Tuesday, September 30, 2008

SuperForester Jon Presents: the Clinton Global Initiative Citizen Awards!


SuperForester Jon
has just written in with a thrilling play-by-play of the recent Clinton Global Initiative Citizen Awards Dinner.

Take it away, Jon!


I wanted to write you right away after coming home from the Clinton Global Citizen Awards tonight. I was so totally inspired and excited by what they presented as part of the Clinton Global Initiative.

First off, they honored Peter and Jennifer Buffett for commitment to leadership in philanthropy. They are co-founders of the NoVo Foundation. Peter is Warren Buffett's son, and he described his father's strategy of buying undervalued investments and watching them skyrocket when the world realized their value. He looks at his job as much the same - investing in something undervalued - girls - and watching the world change because of it. A huge return on investment. They've pledged millions to rebuild the education systems and address violence against women in post-conflict West Afirca, and they've joined a funding collaborative called "the girl effect" (not sure if related to girleffect.org) to promote the empowerment of adolescent girls as a way to end the cycle of poverty.

They honored Sheri Liao (for commitment to leadership in civil society), who is a huge environmental activist in China. After the recent earthquakes, she and her NGO Global Village of Beijing were able to work with the government to make new housing sustainable. That's right - they're working WITH the Chinese government, making a difference in partnership with what others might see as intractable.

They honored Julio Frenk (commitment to leadership in public service), who, as minister of health for Mexico, expanded health care to 50 million uninsured Mexicans.

And for commitment to leadership in the corporate sector, they honored Neville Isdell, the Chairman of the Coca Cola Company, for his massive initiatives worldwide.

All amazing examples of people choosing to make a difference and doing so.

The cool thing about CGI is that they require commitments, and the corporations and public figures (including many heads of state) that attend must make and keep their commitments in order to participate in CGI. CGI monitors them regularly too.

Check this out:

"Since 2005, CGI members have made nearly 1,000 commitments valued at upwards of $30 billion to impact more than 200 million lives in over 150 countries."

"After attending thousands of meetings during his career in which urgent issues were discussed but no action was taken to solve them, President Clinton saw a need to establish a new kind of meeting with an emphasis on results."

Their program is entirely based on real commitments:

It is entirely up to each CGI member to determine what they would like to do, and the commitment can be of a financial or non-financial nature. To date, CGI members have developed nearly 1,000 Commitments to Action that vary across sectors, geographical areas, and types of activities.

Members can develop their commitments throughout their membership year. CGI supports the development of commitments by facilitating dialogue across sectors, providing opportunities to identify commitment partners, recognizing and showcasing the actions taken by members, and communicating results. However, CGI neither gives nor receives funds associated with member commitments and does not engage in their implementation.
Commitments must meet the following criteria:

* New
CGI members address a wide array of challenges. Some commitments involve new approaches, while others draw on promising solutions that can be scaled up or replicated. CGI only asks that members add to their current efforts.

* Specific
Commitments should articulate a desired outcome and approach to tackling a specific problem, have clear and feasible objectives within a defined period of time, and incorporate an effective approach to implementation.

* Measurable
CGI commitments yield measurable results. Over the course of each commitment, CGI asks members to provide regular progress reports. By asking members to track and report the impact of their commitments, CGI can provide diverse audiences with useful information that will help inspire further action on global issues.

It's incredibly inspiring stuff and it's making a real, tangible, measurable difference worldwide.

The other thing about this event that totally rocked my world were the awards themselves. Goncalo Mabunda from Mozambique uses weapons and turns them into art. Seriously. The award itself is a beautiful sculpture made from bullet casings.

More of his work can be seen here:

Goncalo Mabunda 1

Goncalo Mabunda 2
Goncalo Mabunda 3

Swords into ploughshares.


All my best,


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