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Clinton Global Initiative Closes, ‘Impacts 100 Million’

By Tom Watson on September 28, 2007No Comment

In a closing session that highlighted the size and scope of its outreach beyond a ballroom in midtown Manhattan, the Clinton Global Initiative wrapped up its three days of meetings with former President Clinton announcing the gathering’s signature statistic – nearly 250 commitments by participants that will impact more than 100 million people around the world.

"And I think that’s really pretty good," he said.

The President closed by telling a story about his post-tsunami travels with former President Bush a few years ago, and in particular his visit with a couple who had lost nine of its 10 children. And yet they wanted to help their fellow survivors, especially the surviving children.

"I want you to think about something," said Clinton. "I want you to see whether all the people whose lives you’re going to touch in the next year, if they can turn around and become givers."

You can find some of this year’s commitments online at the CGI site.

At the closing, Clinton pointed to Northern Irish leader Gerry Adams and thanked him for helping to end one of the world’s longest-running sectarian struggles.

"There’s proof that it’s not a waste of time to spend years and years and years and to be frustrated day in and day out to try and bridge religious and sectarian diferences," he said. "Thank you for making me think it’s always good to take a chance for peace."

The President thanked his 450 volunteers and the media – more than 900-strong credentialed press, including this blogger – for committing to telling the story of CGI, and he emphasized the virtual audience for the gathering: more than 20,000 people "from as close as New York City’s boroughs to as far away as Indonesia and Kenya" made commitments online, totalling 200,000 hours in volunteer time and $130,000 in donations. CGI’s YouTube videos were seen by half a million people, he said.

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