By Vritti Goel '12, Editor in Chief
Vritti Goel (‘12): Where are you?
Juliet Carnoy (‘13): I am in New York, N.Y. for the fall 2011 academic semester. VG: What’s the Clinton Foundation all about? JC: Established in 2005, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) is a branch of the William J Clinton Foundation located in Midtown. We foster relationships between our members (global leaders, CEOs and heads of nonprofits) in order to empower disadvantaged communities across the world. Essentially, you could say we serve as a facilitator between our members to help them connect with each other and pledge to develop a philanthropic cause.
During his term, President Clinton realized that he had attended hundreds of meetings on global development, yet not once was he asked to actually do anything specific about it. When creating CGI, Clinton decided that every member and corporation that sought to join the foundation would have to make a “commitment to action,” a pledge to attain a philanthropic goal. Since 2005, CGI members have made nearly 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries.
VG: What has been the best part of your internship so far? JC: The most exciting part of my internship occurred two weeks ago, when I was able to work at the annual meeting. The annual meeting is a three-day long event held in New York in which all CGI members adjourn to analyze pressing global challenges, discuss the most effective solutions and build lasting partnerships that enable them to create positive social change. There, I ran into celebrities such as Martha Stewart, Barbara Streisand, Mandy Moore, Heather Graham, Petra Nemkova and Olivia Wilde. I was also able to listen to live interviews conducted by Wolf Blitzer and Charlie Rose. There was nothing more exciting than recogniz-
ing political figures in the crowd such as Secretary of State under the Clinton Administration Madeline Albright, Chair of the Elders and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and current U.S. President Barack Obama. There were so many incredible people there, all members of the Clinton Global Initiative! It was truly inspiring to watch the CEOs of mega-corporations such as Cisco and Coca-Cola speak about their charitable goals and global aspirations, and actively seek partnerships in order to make this happen.
VG: What does your specific internship involve?
JC: I am working for another branch of CGI, the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U). The university holds its own annual meeting, which will be from March 30th to April 1st at George Washington University. The annual CGI U meetings parallel the CGI annual meeting in New York—but instead of hosting heads of state and CEOs, this meeting is for university students! Any student can apply to attend the meeting in March. CGI University, like its parent organization, asks that each student and celebrity who applies to attend the annual meeting make a “commitment to action.” Annual meeting attendees pledge to become actively involved with CGI U on their campus.
One of my favorite CGI U commitments is “Female Empowerment through Reusable Sanitary Pads.” Grace Ochieng, a student from St Lawrence University, committed to starting a microfinance sewing project that will create reusable, washable, and environmentally-friendly menstrual sanitary pads in the rural village of Lwala, Kenya. This project will empower women in Lwala through the enhancement of business skills and...improve girls’ attendance in primary and secondary schools.
In my internship I get to do a lot of student outreach and work with student activists across the country to help them achieve their commitments. Although I have only been working at the Clinton Foundation for a month, I have conducted many interviews for campus representatives, and have started sifting through applications for the upcoming spring. It’s incredible to get such insight into the inner workings of such a prominent non-profit foundation.
VG: Did you choose to do this instead of a study abroad program? JC: Yes, I did. Although many of my friends are off to Europe for the year, I wanted to tailor my own educational experience. I previously lived in Florence, Italy as a small child and moved to Paris in fifth grade where I attended the public elementary school for several months. Additionally, I participated in a three-month archeological excavation with Stanford undergraduates in rural Peru when I was high school. Because I felt that I had already had my ‘foreign’ educational opportunity, I wanted a different form of challenge: working in the big city! So far it has been a fabulous experience.
I would very much encourage Scripps students to take into account their past experiences before deciding where to spend a semester abroad. I think it’s important for students not be fearful of straying from their 4-year plan and to realize that an educational adventure can be anything from enrolling in econometrics in England to making the executive decision to move into a craigslist apartment in DC. When it comes down to it, you can learn something anywhere. Studying abroad is really about expanding yourself, and in order to do so you have to realize what your personal limitations are. For me, it was the process of living by myself outside of the university atmosphere. But this is not everyone’s challenge. So, like I said, I encourage Scripps students to realize their own boundaries and tailor their own experiences.