Clinton Expects Global Financial Crisis to Affect Inaugural Asian Global Initiative

Former president Bill Clinton said that while the global financial crisis is likely to hurt fundraising for the inaugural meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in Asia, he will continue to work to develop a culture of giving in the region, Reuters reports.

Having successfully launched the annual CGI summits in New York City in 2005 — meetings at which some 1,200 pledges valued at $46 billion have been made to date, affecting more than 200 million lives in 150 countries — Clinton recently announced that the first annual Asian CGI meeting would be held in Hong Kong in early December and would address regional challenges in education, energy and climate change, and public health. "Yes, there will be some problems with the economy probably, but I hope that the exercise will serve to swell the ranks of nongovernmental action throughout Asia," Clinton said.

Regardless of the effectiveness of government policies or how vibrant the private sector is, the former president added, holes exist in society that can only be filled by citizen action channeled through the nongovernmental sector. "Countries are stronger when they have a vibrant civil society," said Clinton. "If we can begin to make [people understand that], I think you will see a big increase in this activity in Asia."

Michelle Nichols. "Bill Clinton Seeks Asian Donors to Ease Global Ills." Reuters 10/29/2008.