Last week, during the seventh annual Clinton Global Initiative event, President Bill Clinton welcomed Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Prize laureate, peacebuilder, and general secretary of the National League for Democracy via satellite and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chairman of The Elders in a first-time conversation between the two visionary leaders.
Suu Kyi spoke about her own struggles for human rights, democratic governance, and ethic reconciliation, while Archbishop Tutu discussed his recent work to end child marriage. The highlight of the conversation was the overwhelming admiration Tutu and Suu Kyi expressed for each other’s efforts to promote world peace and democracy.
“The lives and accomplishments of Aung San Suu Kyi and Archibishop Desmond Tutu are an inspiring testament to the tremendous good than can be achieved by a boundless reserve of courage, humility, and conviction,” said President Clinton. “Suu Kyi and Archibishop Tutu exemplify the positive work of CGI members – who have made 194 new commitments this year, valued at $6.2 billion that will positively impact more than 100 million people.”
President Clinton also introduced President Barack Obama, who made remarks regarding job creation in the U.S., including infrastructure building and supporting education. President Obama also thanked CGI members for their commitments to address some of the world’s greatest challenges.
On Thursday night, Clinton hosted the fifth annual Clinton Global Citizen Awards, which were presented to Mhammed Abbad Andaloussi, Philippe Douste-Blazy, Denis Mukwege, Güler Sabanci, Trudie Styler and Sting.
“These six extraordinary individuals have persevered in finding innovative solutions to improve education, provide access to health care for the world’s poorest people, and protect the environment, and they deserve to be celebrated,” President Clinton said. “Through their actions, which embody the spirit CGI members – who have made more than 2,000 commitments in six years – these honorees show us what is possible if we dare to dream, continue to press on against all obstacles, and passionately believe we can make the world a better place.”
President Clinton hosted the event, emceed by Sarah Jones, Tony and Obie award-winning playwright and performer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Sting and K’Naan performed. Morgan Freeman, Iman, Muhtar Kent, Michael McKean, Annette O’Toole, and Barbra Streisand made special appearances in honor of the recipients.
Concluding the 2011 Annual Meeting, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was joined on stage by her daughter Chelsea Clinton for a conversation on current affairs including the Arab Spring, the role of technology in an ever-changing world, empowering girls and women, climate change, freedom of expression, and managing our finite resources with a growing population.
“Each year I am impressed, inspired, and humbled by the work of our members, who have now made more than 2,100 commitments, worth $69.2 billion, which have improved the lives of nearly 400 million people,” said President Clinton. “CGI is a powerful reminder of how much ordinary citizens can make an incredible impact and solve some of today’s most pressing challenges.”