SHAFAQNA – Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton marked the 10th anniversary of the former president’s annual Clinton Global Initiative, pointing to female empowerment around the globe as the former secretary of state considers a 2016 presidential campaign.
The Clintons presided over their yearly gathering of world leaders, corporate executives and philanthropists on Monday, drawing attention to the role of women in leadership positions and opportunities for women and girls around the world.
“We cannot grow the global economy if we do not open the doors to women to participate in the economy,” Hillary Clinton said. “It’s been quite exciting to see a lot of the changes that are going on, but it’s also been somewhat distressing to see how hard change still is, including in my own country.”
The conference theme is “Reimagining Impact,” a notion that might apply to a future presidential candidate. During a conversation on stage with Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, and IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty, the former first lady listened intently as Rometty spoke of the importance of constantly seeking transformation.
Reimagining impact, Hillary Clinton said at the end of the session, “requires leaders who will reimagine and who will be unafraid to do so and ask themselves, beginning with themselves, hard questions.”
Bill Clinton, in a separate conversation with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, said the rest of the world often views Latin America as a “real macho place” and might be surprised to learn that Bachelet had won a second term while Brazil also has a female president, Dilma Rousseff.
“When there are no women in a high-level position, people can talk about equal rights but it’s just a speech,” Bachelet said. She said when female leaders excel, “then it’s a model for others.”
They Clintons said that their efforts since 2005 had improved the lives of 430 million people in 180 countries, including giving 44 million children access to a better education. The former president, 68, said he was glad to be joined by his wife and daughter, Chelsea Clinton, in the family foundation’s pursuits. “One of my ideas is that I want them to do more of the heavy lifting,” he said. “You know, I’m not a young guy anymore.”
In other news from the Clinton Global Initiative:
Hillary Clinton sent out a fund-raising appeal Monday on behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, urging activists to help elect House Democrats.
Chelsea Clinton, who is expecting her first child within weeks, announced the creation of Service Year, a four-year effort to encourage people ages 18 to 28 to take part in a year of service.
Mayor Nutter and Mayors Annise Parker of Houston and Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles announced plans for their cities to address climate change. The cities will develop plans to reduce greenhouse gas, adopt a common way of tracking and reporting emissions and promote ways of participating in cap-and-trade programs like California’s system.