t was exactly 8 am when Bill Clinton began addressing the audience on the second day of the Clinton Global Initiative meeting at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers on September 21.
The former US President, on both days, began the proceedings with honouring people who had made a commitment in one of the four focus areas -- energy and climate change, world health, poverty alleviation and mitigating religious and ethnic conflicts.
The first group on Thursday morning included actor-comedian Chris Tucker. After the signing of the commitment sheet, Clinton turned the microphone over to him. "Now I want to wake everybody up," he said, smiling. There was, indeed, a sudden buzz throughout the room. But Chris was sombre. "Thank you all for coming," was almost all he said. "God bless you."
Beside Tucker, Anna Hathaway (Ella Enchanted, The Devil Wears Prada), Russell Simmons, who is called the godfather of hip-hop, and cyclist Lance Armstrong were present at the second annual CGI meeting. Armstrong was one of the panelists in a session on treatment of global chronic diseases.
The attendees also included First Lady Laura Bush, former US vice president Al Gore, former US secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, Queen Rania and King Abdullah II of Jordan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.
Almost 50 heads of State, former or current, industry, political and social leaders attended the event.
Text: Monika Joshi | Photographs: Paresh Gandhi
The Clinton Global Initiative 2006