Conference as Catalyst: CGI Promotes Connections, Compels Action

I was at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting last week and as I reflected on my time there, two experiences stand out. One is the power of the event itself. CGI brings together people from corporate life, from government, from non-profit organizations, from Hollywood. These are people with a common interest in making change happen. They’re not at CGI to talk in theoretical terms about pressing global issues; they’re there to get things done. They bring their respective resources to the table — whether that’s know-how or contacts or proven programs — and figure out how they can work together to improve lives.

I think CGI members realize that no single company, country or organization can achieve significant change by itself. Making a big impact requires a multi-stakeholder commitment. It’s the kind of commitment our Emerging Markets Platform Group (EMPG) made at CGI this year to help Kenya advance its educational system, working with USAID, Microsoft, Cisco and Kenya’s government. This project is typical of CGI’s action-oriented focus. We’re pooling our resources to make change happen now, and we’re thinking about how we can provide better opportunities for the next generation in the changing 21st-century world.

Seeing organizations and people come together like this is inspiring. And the whole spirit of the conference is just infectious, because it engages you not only professionally but also personally. It makes you really think about what you can contribute to make the world a better place.

The second thing I found personally meaningful at CGI was the focus on girls and women. In one panel discussion I attended, the speaker talked about how women do two-thirds of the world’s work, yet they make just 10 percent of the world’s income, and they own only 11 percent of the world’s property. Another CGI event, which focused on maternal health, noted that every minute, a woman dies in childbirth. When I’m told these facts, it reminds me of the disparity and the challenges that exist today. But it also tells me that, as a community coming together, we need to consider the empowerment of women as we invest in making the world a better place.

Those investments could include making micro-loans to women business owners, closing the education gap, teaching women sustainable agricultural development, or just providing them with clean water. We can make all sorts of simple changes that will have a positive impact on women, and in turn, on their families and their communities.

After CGI ended, I headed to Wash., D.C., where we’ve been meeting with government officials this week. Our talks centered on the results we’ve seen from Intel’s interactions with governments around the world, and sharing what we’ve learned around job creation, educational impact and economic development. I’m on my way to the Middle East now, where I’ll spend time with family along with doing some Intel work in the areas of healthcare and education. Watch this space for follow-up observations on EMPG projects in Lebanon and Egypt in the days ahead.

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