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10:27 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Clinton Global Initiative University Kicks Off At WashU

President Clinton and John Steward at the 2012 CGIU
President Clinton and John Steward at the 2012 CGIU
Credit Clinton Global Initiative

President Bill Clinton, his daughter Chelsea, comedian Stephen Colbert and an “A-list” of leaders and thinkers are on the campus of Washington University this weekend for the sixth annual Clinton Global Initiative University.

The three-day event aims to bring students ideas and innovations to bear on a range of global problems from public health, to human rights to the environment.

The CGI-U focuses on student projects or “commitments” which compete for portions of a half-million dollars in funding.

President Clinton says this year’s crop of commitments is indicative of the era the students are living in.

“Your generation has been sobered up by this global financial crisis, and there was an astonishing amount of, ‘how to do more with less,’ which is a good thing,” said Clinton,  “and when global prosperity returns, it will still be a good thing.”

President Bill Clinton kicked off the event Friday evening, by moderating a panel discussion including Twitter Co-Founder, and native St. Louisan, Jack Dorsey.

Dorsey says part of his inspiration for Twitter came from his love of St. Louis streets and maps.

“What I loved most about my parents is they always stuck by the city,” said Dorsey, “and I developed a love for the city as well.  My loved manifested in an obsession over maps.  I love maps, I loved looking at maps. I loved wondering what was happening in this particular intersection.”

All together students from some 300 schools and 50 states will be able to access roughly a half million in startup funding.  Wash U itself has 29 student projects in the conference.

Follow Adam Allington on Twitter: @aallington