone to do whatever they can to create and perpetuate an open and honest discussion about cancer.

Armstrong is convinced that we'll see the face of health care changing in the U.S. regardless of who wins the upcoming election, albeit more change will be likely "if one party wins over the other." He didn't mention which party he meant. When it comes to cancer, he's convinced that the upcoming change in US health care will have a dramatic impact on those who need it most.

What shocks Lance Armstrong? That was a question asked of him today. Armstrong replied with an answer that will cause anyone who's had a loved one suffer with cancer to hope for something better in the future of cancer research. He said, "I'll tell you what shocks me, I 20 years..we'll look back on chemotherapy and that will shock us....we'll look at that and say, 'I can't believe we did that to a fellow human being.'"

I'm a blogger...not a conventional reporter..and I can tell you that I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, remembering my own mother's four-year battle with the disease, a battle that she lost in 2005. lance Armstrong's description of his own mother teaching him to "never quit" rang true when I thought of my mother's valiant fight. She never gave up.

[Photos by Jude Nagurney Camwell]

Some Thoughts About Why I'm at the 2008 CGI Meeting

The major challenges upon which the participants at this year’s Clinton Global Initiative [CGI] meeting have a shared focus are: Education, Energy & Climate Change, Global Health, and Poverty Alleviation.

As a blogger, some people might ask me why I’m here. I blog political issues and, admittedly, this work the Clinton Foundation is doing has a lot to do with the possibilities that come with political persuasion and vision, but this work does not rely solely upon politics in that it asks business, government, and civil society towork together in harmony for the benefit of humankind.

What change is possible in our world through the endeavors of and commitments to the Clinton Global Initiative? It isn't magical and it involves hard work, financial commitment, and a genuine caring for the lives of others. In truth, my personal interest in this goes beyond all politics. I think, in the end, it’s all about what lies deep in my heart. When it comes to what draws me to the CGI, the arrow directed toward my heart involves faith, spirit, caring, hope .. call the sum of it what you will. Think, just for a moment, about whatever causes you to care about your fellow human being. That’s the ground where I’ll meet you as we talk about what can be accomplished by the CGI and all who make commitments to the organization.

I think of my own friend George Henry Amoah who works hard for his fellow community members as Executive Director at Gye Nyame Charity International in Ghana. His organization believes that the plight of equatorial Africa is a global challenge that cannot be ignored by the developed world. At the Gye Nyame website, it states, “A nation can only improve the education & welfare of its people through internal initiatives based upon local & regional knowledge & practices, supported by global, ethical & accountable investment.” The organization, like many of its kind in Africa today, strives to protect poor women who walk long distances in the harvesting season and work the rest of the day picking fruit, many of them suffering snake, scorpion and other dangerous bites that sometimes result in death. They do all of this for some small amount of money.

On the eve of the opening of the 2008 CGI meeting, George wrote me a note of hope that people out here are listening and taking meaningful action to make a change we want to see in our world:
“Hello, Jude. Good morning and pray that we see a world of peace and devoid of bad corrupt practices this we need many good people coming together and working hard and not with lip services, we need to pull people on board and with faith we shall get there.
~ George”
We may be oceans apart, but the heart of a caring, hard-working, prayerful and hopeful citizen in Ghana has reached the ears of a blogger from a Northeastern sleepy suburban village in the U.S. where hardships seem to melt away when you learn the truth about the daily struggle for survival in a place you once thought was so far away.

“There’s no such place as far away,” as the spiritual writer Richard Bach has written. Today, more than ever, he’s right.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'll Be Live-Blogging the 2008 Clinton Global Initiative Meeting

Former President Clinton Announces Program for 2008 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting
Source: www.clintonglobalinitiave

Beginning Wednesday, September 24, I'll be in New York live-blogging the 2008 Clinton Global Initiative Meeting [as I did in 2006]. Watch for updates on my blog and on my Facebook page.

From an email:

On Wednesday, leaders from business, government, philanthropy, and religion will again gather in NYC for the 4th Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting to find innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges — and you can watch it all unfold, live via webcast on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Distinguished guests will include Her Royal Highness Rania Al-Abdullah, Queen of Jordan, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, Senator Barack Obama, Senator John McCain, Bill Gates, Founder and Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, President René Preval of the Republic of Haiti, Tony Blair, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of the City of New York, John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, Muhammad Yunus, Founder and Managing Director of Grameen Bank, Bono, Lead Singer of U2, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, Lance Armstrong Foundation, Larry Page, Co-Founder of Google, T. Boone Pickens, Founder and Chairman of BP Capital Management, Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church, and Tom Brokaw, Special Correspondent for NBC News.

In addition to live webcasts of all the events, you can find schedules, transcripts, and photos at during and after the meeting.

Look for our emails each morning over the course of the meeting, previewing the day's activities and recapping events from the day before. There's much work to be done — but at CGI, we're all about action.