The opening of the U.N. General Assembly’s 72nd session in September may now seem far in the hazy future, but already dates are set for some of the sideline conferences and events — such as the Concordia Summit and Climate Week NYC — that routinely attract global development experts.
This fall, however, there will be a noticeable gap in the calendar for many who gather each year in New York to learn about the latest trends, financial commitments and partnerships in development. The Clinton Global Initiative, once considered a seminal forum for thought-leadership and fundraising, has closed its doors, 12 years after its inception.
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The multi-day event — which resulted in more than 3,600 commitments toward health, technology, gender equality, the environment, poverty and more — held its final New York conference last year (although some of these commitments have stalled or remain unfilled, as Devex has reported). Its exit from the scene was marked by a difficult political climate and a recognition that its work was always intended to reach a natural conclusion after about a decade.
CGI was anchored by its founder, former President Bill Clinton, and the high-wattage celebrities, business leaders and politicians who flocked to speak and contribute to the annual event. In its later years, during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, it was also plagued by some controversy surrounding how foreign donors potentially conflicted with the work of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Amy Lieberman is a reporter for Devex, based out of New York, where she covers global development around the city and out of the United Nations. She has previously worked as a freelancer, reporting on the environment, social justice issues, immigration and development. Her coverage has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Slate and The Los Angeles Times, among other outlets. She received her M.A. in politics and government from Columbia Journalism School in 2014.
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