To say I was nervous for the start of the day is a bit of an understatement. The Clinton Global Initiative? Me? A 17-year-old high schooler?
However, as the lights dimmed and the event started, I was reminded of why I was there, of the power our youth has, and of how important it is that we be knowledgeable of what is happening in our world. The notion that young girls like us can truly make a difference was something that was reiterated throughout the day.
It all began with the opening plenary, featuring President Bill Clinton, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Girl Up Global Advocate Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, and Wal-Mart President/CEO Michael Duke. The topic of conversation centered on designing for impact. President Clinton highlighted the importance of being a part of a global community. "We live to prove that cooperation works better than conflict," Clinton said.
The opening plenary. From left to right: Wal-Mart CEO Michael Duke, Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and President Bill Clinton.
A speaker that stood out was Queen Rania. She has always been a great advocate for women’s and girls’ rights, and she spoke of her hopes for the UN Millennium Development Goals. Also, she spoke of the use of technology and social media for the better good, saying, “Technology is not just for the individual, but for humanity.” She spoke of the potential we all have, but that we still need to put it into practice, and innovation can be the difference. UN Security-General Ban Ki-moon added that each and every one of us has a role to play in making the world a better place. This once again reminded me that we all need to participate. We cannot just expect for change to happen; we need to make it happen.
People often tell you that you can make a difference and it’s not just a phrase meant to motivate you; it’s the truth, and nothing backs it up like the speakers at the Clinton Global Initiative.
I will continue to post about this wonderful experience at the Clinton Global Initiative until its conclusion this coming Tuesday.