Colleges next focus of Clinton's global conference

Friday, September 28, 2007

NEW YORK -- Former President Bill Clinton has some pretty impressive names coming through his Clinton Global Initiative conference, which brings together heads of state, celebrities and others and asks them to take concrete steps on worldwide issues.

Now he hopes to enlist another group -- America's college students. The initiative is expanding to college campuses, Clinton said Thursday.

"My objective here is ... to try, in effect, to make this a habit of citizenship, to make this something that everybody does," he said.

The effort, called CGI U, will be similar in structure to the annual conference Clinton started in 2005, he said. The first event will be early next year and is planned for Tulane University in New Orleans.

Among the entities teaming with Clinton to draw in young people is MTV, which planned an event to highlight the partnership at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem for Saturday featuring Clinton, Bono, Chris Rock, Shakira, Alicia Keys and Wyclef Jean.

The network and Clinton's initiative "both want to stimulate a huge movement in youth activism," said Ian Rowe, vice president of public affairs and strategic partnerships for MTV.

MTV recently launched, a multimedia platform dedicated to showcasing steps young people are taking on social issues.

Shakira, at the conference to announce her own commitment in the area of child education and health in Latin America, said it was important to bring in a younger generation to work on the world's problems.

"I believe that if there is any solution a huge part of it is in the hands of our generation," she said. Her commitment involved a $40 million project to help Peru and Nicaragua rebuild after natural disasters, as well as a $5 million commitment for health and education services in four Latin American countries.

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