On April 3, the U.S. Agency for International Development and Hillary Clinton announced the launch of the U.S. Global Development Lab, with the goal to end extreme poverty by 2030.

Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator, said at the launch that, “To solve our most intractable development challenges, USAID has established a new way of working, bringing on board the best and brightest staff and new partners, all working in concert to help end extreme poverty.”

In the new program, USAID is partnering with 31 universities, corporations, and foundations in the hope to use science and technology to help find methods of alleviating poverty. These partners are being called the Cornerstone Partners, as they come from a number of different fields.

The Cornerstone Partners include corporations like Cargill, Cisco, Coca-Cola, DuPont, GlaxoSmithKline, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Nike, Syngenta and Walmart as well as foundations and organizations like CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Plan, Save the Children, World Vision, the Global Impact Investing Network, the Skoll Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, the Smithsonian Foundation, and the Gates Foundation.

In addition, many universities have decided to be part of the Global Development Lab, including the University of California at Berkeley, Duke University, Johns Hopkins Univesrity, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute, Texas A&M University, and the College of William and Mary. Sweden has also decided to donate to the creation of the lab.

Together all of these groups have contributed over $30 billion in investments and have also provided technology, experts on the subject, and the capabilities to conduct necessary research and development.

Shah went on to explain the lab by saying that, “The Lab will engage a global community of inventors, academics, researchers, entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate leaders in science and technology to invent, test, and scale the most promising and cost effective solutions to end extreme poverty.”

Shah believes that Americans can lead the effort to eliminate poverty, but admits that it will take time. He hopes that by forming these partnerships and creating the Global Development Lab, USAID will be able to help construct the best solutions to worldwide problems.

Prior to being the USAID administrator, Shah served as the undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has worked with Clinton before. One example of their work together was when Shah was applying scientific techniques to improve agriculture in conjunction with Clinton’s work on a global food initiative. Shah hoped to combine these efforts, and his operations in USAID work towards that goal.

The Global Development Lab will work on developing cost-effective products that incorporate the newest discoveries in science, but will also work on solving other problems, such as hunger, disease, and literacy. By bringing together the greatest minds from several different fields, the Global Development Lab will have all the necessary resources to reach its goals.

In light of the announcement, Lana Stoll of USAID said, “By tapping into things that really make America what it is, which is our entrepreneurial spirit, our scientific expertise, and our real commitment to help people, you have a real ability to accelerate our impact.”

– Julie Guacci

Sources: TIMEThe Skoll Foundation
Photo: Still4Hill

In 1995, Hillary Clinton took the stage at the fourth annual United Nations Conference on Women in Beijing. She listed the atrocities and violations committed against women and girls around the world.

Although women comprise half of the human population, they are 70 percent of the world’s poor and two-thirds of women are illiterate. Women in the informal labor economy remain unprotected and at risk of exploitation. Girls around the world are at risk of sexual violence, rape, domestic abuse and child marriage.

Almost 20 years later, Clinton’s speech is still remembered for being a firm declaration of women’s rights on the international stage. Not only was it a message for the Chinese government, but a call to countries around the world to promote women’s rights as human rights.

As a United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton continued to promote women’s rights and empowerment both domestically and internationally. During her four-year tenure, she visited 112 countries, spreading awareness of human rights abuses.

Since leaving the State Department in 2013, she became involved with a new project: the Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The Clinton Foundation has partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to further women’s rights.

Although there has been much progression in the 21th century, Clinton warns that there is little data to accurately measure the advancement made in women’s rights globally. This foundation seeks to record and analyze the progress of women by collecting data and figures from traditional and digital sources.

This concrete data will show world leaders how advancing women and human rights is linked with economic development. By empowering and including women in its economic and social life, communities and families are enhanced and can reach their full potential.

On February 25, 2014, Clinton spoke at Georgetown University’s annual Hillary Rodham Clinton Awards for Advancing Women in Peace and Security. The former Secretary of State held that men are also responsible for advancing and protecting women’s rights and that it is not purely a women’s issue. Men, boys, women and girls all suffer from violence and discrimination against females.

Hillary Clinton remains a strong and popular potential candidate for the 2016 Democratic Nomination for presidency. As a woman and potential nomination candidate, she is subjected to greater and unequal focus on her physical appearance, her age, and her hairstyles. And although Clinton has proved her strength, wisdom and determination for decades as a Senator, First Lady of the United States and U.S. Secretary of State, she is still affected by sexism and the widespread notion of what women should and should not aspire to be.

“If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights once and for all. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely -and the right to be heard,” Clinton said in 1995.

– Sarah Yan

Sources: Eloquent Woman, MSNBC, Huffington Post
Photo: ABC

On February 13, Hillary Clinton, joined by Melinda Gates, spoke at New York University in a conversation called “Women and Girls Count.” The largely female audience received a special message from Clinton: “Develop skin as tough as rhinoceros hide.”

Clinton’s speech at NYU, moderated by her daughter Chelsea, was part of the joint venture of both the Clinton and the Gates Foundation called, “No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project.” The initiative’s goal is to both evaluate and spread awareness of the progress made by women and girls since the United Nations Fourth World Conference of Women that took place in Beijing.

The foundations have teamed up with technological leaders to gather data about the participation of women and girls worldwide. In a recent press release by the Clinton Foundation, the data will be released in a report in 2015.

In regard to the importance of having data, Clinton said, “If we don’t have data, we can’t tell you or ourselves what has been accomplished and what is left to do.” She went on to say, “We have to be able to prove the naysayers wrong.”

Both Clinton women and Gates took a number of questions on different topics. The topics included the recent decrease in women in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), questions on women being in leadership positions, as well as the role that men can play in empowering women in the workplace.

Clinton and Gates strongly addressed how men can support women and how they can encourage younger women to become leaders. Clinton said, “I think the last three presidents have modeled with their daughters how male leaders can invest in their daughters, but I would like to see more leaders in countries where women are second class citizens or below to set a standard as well.”

Clinton made an interesting point in noting that she believes women and girls need to receive more encouragement than males of the same age. She offered her own insight in saying, “I have employed by this time a lot of very talented young men and young women and offering a promotion or expanded responsibilities almost always provokes a response something like, ‘I don’t know if I could do that’ or ‘Are you sure I could do that?’” Clinton went on to make a larger point in that young men very rarely make the same comments.

Gates named Warren Buffet, one of the Gates Foundation’s partners, as an example of a male leader who has been of great help to many women in developing their careers. Gates believes that it is important for more men to do the same.

Furthermore, Gates said in reference to the world’s future female leaders, “Be yourself. Don’t use the few stereotypes of ‘female leadership.’ Be yourself when you lead and have a base of support that will always support you.”

Clinton and Gates had a profound impact on the audience, who gave the women a standing ovation upon both their entry and exit. After the talk, #NoCeilings was trending on Twitter.

It will be interesting to see what impact the report will have when it is released in 2015 and if it will help to create a group of new female leaders.

– Julie Guacci

Sources: NYU Local, ABC News
Photo: Clinton Foundation

Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State, painted the global picture of the extensive progress that governments, partners, and organizations have made in working together for the “full and equal participation of women in political, civil, economic, social and cultural life” at the highly anticipated 2013 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). She noted that as more women hold jobs and serve in public office around the world, their economic, political and social contributions have multiplied.

Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media was the moderator for the plenary session on empowering women decision-makers in a global economy. The impressive panel of participants included notables such as Her Excellency, Sheikha Luhna Al Qasimi (Minister of International Cooperation and Development in the U.A.E.), Dr. Irwin Jacobs (founding chairman and emeritus CEO of Qualcomm), Arne Sorenson (President and CEO of Marriot International Inc.), and Halla Tormasdottir (founder and chair of Sisters Capital).

Clinton said, “The call for action for the global community, to work for laws, reforms and social changes necessary to ensure women and girls everywhere finally have the opportunity they deserve to live up to their God-given potentials and to contribute fully to the progress and prosperity of their societies.”

Clinton accentuated that the importance of “full and equal participation of women” as economic prosperity for all sectors is connected to the economic equality for women. She announced three new CGI commitments promoting the same spirit.

Firstly, 24 partners have committed to advance women in business and new markets. Their aim is to mobilize $1.5 billion over the next five years on “women-owned businesses to help create a sustainable pipeline of women around the world.” In addition, they will provide “15,000 women entrepreneurs with supplier readiness initiatives, including training and mentorship opportunities, so that they can have skills, tools and relationships necessary to achieve greater access to markets and capital.”

Secondly, focus on removing barriers with regards to women’s access to technology. Five partners have committed to invest $10 million for programs in India, Africa, and the U.S. to encourage parents and schools to teach technology subjects to women. The investment will also extend mentoring, small grants and professional opportunities for women targeted at “creating employee pipelines of 2,000 girls and women for the technology sector.” There are plans to expand this program to other countries over the next three years.

Thirdly, Intel is partnering with Care, World Vision, World Pulse, ChangeCorp Inc., and to connect women in six sub-Saharan African countries. The objective is to bring 5 million African young women online by merging digital learning into existing gender and development programming, and to create an educational gaming online platform so that learning can continue anywhere, regardless of location or distance.

Clinton closed the women’s plenary session with updates of two existing CGI commitments. She reported the results of Digital Democracy’s efforts in deploying new technology to address the issue of domestic violence of women in Haiti.

In 2010, Digital Democracy provided tools and training to augment the technical skills of 120 low-income women in Haiti. In addition, a 24-hour emergency response hotline was set up and connected women survivors to necessary support. The hotline received more than 8,000 calls and connected more than 300 survivors to help. Survivors could tell their stories on a free anonymous digital platform, and more than 1,100-documented gender based violence has been mapped through this comprehensive system.

Clinton also recognized Landesa’s accomplishments in strengthening the land rights of poor rural girls in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia since 2010. Landesa’s initiative in India has established 299-girl groups with more than 7,000 girls. They plan to reach out to 35,000 girls this year. In Northern Uganda, Landesa controlled a participatory model where girls decide their goals for land rights and a plan to achieve them. Landesa intends to extend this pilot project to other communities, as well.

These inspiring results of CGI partnerships around the world serve as a catalyst in encouraging the “full and equal participation of women” and mobilizing them into a powerful force for change.

– Flora Khoo

Sources: Clinton Global Initiative – Wednesday Plenary Session Video 1, Clinton Global Initiative – Wednesday Plenary Session Video 2
Photo: LA Times

quotes about diplomacy churchill
Tool of war or a path to peace? Art of compromise or art of deceit? Over the years, diplomacy has been viewed in many different ways. Below are quotes about diplomacy from five famous individuals, who each had their an opinion on diplomacy and its role in international relations.


5 Inspirational Quotes about Diplomacy


  1. “Diplomacy: the art of restraining power.” – Henry Kissinger, 56th U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. National Security Advisor and winner of the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize
  1. “Part of diplomacy is to open different definitions of self-interest.”- Hillary Clinton, 67th U.S. Secretary of State, former New York senator and former First Lady
  1. “Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.”- Winston Churchill, U.K. Prime Minister during World War II and recipient of the 1953 Nobel Prize for Literature
  1. “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”- Sun Tzu, Chinese general and author of “The Art of War”
  1. “To say nothing, especially when speaking, is half the art of diplomacy.”- Will Durant, author, philosopher and historian

–  Jordanna Packtor


Read global poverty quotes

Sources: Brainy Quote, Good Reads,, Encyclopedia Britannica,
Photo: History Today

Chefs of world leaders are teaming up to feed New York City’s hungry this year. These professional chefs are members of Le Club des Chefs de Chefs, the organization of chefs for the world’s leaders. They will be teaming up with InterContinental Hotels & Resorts to serve high quality food to more than 200 individuals in New York’s Xavier Mission. The 20 chefs involved will create food “fit for a king” and will use this special luncheon event as a way to highlight world hunger.

Some of the participating chefs include Chef Cristeta Pasia Comerford, Chef to President Obama, and Chef Christian Garcia, president of the club and personal chef to Prince Albert II of Monaco. Other participating chefs hail from Canada, India, Denmark, France, and Italy, amongst several other nations.

On Saturday July 27, the chefs provided a variety of home-style cooking at Xavier Mission. 10 special dishes were featured and available to the residents of the mission. The next week, 16 restaurants of InterContinental will feature the dishes as part of their “Fit for Royalty” Menu. The proceeds from these menu items will be donated to local food banks. The menu will allow guests of the restaurants to sample what world dignitaries eat and, at the same time, draw attention to the world hunger.

Most importantly, these chefs are engaging in a new type of diplomacy by gastronomy. The world’s food issues are a topic that needs to be addressed everywhere. By combining their experience and collaborating on ideas, today’s chefs can urge world leaders to tackle global hunger. Moreover, as food experts, chefs can be leaders in the discussion on food and hunger.

In a compelling article on CNN’s Eatocracy, Chef José Andrés outlines why he believes that chefs should be involved in the fight against hunger. He suggests that food promotes a sense of fellowship that extends beyond borders. As experts of food, chefs can bridge the gap between world leaders using food as common ground.

Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself has said, “Better and more effective diplomacy can happen around a dining table than at a conference table.” Diplomacy by gastronomy has the ability to be a powerful tool in mobilizing the fight against world hunger. By sharing their recipes, 20 world leader’s chefs will be able to both feed the hungry and mobilize action against food insecurity.

– Grace Zhao

Sources: CNN Eatocracy
Sources: New York Times

Women from rural and marginalized communities can play a key role in ending corruption. Developing countries often have the reputation for corrupt governments which in turn prolong their impoverished condition. It is usually grassroots women, the vulnerable and least empowered in these countries, who suffer the most. The irony is that it is women who are the key to ending poverty in these countries. Decision makers should not neglect to involve women when forming anti-corruption strategies – it would be counter-productive to their development not to.

On June 13th, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at her husband’s Global Initiative activism event. Her speech advocated for the advancement of women and girls, and improving the economic condition in developing countries. “When women participate in politics, the effects ripple out across society,” said Clinton. She explained that when women are educated and economically empowered, her family benefits and more get educated, grow healthier, and become even more empowered. Further, when women are involved in decision-making, the world becomes a safer place. Women are the primary caretakers of their households and communities, and as such, enabling women empowerment is a key strategy for lifting a majority out of poverty. Similarly, when women participate in politics, the world becomes a safer place.

Between 2011 and 2012, the UNDP–along with other development groups–conducted a research study on the gendered impact of corruption in poor communities. The research covered 11 communities across 8 countries – interviewing 392 women and 79 men about the grassroots women’s perceptions and lived experiences of corruption in developing countries. The findings and recommendations were published in a 2012 UNDP document titled, “Seeing Beyond the State: Grassroots Women’s Perspectives on Corruption and Anti-Corruption.”

The results?

Comprehensive anti-corruption efforts require the combined efforts of international agencies, national and local governments, and–more importantly–the women and communities who are directly affected. The state has an instrumental role to play in the creation of an enabling environment in the form of gender-sensitive policies, legislations and mechanisms to combat corruption. International agencies should focus on facilitating a supportive environment for women and men to organize around and fight corruption, including the gender dimensions of corruption. To ensure that programming and policies are relevant and effective for poor communities and women especially, grassroots women should be involved at all stages of anti-corruption interventions, including design, implementation, and evaluation.

Specific strategies that were recommended include (but are not limited to):

  • Establishing anonymous and safe spaces for women to report corruption with clear channels for redressing incidents
  • Forming women-led community monitoring groups
  • Raising awareness about bribery’s different impact on men’s and women’s everyday lives by using media, public hearings, theatre and art, and other communication vehicles
  • Hosting public, but safe, dialogue forums with local government so women can discuss and report corruption, thus ensuring that elected leaders understand local contexts and develop constituencies among grassroots groups
  • Organizing public registration days for births, marriage certificates, etc., a strategy that increases the openness and transparency of what were previously private transactions vulnerable to briberies
  • Allowing a free and independent press that is enabled to investigate, report, and publish on corruption.

– Maria Caluag

Sources: CGI, UNDP
Photo: Guardian

Clean Cookstoves CampaignHunger is not the only food-related problem faced by people in the poorest parts of the world. Even if people have access to nourishing foods, the methods they use to prepare meals can pose significant health risks in the form of in-home pollution.

According to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, nearly 3 billion people globally cook food and heat their homes using open fires or traditional cookstoves. Smoke exposure from these methods poses a significant global health threat that is responsible for 4 million premature deaths every year, according to Radha Muthiah, executive director of the Alliance. Those figures, Muthiah noted, make “the simple act of cooking a meal the fourth greatest health risk in the world.” Women and children are particularly vulnerable.

The Alliance is a large partnership-based organization that was launched by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative. It started with just 19 founding partners. Three years later the organization is significantly larger; currently, it is working with 700 partners around the world.

The success of the Alliance lies in an early effort to outline clear goals and methods of achieving those goals. The ultimate vision is to achieve universal clean cookstove adoption by 2030, but the organization is taking a step-by-step approach. First, the organization is working to get 100 million households globally to adopt clean cookstoves and fuel by 2020. To reach that goal, the organization will work with its partners on six continents.

According to the Alliance’s website, the organization uses a three-pronged strategy: enhance demand, foster an enabling environment and strengthen supply. Enhancing demand involves everything from raising consumer awareness to providing access to financing and developing better technologies. Strengthening supply means making sure there are enough cookstoves available for consumers at prices they can afford. Fostering an enabling environment involves promoting international standards and documenting new research about the benefits of clean cookstoves.

The Alliance has had a number of famous champions in addition to Clinton. They include actor Julia Roberts, Chef Jose Andres, and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

There have been some questions about the long-term health effects of the clean cookstove movement since it started gathering steam. In 2012, a study by a group of Harvard University and MIT professors looked at one specific city, Orissa, India, where the alliance had worked. The study found that there was a meaningful reduction in smoke inhalation during the first year a household used a clean cookstove, but the benefits diminished as time went on because the stoves were often abandoned if they were damaged. The results provided a note on how the movement could be improved.

– Liza Casabona

Sources: Devex, Clean Cookstoves, Bloomberg
Photo: US Embassy

Hillary Clinton's Commitment to Women EmpowermentHillary Clinton recently made her first appearance since stepping down as secretary of state in January. She appeared at the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards, a ceremony acknowledging female leaders in countries such as Brazil, Somalia, and the Palestinian territories. Her message, as well as the message of the Vital Voices organization as a whole, is for women empowerment and for making the voices of women heard. According to the Vital Voices website, their mission is “to identify, invest in and bring visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities.”

Clinton has become the poster child for women’s empowerment as she continues to break gender barriers in her political career in the United States and place women issues as a higher priority on the agenda. Hillary Clinton states, “When I became secretary of state, I was determined to weave this perspective into the fabric of American foreign policy,” and she did just that when she stepped in and helped free Cambodian women that was imprisoned simply for protesting (a story she recollected upon during the ceremony).

Her first appearance came at a very interesting time, mere hours after went live online. This website, formed by supporters of Hillary Clinton, only adds fuel to the rumor that Hillary Clinton is a possible presidential candidate for 2016. The focus of Hillary Clinton’s speech at the ceremony at the Kennedy Center was about acknowledging female empowerment and leaders across the globe and the call for greater gender equality.

– Angela Hooks

Source: NY Times
Video: Associated Press

Hillary Clinton's Book on Foreign Policy Coming in 2014
If Hillary Clinton’s not traveling the wold as Secretary of State, or running for president, or looking over legislation as a member of Congress, or raising a family, then she is writing a new book. According to Simon & Schuster, Hillary Clinton has a book on American foreign policy coming out in 2014. Simon & Schuster president and CEO, Carolyn Reidy, said that “Hillary Clinton has redefined the meaning of ‘trailblazer’ in every phase of her career on the world stage, as First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, and notably, as an author.”

In framing her thoughts on foreign policy, Clinton will be pulling from her personal experiences, especially as Secretary of State. This position provided Clinton with many first-hand, and occasionally dramatic, experiences that give her a unique perspective of American foreign policy laws and legislation and how they directly affect other countries and the United States’ relationship with these other countries.

The news release from Simon & Schuster provides greater detail on the nature of Clinton’s book, which will also include her thoughts on American leadership in the future world, the important role of girls and women to the global and developing economies, as well as her opinions on the killing of Osama bin Laden and the Libyan conflict. Her thoughts on the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime in Libya will be insightful in the face of the many critiques from the Republican party.

The book, which has yet to be named, is expected to be published in June of 2014. It could be an indicator of whether or not Hillary Clinton will be running for president in 2016 as it highlights her credentials and states her opinions and thoughts on how to handle foreign policy and the future direction of the United States.

– Angela Hooks

Source: NY Times
Photo: CNN