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May 08, 2008

Do-Gooders 'Round the Globe

by Julia Bainbridge

Last Friday I attended the mid-year meeting for the Clinton Global Initiative, a nonpartisan project of the William J. Clinton Foundation. In just two hours, President Clinton brought members up to speed with CGI goings-on and discussed outstanding so-called Commitments to Action. (To be a member, you must make one of these pledges, which in turn must be a new, specific, and measurable way to address global challenges. Think health, climate change, education, poverty alleviation.) Politics aside, people had a lot to say.

* Nobel Peace Prize winner and Director-General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) Rajendra K. Pachauri took the stage to explain how he plans to "light a million lives." Over 78 million households in India are without electricity, which means chores, homework--life--stops after dusk. Over four years, TERI will bring lanterns (solar instead of kerosene or paraffin) to one million rural people.

* In 2002, Fundacion Paraguaya introduced a new curriculum at its agricultural high school for the children of Paraguay's rural poor that integrates their normal education with the running of small-scale, on-campus agricultural enterprises. By 2017, the company plans to expand this "Education That Pays for Itself" model to an additional 50 developing countries or schools

* Our own editor in chief, Klara Glowczewska, attended the meeting, because Conde Nast Traveler last year made a commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting to launch the World Savers Partnership, working with the travel industry to promote social responsibility and support a new Conde Nast Traveler Five & Alive Fund. Our own inaugural World Savers Congress, held in New York last October, brought together more than 200 travel industry executives and nonprofit leaders to explore socially responsible approaches to travel. We have also pledged to devote a number of editorial pages each year to these issues and have launched a new online platform dedicated to making a difference through travel. The Conde Nast Traveler Five & Alive Fund raises monies for the health and survival of children under five across the globe.

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