I had the chance to participate in the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in September and found it a great event. As a volunteer, I had the opportunity to work together with CGI staff and other volunteers. I also got to interact with participants including CGI Members, government delegates, Chief Executives and civil society representatives. I must confess that when I first heard about the CGI, I thought this was just another conference targeted at deliberating on so called global challenges. And that, perhaps, the only special thing about it was that it was an initiative of the Clinton Foundation by former President Bill Clinton of the United States, Former Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton utilizing their network in an attempt to solve the world’s problems.
My participation in this year’s annual meeting as a volunteer, offered me a chance to have a more in-depth look at the CGI Model and to see in practice how CGI is “Mobilizing for impact”. The main idea is that, “[r]ather than directly implementing projects, CGI facilitates action by helping members connect, collaborate, and make effective and measurable Commitments to Action” (source: CGI website). The main focus is “Turning ideas into action”. I am impressed by the cross-sector collaboration which gets governments, private sector and civil society partner in ways that will help maximize impact. I am often in favor of such tripartite type of collaboration. The diverse resources and expertise brought on the table leads to a rich impact however they are used. I would be willing to participate in this Annual Meeting again next year and subsequent years as a volunteer or hopefully even as a panelist particularly on a topic related to women’s issues.
Indeed CGI records some outstanding successes and for me it is an embodiment of cross-sector collaboration, citizen diplomacy and volunteerism. Like other establishments, it has also had its challenges and has even been under public scrutiny lately for a number of reasons.