On March 14-16, 2008, more than 700 students attended the first annual CGI U. The conference was hosted by Tulane University in New Orleans and produced by FiveCurrents. In order to attend, student members were required to make a public service commitment, with the goal of bringing about positive social change. Students are expected to take tangible, concrete steps towards solving the world’s challenges.
Attendees were addressed by President Clinton and were encouraged to recognize their responsibility to public service. Students participated in panel discussions on Energy & Climate Change, Global Health, Human Rights & Peace and Poverty Alleviation. They also enjoyed a comedy performance by stand-up comedian and musician, Demetri Martin.
On March 16, students met Brad Pitt in the Lower 9th Ward and helped prepare land for his neighborhood-rebuilding project, “Make it Right.”
Some of the distinguished CGI U guests included:
Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong
U.S. Institute of Peace Senior Fellow Betty Bigombe
Sustainability architect William McDonough
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin
Cornell University President David Skorton
Political consultant James Carville
World Food Programme Honorary Spokesperson Lauren Bush
Writer Dave Eggers
Environmental activist Laurie David