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U.Va. Joins Clinton Global Initiative University, Creating New Research Opportunities for Students

The University of Virginia has joined the Clinton Global Initiative University, former President Clinton’s enterprise aimed at engaging the next generation of leaders around pressing global challenges.

Founded in 2007, the CGI U is an offshoot of the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together global leaders to address world dilemmas. The CGI U engages 46 colleges around the world in five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.

U.Va.’s membership opens the way for undergraduate and graduate students to apply to attend the CGI U’s seventh annual meeting, which Clinton will host March 22-23 at Arizona State University.

To attend the meeting, students, either individually or in groups, must apply by creating a Commitment to Action. These commitments should be new ideas that address social or environmental challenges on campuses, in communities or in different parts of the world.

The offices of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Vice President for Research provided the funds to join the network. Garrick Louis, associate professor of systems engineering, is U.Va.’s liaison with the organization and will mentor U.Va. students during the application process.

The 2014 application is available now. The early decision and travel assistance deadline is Nov. 22. The final application deadline is Jan. 17.

Students whose projects are approved will receive seed funding from U.Va. Those who do not receive travel assistance from the CGI U in the early application process may also get financial support for travel from U.Va.

Once in Arizona, student leaders, topic experts, business and nongovernmental organization representatives and celebrities will brainstorm ideas, share best practices and develop action plans for the months ahead. According the CGI U website, since 2008, students have made more than 4,000 Commitments to Action, and more than $1 million in funding has been awarded to these commitment-makers. Examples of past successful projects include the creation of a culturally appropriate financial literacy program for the Somali and Somali-Bantu community in Lewiston, Maine.

Speakers for the conference will be announced at a later date. Last year’s speakers included Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter; rights activist Muhammad Yunus; and comedian Stephen Colbert.

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