Robin Gonzales, a UNLV student and a native of the Philippines, will represent a health education project he and his high school classmates created in southern Philippines at the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference (CGI U) at Arizona State University March 21-23. This is the second consecutive year Gonzales and his team have been invited to participate.
CGI U launched in 2007 by President Bill Clinton and brings together students, innovators and leaders in nonprofit, business, and government. More than 1,000 university students from around the nation and 75 countries attend the conference each year to learn innovative approaches to solving global issues. CGI U inspires students to act on issues including education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health. CGI U requires students to report back project goals and results.
Gonzales, a political science and English major, along with a former high school classmate who now attends Lone Star College-North Harris in Texas, will represent The Berchmans Initiative. Named after the Jesuit St. John Berchmans, who preached philanthropy and good deeds, the initiative started when Gonzales and his high school classmates saw a need to bring health education and medical attention to impoverished areas of southern Philippines.
Gonzales's tight-knit group of 20 to 50 classmates founded the group in 2012, recruited volunteers and sought partnerships with medical professionals and health agencies in the Philippines. Their almost-quarterly projects have included health seminars, hygiene packet distributions, medical treatment and disbursement of nutritious food for more than 200 women and children in the towns of Lunzuran, San Jose Gusu and Mercedes of Zamboanga City.
"Our goal is to improve child mortality rates, maternal health, and the quality of life for mothers and children in the southern Philippines region. CGI U has been extremely helpful in providing our group access to a wide network of decision-makers and inspiring leaders and students from across the world to learn from and exchange ideas," said Gonzales, a UNLV senior and president of The Berchman's Initiative. "We're excited to be a part of CGI U to develop solutions to the world's most pressing problems."
While Gonzales and his former classmates attend college in the U.S. and around the world including the Philippines, each use their expertise in nonprofit work, community organization, medicine, information technology and business to keep their work and fundraising going.
About CGI U?
The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) brings together college students to address global challenges with practical, innovative solutions. CGI U participants do more than simply discuss problems - they take concrete steps to solve them by creating action plans, building relationships, participating in hands-on workshops, and following up with CGI U as they complete their projects. Since 2008, students have made more than 4,000 Commitments to Action. Previous CGI U meetings have taken place at Tulane University, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Miami, the University of California at San Diego, the George Washington University, and Washington University in St. Louis, and have convened more than 5,500 students from over 800 schools, 130 countries, and all 50 states. To learn more, visit cgiu.org.
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders year-round and at its Annual Meeting to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,800 Commitments to Action, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $103 billion.