The CGIU team (Sam Matthews & Elise Buchbinder) had a fantastic first day at the conference here in Washington, D.C. at the George Washington University campus. Today (Friday) was a great introduction to to the power of many minds that the Clinton Foundation brings together every year. After checking in and getting a couple bites to eat, we had a chance to warm up to the 1000 other students here from around the world. Our talking was briefly interrupted by the founder of Craigslist, Craig Newmark, who made an effort to explain the immense power our interconnected world online has to offer to big ideas by small people (aka: students with very little money).
The plenary session to follow was one filled with some empowering take-aways, backed by an incredible pannel. I've never been surrounded by so many influential people, all ready to share their ideas and learn from others. The plenary session was much like a discussion between the pannel, but also took questions via twitter, and really focused on the development world as a student, how we find efficient alternatives to problems, and how we do all of this in a creative manner because of our absolute lack of money compared to larger organizations. It was a lecture of optimism mixed with realism, stories of hardship leading to incredible empowerment.
Tomorrow is an action packed morning, afternoon, and evening of lectures, plenary sessions, tabling for EDGE Project and talking and working with other students. Elise and I are honored to be learning from some of the world's most influential people, and realize that our place as students puts us in equally influential positions. Make sure to check out EDGE's facebook for more timely updates and photos of the CGIU conference!
Bill Clinton - Former President
Madeleine K. Albright - Former Secretary of State
Rye Barcott - Founder of Carolina for Kibera
Usher Raymond IV - Singer/Songwriter, Founder of Usher's New Look Foundation
Sadiqa Basiri Saleem - Director of Oruj Learning Center