By Isabelle Foster
This October, Public Policy senior Isabelle Foster had the opportunity to travel to Northeastern University to attend the 10th annual Clinton Global Initiative University conference. Lead by Former President Bill Clinton and Stanford alumna Chelsea Clinton, the meeting brought together over 1,100 students from around the world. Each year, students involved with socially oriented projects can apply to attend this conference, where they showcase their ‘Commitments to Action,’ or their community-oriented, social action projects. With student project broadly falling into the categories of Education, Environment and Climate Change, Peace and Human Rights, Poverty Alleviation, and Public Health, there was a diverse assortment of topics that allowed participants to learn from each other and share advice. The conference included several guest speakers, such as Paul Farmer from Partners in Health, Madeline Albright, and Stanford alumna, Congressman Joe Kennedy III. It also included general discussions lead by former president Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.
After taking the class Ending Poverty with Technology this past winter with Professor David Grusky, Isabelle started to research the development of a mobile technology that could be used to increase communication for farmers in workers' cooperatives in Paraguay. With support from the Center for Poverty and Inequality, Isabelle had the opportunity to travel to Paraguay this summer to conduct interviews and continue to develop her idea. At the conference this October, she was then able to share her idea with other students, learn about their project ideas, and attend workshop sessions intended to build the capacity of students for achieving their goals. The Clinton Global Initiative University conference was a unique opportunity that provided inspiration, insight, and skill development for Isabelle. She has been able to connect and stay in touch with other students also interested in the social space and has been inspired by the passion the other students and speakers demonstrated. This conference has been a highlight of her time at Stanford and is one example of how the Public Policy Program provides students with the opportunity to continue their learning outside the classroom. Isabelle is grateful to the support of the Public Policy Program for making this trip possible.