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Clinton Global Initiative: Other Voices

By Tom Watson on September 27, 2007No Comment

This year’s Clinton Global Initiative has a huge press corps, with a ton of bloggers covering the proceedings from a variety of viewpoints. We thought we’d share some thoughts from other voices with onPhilanthropy readers as the conference goes on. To lead off, here’s a bit from Dave Johnson, who’s blogging for Skoll’s SocialEdge site, which really sets the scene:

When you have a number of world leaders in town there are vast security concerns. You have to worry about terrorists. Then you have to keep Bush and Ahmadinejad apart. Then you have to keep Bush and the Cubans apart. You have to keep Bush and Hugo Chavez away from each other. (Chavez didn’t show up this year but last year’s address was memorable.) 

Yesterday I took a walk in the area around the UN building. Block after block is lined with police officers and vehicles. Intersections are blocked by dump trucks filed with sand. Every intersection has a police presence. Everywhere you see police, people with "Secret Service" jackets, black Suburbans with tinted windows and really strange-looking antennas all over them, and license plates that say "US Government" are everywhere. And there are the black Suburbans with tinted windows and signs saying "Zimbabwe Press" or "Ethiopian Government." Also there are black Suburbans with tinted windows and no apparent government connection driven by large men with earpieces. The
middle lane of the FDR highway, which passes under the UN building, is
blocked by a dozen police cars, accompanied by black Suburbans with
tinted windows. Even stores are lined with security men with earpieces. Barnes and Noble had three or four, looking at me. (I decided not to browse the section of book on how to construct bombs.)

While I was walking a press gaggle
passed buy, big hurry, cameramen walking backwards, microphones on
booms pointing into the center of the group, everyone running up the
street.  A few minutes later a woman ran up, asked, "Did the Secretary
General pass this way?" and ran down the street.

And here’s a post from Foreign Policy’s Blake Hounshell that catpures some of the star quality of the proceedings:

At a packed press conference at the annual conference of the Clinton Global Initiative this afternoon, Jolie helped launch a "historic education partnership for children of conflict"
in partnership with CGI, UNICEF, Save the Children, and a number of
other organizations. (Just to give you a sense of the atmosphere in the
room, a casual flip of Jolie’s hair set off every flash bulb in the
room, not to mention a few camera phones.)

As for Brad, introduced earlier today as "the sexiest man alive," he debuted a plan in concert with famed green designer Bill McDonough to build 150 new "affordable and sustainable homes"
in New Orleans’s devastated Ninth Ward. (For you gossips out there,
Angelina and Brad never appeared publicly in the same room today at
CGI, as far as I know—though they did show up together last week for
the New York premiere of "Darfur Now".)

Richard Edelman, the CEO of Edelman, has been attended as a delegate and he blogs his thoughts from a global (and public relations) standpoint. Here’s a taste:

The rising wealth of Asia and the greater share of total assets moving
toward natural resource rich nations have changed the global balance of
power. Business will have to accommodate dispersion of authority, where
rules are written not just in the EU or USA, but in the case of green
buildings, in China. PR will play a vital role in this transition. We
will help global business to identify major issues such as environment
or rural development in which it can make common cause with government,
NGOs and communities while selling their own products, so that “green
equals green.”

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