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Scholars and UWCs Commit to the Clinton Global Initiative

“To Make a Difference in the World”

For Wartburg College senior Liza Gashi (Kosovo, UWC Costa Rica), the most inspiring part of attending a Clinton Global Initiative University gathering was coming together with a thousand young people — “from all over the world, and all the colleges in the U.S.,” she said. “It was just amazing to see how committed young people are to changing the world and turning their ideas into action.”

 
The UWC movement has formed a growing partnership with the CGI University, which Bill Clinton launched in 2007. Built on the model of the Clinton Global Initiative, which spotlights adult leaders’ commitments to solving world problems, the CGI University convenes a yearly meeting where students, experts, and celebrities discuss and develop projects in education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health. 
 
CGI focuses on commitments. And UWC International, the umbrella organization of the United World College movement, has committed to providing 100 scholarships to UWC schools for young women from countries afflicted by conflict. At the same time, CGI U has provided Outstanding Commitment Awards to seven now-graduated Davis UWC Scholars. Ten current scholars have made CGI U Commitments, and several have attended the annual gathering.
 
“CGI U is a global network of young people seeking to use the resources at their disposal to make a difference in the world,” President Clinton said last year.
 
“For me, being a commitment maker means a lot,” said Lomoro “Moses” Santino (South Sudan, UWC Costa Rica, Wartburg ’13). “Once you are listed like that, you feel that you have a responsibility to do things. I have a passion to help — so I see this as a way of kick-starting my ideas and pushing me forward.”
 
Here are the CGI U–recognized projects of four Davis UWC Scholars: 
 
In Kosovo and South Sudan respectively, Liza Gashi and Moses Santino have each provided a group of 20 young women with sewing machines, along with training and a small amount of capital, to start small businesses. The South Sudanese women in his project, most of whom lost their husbands to war, “work together every day, making school uniforms,” said Moses. “They are making some good money.”
 
In Guatemala, a group of Tufts students including Sasha de Beausset (USA/Guatemala, UWC-USA, Tufts ’12) won a Commitment Award for BUILD Guatemala, through which they worked on community and business development with a rural free-trade coffee cooperative. “We were able to increase the production in certain areas of the cooperative by double,” Sasha reported.
 
In Zimbabwe, Harvard senior Dalumuzi Mhlanga (Swaziland, Waterford Kamhlaba UWC) founded Lead Us Today, which has provided leadership and entrepreneurship training to 578 students in eight high schools. “Each school is home to a community learning center,” he said, “all of which have mobilized over 400 community members to design and implement 16 community development projects — such as a fruit and vegetable garden benefiting HIV/AIDS patients, and a community recycling campaign.”
 
For Liza Gashi, who co-founded and chairs the UWC National Committee of Kosovo, getting involved with CGI U “has reinforced the UWC ideal, how we try to make an impact in people’s lives, and in our personal lives. You realize that someone else had an idea similar to yours — and it worked.”