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In 2005 former President Bill Clinton organized the first annual Clinton Global Initiative to coincide with the United Nation’s General Assembly.

For years he attended conferences to discuss and debate pressing local, national, and global issues but found that after the handshakes, photo-ops and dinners, very little got done. His hope with the Clinton Global Initiative was to bring together heads of state, corporate and non-profit leaders where everyone in attendance had to make specific commitments of action.

This year, President Clinton hosted his 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative. The Annual Meetings have brought together more than 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media.

“Meeting participants analyze pressing global challenges, discuss the most effective solutions, and build lasting partnerships that enable them to create positive social change,” said Clinton. “To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 3,100 commitments, improving the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.”

The Annual Meeting began with the Clinton Global Citizens Award which was presented to actor Leonardo DiCaprio for his longstanding advocacy in protecting our environment. Jason Mraz ended the ceremony by singing his perennially crowd-favorite song “I’m Yours.”

Throughout the four-day conference, celebrities participated in a variety of discussions. Actress and founding board member of Room to Grow Uma Thurman spoke at the “Starting From Zero: The Unrivaled Importance of Early Childhood” session, actor and co-founder of Water.org Matt Damon was on the “Cities as Labs of Innovation” panel and President Barack Obama gave the closing remarks on Tuesday afternoon. All three Clintons – Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea – were actively involved as both moderators and panelists throughout the commitment-filled event.

During the closing plenary session named “Aiming for the Moon and Beyond” President Clinton shared the stage with NASA astronaut Cady Coleman while Skype calling two astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Coleman mentioned that when you look down at the earth there are no countries. “It’s one place and we’re all from there.”

Clinton’s final remarks struck a reflective, determined tone. “Every day we have to make a decision. This thing is here after ten CGIs… because you made a decision about what to do with your mind and your heart. No one can ever take that away… In the end that’s why the things we believe in will prevail.”

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