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Clinton Global Initiative, Day 2 – Plenary Session

The second day of the conference, and the first full of the Initiative, is devoted primarily to E&E.

Random notes:

  • President Clinton noted in his opening statement that the Haitian disaster’s immediate effect was to eliminate (kill) 17% of the Haitian workforce.
  • Melinda Gates notes that her efforts are mostly aligned with MDG #4, but it is only through achieving that that they can possibly achieve MDG #1.
  • President Clinton notes that, as an economy develops, age of marriage goes up and birth rate goes down. (Collaterally, this dovetails well with Melinda Gates’s point that we have made great strides in reducing infant mortality.)
  • Eric Schmidt notes that mobile telephony/devices facilitates business, communications, and knowledge; “allows the world to be one world.”
    • Schmidt compares this with President Clinton’s initiative fifteen (15) years previously to put wired computers in all public schools.
  • Melinda Gates notes that smaller groups have to work through goal-oriented process and adapt/learn “on the ground.”
    • Gates Foundation works to reduce risk, but ultimately need to be working with and have the cooperation of the local Government.  (Examples: Ethiopia and Malawi, both of which are working toward goals and identifying the steps along the way, not just declaring the overall view.)
      • Smaller organizations can do the same thing—but really need to pay attention to the facts on the ground. (Example from Ms. Gates was Save the Children.
  • Bob McDonald of P&G works with the governments and other partners.
    • Have reduced the cost of water purification to about $0.01/liter—a “dime a day” to provide clean water for a family of four.
  • What should all the leaders of countries be thinking about with respect to technology?  Eric Schmidt: Goal is to create as many new jobs as possible through using and leveraging the technology that is available. The concentration shouldn’t be on the educational and analytical part so much as “creating jobs.
  • President Clinton asks President Tarja Halonen of Finland what she would do if she were elected the President of Haiti.
    • Encourage creativity; even the smallest entrepreneur is an entrepreneur.
    • “I would speak to the women….I would ask that the President of Haiti would [take] the good counsel of the women.”
  • President Clinton asks the key question: “Why, in 2010, do we still have to have these sessions about the need for female empowerment?”

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CGI Yesterday: Interlude

I don’t have my notes all together from yesterday, but Lance Mannion hits most of the second half of the day with this, this, this, and this post.

Especially check out the last one. One panelist’s description yesterday of putting glasses on a child yesterday was as if it were directly out of the opening of Lawrence Norfolk’s Lemprière’s Dictionary:

The lenses sucked his eye-balls through the frames, dashed them into the first elected object. The stove. He was in the flames. They were licking greedily at him…behind the flames two eyes caught his, an horrible, misshapen face, a twisted body, eyes black with ancient cruelties, the legs curling and unfurling at him, like serpents. I see you John Lemprière, hissed from each mouth. Erichthonius. Curling and unfurling like snakes. Like flames. Just flames. Flames in a stove in a room. A room between Minerva’s shrine and Vulcan’s forge.

‘Welcome to the visible world, John Lemprière.’ …

Lempière shivered and blinked. The stove was but a stove, the room but a room….Lemprière could see.

People who have seen miracles want to see them again, not the mention the effect on people for whom seeing is a miracle.

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CGI 1: Barry O. coming soon to a room somewhat near me

The one thing that got both daughters excited last night was “You’re going to see the President!” Didn’t have the heart to tell them it would probably be from a separate room.

And, indeed, space upstairs maxed one. It’s 3:40; Barack H. Obama is scheduled to speak in about twenty minutes, though I might bet that it will start late, since everything else has. (You try scheduling a meeting with two Presidents, the current leaders of Chile and Australia, and the Presidents of Wal-Mart and Coca-Cola—and that’s just the scheduled Plenary speakers—and not have things run late.)

The food is very good, and the teas are good (and all too useful), though they have run out of lemon.

Hoping the second session (leaders of three more countries—Turkey, the Netherlands, and Argentina—; security has been amazingly efficient and polite) and the head of the IMF to present.

The Really Good Stuff starts tomorrow.

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