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Blogging the Clinton Global Initiative

I’m at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting this week, hobnobbing with world leaders. Okay so I’m in the press room with the rest of the journalist riffraff. But there’s free food–beat that!

This year, the CGI is focusing on Energy and Climate Change, Global Health, Poverty Alleviation and Mitigating Religious and Ethnic Conflict.

The opening session–which was attended by almost 50 current and former heads of state in addition to over a thousand others from the business, government and NGO worlds–started this morning with comments from President Clinton and First Lady Laura Bush.

President Clinton said, “CGI tackles big global challenges with the conviction that, regardless of size or scope, they will yield to concerted action and innovative partnerships that include individuals, NGOs, businesses and governments…There is no better time to forge those partnerships or to take that action than right now.”

Laura Bush, well, it hurts to hear her speak. She did a lot of touting of U.S. foreign policy, especially concerning women, children and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Painful. Shockingly, no mention of the Global Gag Rule and its role the deaths of 70,000 women a year.

The first panel was interesting stuff. It featured Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez and Thomas Friedman of The New York Times as moderator. Jill at Feministe has (much) more on this.

If you want to catch the event live, by the way, you can check out podcasts and webcasts of the sessions here.

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