CGI 2012: A focus on designing lives, environments and global systems

U.S. President Barack Obama waves to the public as he shakes hands with former President Bill Clinton during last year's Clinton Global Initiative. Obama will be speaking at this year's meeting in New York. Photo by: Samantha Appleton / White House

For the first time, the Clinton Global Initiative is convening its annual meeting around a central theme: Designing for Impact. The goal is to explore how design thinking, a concept often associated with market-based solutions and private startups, can be applied to development challenges.

This year’s meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative will be held Sept. 23 to 25 in New York, USA. On its eighth year, the CGI annual meeting has so far secured some $70 billion worth of commitments to action from various governments, individuals, civil society organizations and private companies, among others. The 2011 summit alone concluded with 194 new commitments valued at $6.2 billion and expected to benefit more than 100 million people.

In introducing the central theme of this year’s annual meeting, former U.S. President Bill Clinton said the summit will focus on designing “solutions to critical challenges such as empowering girls and women to be full participants in the global economy, encouraging the private sector to create markets for the under-served, and increasing the sustainability of our food supply as global demand doubles within the next 50 years.”

Another new aspect of the 2012 meeting: the breakout sessions. These are “new ways” for CGI members to work together and share insights. The sessions include the design labs or facilitated discussions where CGI members explore solutions to “how” questions, the interactive commitment workshops where lessons and challenges of existing commitments will be explored, and the broadcast conventions featuring journalists, thought leaders and other special guests.

Guest speakers and panelists at this year’s meeting include U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, former Massachusetts Governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Skoll Foundation CEO Sally Osberg, Save the Children CEO Carolyn Miles, Malawi President Joyce Banda, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Ford Foundation President Luis Ubinas, and Kraft Foods CEO Irene Rosenfeld.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.