President Bill Clinton on SVQF

President Bill Clinton’s Summation and Closing Address at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

“Almost every commitment in some way or another seeks to reduce the impact of inequality, which we know is staggering, across the globe and even within developing countries. Half the world’s people still live on less than a dollar a day. Chelsea told me this morning that Fortune had just published its annual list of 100 richest Americans, and for the first time, they’re all billionaires. And the poorest one is worth a paltry two billion. And yet, poverty among working people has gone up in this country. So this inequality is a problem that is getting worse, and will eventually challenge existing democracies and coherent societies, as well as serve as enormous barriers to perfect human relations in emerging economies. A lot of our commitments deal with that. I want to mention one. The Sanam Vaziri Quraishi Foundation partnered with the renowned child rights activist, Craig Kielburger and his organization, Free The Children, to adopt a village in the Masai Mara of Kenya. They’re going to provide several new schools and essential community services, including clean water. And I mention this because they’re able to help a thousand children and adults for the relatively modest sum of $68,000. Again, this is a replicable model. So if you care about inequality and you don’t have a fortune to spend but you’d like to do something to change the reality of people’s lives on the ground, this is an example. And Kenya, it’s very important because when the new administration came in Kenya, they said one of the dumbest things that happens in poor countries all over the world, and one of the reasons we wound up with so many kids in radical madrassas in Pakistan, is that poor countries can’t afford to fund their education system, so they charge the families of the poorest kids to send their kids to school, in country after country. They abolished those fees in Kenya. Guess what? in 30 days another million kids showed up. Within six months, two million more children had shown up for the schools. But they didn’t have schools, they didn’t have teachers, they didn’t have materials. They never dreamed it would be that explosive. So here is something you can do at an affordable price, to have a direct and tangible impact on inequality.”

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