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Clinton Global Initiative University Announces Winners of the 2009 Outstanding Commitment Awards

For Immediate Release: May 29, 2009
Contact: Clinton Foundation Press Office, 212.348.0360

Clinton Global Initiative University Announces Winners of the 2009 Outstanding Commitment Awards

New York, NY - Today, the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), in partnership with the Pat Tillman Foundation and the Wal-Mart Foundation, announced the winners of seventy-eight student grants through the CGI U Outstanding Commitment Awards. The Pat Tillman Foundation and the Wal-Mart Foundation have made $400,000 available to exceptional students who have developed innovative, high-impact Commitments to Action aimed at improving communities and lives around the world.

“CGI U offers college students a space to create positive change in local communities or on a global scale,” said Robert Harrison, CEO of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). “Funding provided by the Pat Tillman Foundation and the Wal-Mart Foundation for the Outstanding Commitment Awards will ensure that these exceptional commitments are able to achieve the impact these extraordinary students have envisioned.”

Winners will receive funding to implement their CGI U Commitments to Action, which are new, specific, and measurable plans to address a current global challenges across the five focus areas of Education, Energy and Climate Change, Global Health, Peace & Human Rights, and Poverty Alleviation. To date, over 1,700 commitments have been made by students, universities, and youth organizations. To learn more, please visit

The CGI U Outstanding Commitment Awards were piloted in CGI U’s inaugural year to provide financial support to innovative, student-driven initiatives. This year, both The Pat Tillman Foundation and The Wal-Mart Foundation have committed $200,000 each to fund student projects in CGI U’s five focus areas. The awards recognize students and student organizations from a wide variety of higher education institutions including community colleges, historically black colleges and universities, Ivy League schools, religious schools, tribal colleges, and state schools.

"When given the means every young person has the potential to make a significant impact in their community and our world," says Pat Tillman Foundation Chair Marie Tillman. "Through this partnership, the Pat Tillman Foundation is able to further its mission of supporting young people dedicated to citizen service by using the Tillman Social Action Fund to put resources directly in the hands of students and empower them to take action."

"Wal-Mart is focused on sustainability at every level and the Wal-Mart Foundation is proud to partner with CGI U to reach hundreds of students and university officials who share our commitment to changing the environment for generations to come," said Margaret McKenna, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation.

The seventy-eight student projects being funded are diverse in their scope and approach. Aaron Johnson and his colleagues at Howard University are committing to assist in the demolition and new construction of a theater in an impoverished region in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. Together with Howard University’s Engineers without Borders chapter, these students will work with the Istituto di Cultural Brasile Italia Europa to employ construction practices that are ecologically sustainable while maintaining the historical and cultural heritage of the community.

Through the Smallholder Farmers Rural Radio, Nnaemeka Chiediebere Ikegwuonu of the University of Pavia, Italy plans to reach 3.5 million poor rural farmers living in isolated communities of Imo State, Nigeria with agricultural information in their native language. The project aims to reduce poverty in rural communities and accelerate economic empowerment of small farmers at the household level. Broadcast information will include techniques in crop production, livestock rearing, soil management, and small irrigation

Finally, Ashifi Gogo, a graduate student at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, is turning ordinary cell phones into potentially life-saving devices. Gogo is partnering with cell phone companies and key public health stakeholders in Ghana and Nigeria to create a system where any consumer with access to a cell phone can send a free text message to drug manufacturers to verify that their medication is real and not counterfeit. Gogo’s efforts will target counterfeited malarial medication in particular, which is thought to be responsible for some 200,000 preventable malaria deaths.

To view a full list of all 2009 CGI U Outstanding Commitment Award winners, please visit:



About the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U)
CGI U, a project of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), challenges college students and universities to address global problems with practical, innovative solutions. At CGI U, young people and universities do more than simply discuss the world’s challenges – they take real, concrete steps towards solving them. To date, 1,700 commitments have been made by students, universities, and youth organizations.

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 100 current and former heads of state, 14 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 1,400 commitments valued at $46 billion, which have already improved the lives of 200 million people in 150 countries. Commitments made at the 2008 Annual Meeting are expected to affect almost 160 million people. The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship; CGI Asia; and, an online portal where anybody can make their own Commitment to Action. CGI will hold its Fifth Annual Meeting September 22-25, 2009, in New York City. For more information, visit 

About the Pat Tillman Foundation
The Pat Tillman Foundation was created by Pat's family and friends, following his death in April 2004. Following his career as a fan favorite with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, Pat joined the U.S. Army and was killed during active duty in Eastern Afghanistan. As a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization, the Foundation's goal and mission is to carry forward Pat's legacy of leadership and civic action by supporting future generations of leaders who embody the ideal of citizen service. Through military or civilian service an entire generation of youth has the capacity to improve their communities and their country. The Pat Tillman Foundation provides them with the resources and support in order to make a difference.

About Philanthropy at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and The Wal-Mart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, The Wal-Mart Foundation funds initiatives focused on creating opportunities in education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From February 1, 2008 through January 31, 2009, Wal-Mart – and its domestic and international Foundations – gave more than $423 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally. To learn more, visit 

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