The Clinton Global Initiative Empowers New Leaders to Solve Global Challenges

A Clinton Global Initiative event at Northeastern University highlights the work of its alums.


An event at Northeastern University in Boston, MA on Saturday, October 14th, brings together students, experts, celebrities and participants of the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) to talk innovative solutions to global challenges. The program was launched in 2007 by President Clinton to foster the next crop of leaders on college campuses around the world. Chelsea Clinton will be attending the meeting.

The round-table discussion looks to highlight the work by young leaders, who are impacting the world by committing to and carrying out fresh ideas in education and technology.

Peter Hopkins, the President and co-founder of Big Think will be joining the "Creating Buzz" panel.

The attendees also include alumni of CGI U like Katharine Sgarro, who created Asylum Connect, an online resource database for LGBTQ asylum seekers in the U.S. It is the first such directory of services that offers help to LGBT refugees, undocumented immigrants and people looking for asylum. The database has information on a wide variety of things, from where to shower to mental health providers who specialize in working with LGBT people of color.

Donnel Baird, another CGI U alum, founded BlocPower, a company looking to scale clean energy in American inner cities, lowering costs and improving the environment. Baird markets and finances energy efficiency retrofits in churches, charter school, small businesses and other nonprofits in the inner cities. BlocPower’s goal is to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2-3% in the next 5 years. 

Here's how BlocPower works:

Another alum of the program, Sixto Cancel, looks to transform the U.S. foster care system through technology. He created Think Of Us, an online multi-media platform to train and support child welfare workers, foster parents, and foster kids. Cancel’s goal is to streamline all aspects of the child welfare system, making it more human-centric and less bureaucratic.

Here's Cancel talking about what Think Of Us does:

Hafsah Lak opened a 24-hour Violence Against Women Center in Pakistan, the first of its kind. It is completely female-run and aimed at protecting women’s rights. Such centers will open in other parts of the region of Punjab.  Activists hope the centers will stem violence against women and promote gender equality. 

Hafsah Lak and the above-mentioned attendees will be among those Big Think will be interviewing at the event. Talking to us will be Agnes Igoye, who built a rehab center for victims of human trafficking in Uganda, and Karim Abouelnaga, who created a program that paired under-achieving fourth graders with high-achieving ninth graders to narrow the academic achievement gap in New York City.

Chelsea Clinton will also be among the Big Think interviewees you can look forward to hearing from after the discussion.

For more on the Clinton Global Initiative's significance, check out this Big Think interview with author Matthew Bishop:

Opioids not much better than placebos at treating pain, study says

Alternative treatments are often better for noncancer pain, the study found.

Surprising Science
  • The study examined more than 26,000 people experiencing chronic pain.
  • Opioids were only marginally better than placebos at treating pain and improving physical functioning.
  • It's estimated that at least 2 million Americans have opioid use problems.
Keep reading Show less

‘Deepfake’ technology can now create completely real-looking human faces

A new study from Nvidia researchers show just how far artificial image-generation technology has come in recent years.

Karros et al.
Surprising Science
  • In 2014, researchers introduced a novel approach to generating artificial images through something called a generative adversarial network.
  • Nvidia researchers combined that approach with something called style transfer to create AI-generated images of human faces.
  • This year, the Department of Defense said it had been developing tools designed to detect so-called 'deepfake' videos.
Keep reading Show less

Sound could replace lasers in surgery

Moving from HOT to HAT, a dazzling new acoustic technology.

(Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
Technology & Innovation
  • Scientists announce the ability to simultaneously manipulate individual levitated objects.
  • Using high-frequency sound waves may provide a safer alternative to laser microsurgery.
  • Video of the research looks like a cartoon, but it's all real.
Keep reading Show less