Engaging The Next Generation Of Leaders: Clinton Global Initiative University Comes To St. Louis

Apr 4, 2013

In 2005, President Bill Clinton established the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).  The goal of the ongoing project is to “create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges.”

Part of CGI is the Clinton Global Initiative University, an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students “who are developing commitments in their communities and around the world.”  This year, CGI U is at Washington University in St. Louis, April 5-7.  Nearly 1,200 people are expected to attend, focusing on five areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.

Host Don Marsh was joined by:

  • Amanda Moore McBride, Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Social Work of the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University
  • De Andrea Nichols, Graduate Student in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, participant in Clinton Global Initiative University
  • Dave Collier, Third Year Student, in the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis

De Andrea Nichols said she grew up in a lot of adverse conditions and as she got older, “[public service] became a great passion and trajectory” for her life.

That, in part, is how her project, Design Serves (D*Serve), began.

She described it as a “mission to provide a design-based, entrepreneurial education for youth who are living in underserved and under-resourced areas.”  In St. Louis, the group is targeting the Hyde Park community.

“Our initiative is developing a curriculum that will take [youth] through the design process all the way from ideation to prototyping and through to implementation of different venture ideas that will address ideas such as, residential vacancy, social division, and even food access,” Nichols said. 

Dave Collier is involved with the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, an effort established at Washington University in St. Louis in 2011 though founded in 1999 at American University.  The initiative allows “second and third year law students to teach constitutional law in public high schools. It was founded on the principal that a strong understanding of constitutional rights will benefit students throughout their lives.”  The Washington University chapter is working with the Northwest Academy of Law, a St. Louis public high school in North City.

The CGI U agenda includes sessions or panels with Bill and Chelsea Clinton, Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central, St. Louisan and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus.

The events are not open to the public though some live streaming will be available as well as blog updates.  General information is available here.

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