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Blogging CGI: This Week’s Clinton Philanthropy Fest

By Tom Watson on September 24, 2007No Comment

Over on Seventh Avenue, they’re backing up the satellite trucks, offloading the lecterns and signage, and wiring up the digital feeds at the Sheraton. The Clinton Global Initiative, gathering of bigshots and world leaders, is setting up shop here in New York in parallel to the United Nations’ confab across town – and CGI has become the central stage innovative philanthropy.

It’s also the setting for the big public relations work around Bill Clinton’s second career: in my view, the former President has become the pre-eminent investment banker in the world of development, if one can be said to exist.

In short, CGI is a deal-making venue with a dizzying array of partners at the table. Philanthropists fund projects. NGOs partner with corporations. Governments work with foundations. And every combination in between.

Susan Carey Dempsey, editor-in-chief of onPhilanthropy, and I will be reporting live from CGI Wednesday through Friday, bringing readers not just the "deals" – or commitments as the CGI types like to call them – but also an honest attempt to tell you what they mean for the world of philanhropy and the nonprofit sector. Check back often throughout the week for updates. A couple of developments we’re looking at:

- Clinton’s increased commitment to battling global warming and its effects. This will likely be a major topics.

- CGI’s planned launch of, a social network for the development community

- The rolling out of the CGI summit to Asia next year, with an event planned for Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, here are a few previews from other venues to whet your appetite:

- The Financial Times has a package, including an exclusive interview with President Clinton, who describes his flavor of "business philanthropy."

- The UN Refugee Agency has a profile of a program to train teachers in Chad, and will promote its "goal of enhancing education for millions of refugee children" at CGI.

- Earthtimes previews an event featuring President Clinton, Bono, Chris Rock, Alicia Keys, Shakira, and Christina Norman, President of MTV at New York’s historic Apollo Theatre. Each of the panelists will "discuss their efforts to influence change on pressing social issues and invite young people to partner with them on a new initiative."

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