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President Bill Clinton in San Diego at UCSD Last Weekend

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Former president Bill Clinton was in San Diego this past weekend, wrapping up the last leg of the Clinton Global Initiative University conferences.  The Clinton Global Initiative is part of the Clinton Foundation, founded by former U.S. president Bill Clinton in 2005. It aims to convene global leaders in order to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Students from 50 states and 90 countries congregated at UC San Diego (UCSD). The CGIU has been to universities in New Orleans, Texas and Miami.  The conference is devoted to developing and implementing projects (called “commitments”) to global issues, such as poverty, pollution and college affordability.

This is the first time that CGI U has been on the West Coast. Clinton’s reason for selecting UCSD was its strong ranking in terms of community service and research in science; he cited the Washington Monthly’s ranking of UCSD as no. 1 in government research expenditures.

Out of the 16 commitments initially chosen, the winning idea was a project called “The School Fund” (www.theschoolfund.org); developed by two students from Brown University who wanted to provide money to impoverished children in the developing world to help them afford a basic education so they created a website that allows users to pay school fees for students from Tanzania, Kenya and Haiti.

Other guests that attended the event included Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, actor Sean Penn, actress Drew Barrymore, and singer Mandy Moore.

The San Diego event ended with the San Diego Food Bank, now renamed the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, receiving a$1.76 million donation by auto dealer Stephen Cushman and Qualcomm co-founder, Irwin Jacobs.  This donation will leave the food bank debt free and allow them to give 55,000 more meals each month.

Established in 1977, the food bank has provided food to people in need around San Diego county, and gives out approximately 15 million pounds of food a year.

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