Annual Meeting 2008: Global Citizen Awards™

The Clinton Global Citizen Awards™ were established in 2007 to recognize extraordinary individuals who have demonstrated visionary leadership in solving pressing global challenges. Through their work, these citizens have proven that diverse sectors of society including philanthropic, public service, corporate, and civic organizations can work together successfully to implement and devise solutions that effect positive, lasting social change.

Nominated by a group of global leaders, the 2008 honorees were chosen based on their innovative and effective approaches to making positive global change, and on their work's potential for scalable growth and sustainability. These are leaders whose efforts transcend borders, change lives, and set an example for us all.

Hosted by Maria Bartiromo, the 2008 program featured musical performances by Youssou Ndour and James Taylor and will be broadcast on CNBC. Photos from the 2008 program are available here.

The 2009 awards ceremony will take place at the CGI Fifth Annual Meeting on Thursday, September 24.

Jennifer and Peter Buffett Jennifer and Peter Buffett
Co-chairs, NoVo Foundation
To Jennifer and Peter Buffett, philanthropy has never meant simply writing a check. As co-founders of the NoVo Foundation, the Buffetts have implemented a new, holistic approach to philanthropy that aims to leverage the capacity of existing organizations to advance change and to strive toward a more balanced world.

The Buffetts' philanthropy through the Spirit Foundation historically supported social service, environmental, and arts organizations, primarily in the Midwest. As their experience as funders grew, so did their wish to work in partnership with organizations toward more clearly defined social goals. The foundation's name has since evolved into "NoVo" which is Latin for "change, alter, invent", and reflects the innovative nature of its work. The NoVo Foundation seeks to foster a transformation in global society from domination and exploitation to collaboration and partnership, empowering women and girls as the primary agents of change. Among various targeted investments, the NoVo Foundation has pledged $30 million over five years to help rebuild the education systems and address violence against women and girls in post-conflict West Africa, and has joined forces in a $100 million funding collaborative called "the girl effect" to promote the empowerment of adolescent girls as a way to end the cycle of poverty.

The Buffetts have taken a fresh approach to fostering positive, sustainable change. Their efforts consistently catalyze action in the donor community, helping others to examine pressing issues and act to solve them.

Xiaoyi (Sheri) Liao Xiaoyi (Sheri) Liao
Founder and President, Global Village of Beijing
Sheri Liao, one of China's best-known environmental activists, founded Global Village of Beijing (GVB) in 1996 with her personal savings. Within a decade, Liao had solidified GVB's international reputation as one of the most influential NGOs in China working to help the country raise its environmental consciousness.

Liao and GVB have promoted a "Green Life" standard of living and a grassroots approach to environmental sustainability. Since 1996, Liao and GVB have established an environmental program on Chinese public television, launched an environmental awareness campaign that led to the creation of the first garbage-sorting operation in the Beijing community, and cooperated with the Xuan Wu municipal government to found the first Green Community in China, which later became a national model accredited by the Chinese government. Liao and GVB have also worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce global mercury emissions from coal and oil-fired power plants.

Most recently, Liao was an environmental adviser to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Liao and GVB designed a "Green Olympic Train" campaign with the Railway Ministry to preserve biodiversity in Southwest China, and a "Green Angels" project that mobilized 830,000 schoolchildren and their families to make commitments to lead greener lives. Since the devastating earthquake hit Sichuan Province in May of this year, Liao has devoted most of her time to rebuilding sustainable villages in the quake-stricken region.

Liao's innovative work and dedication have raised our environmental consciousness, challenging us to "think green" for a better future.

Julio Frenk Julio Frenk
Senior Fellow, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
President, Carso Health Institute

A visionary and a statesman, Julio Frenk is one of the greatest authorities in the field of public health. He served as minister of health of Mexico from 2000 to 2006. In this capacity, his administration launched Seguro Popular, an ambitious effort to provide universal health care for families previously excluded from social health insurance. Through his efforts, Mexican insurance is expanding access to quality care for almost 50 million Mexicans.

The strength of Frenk's ideas and dedication are evident in his continuing role as an institution builder. Prior to his position as minister of health, Frenk served as an executive director at the World Health Organization; as executive vice president of the Mexican Health Foundation, a private non-profit organization; and as founding director-general of the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico, which has become one of the leading teaching and research centers in the developing world.

Frenk will assume the position as the new dean of the Harvard School of Public Health in January 2009. He currently serves as senior fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; as chairman of the board of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington; and as president of the CARSO Health Institute in Mexico City, a new foundation focusing on health-system innovations in Latin America.

Julio Frenk's pragmatic and multidisciplinary approach to eliminating health disparities has changed the way practitioners and policy makers think about health across the world, bringing a greater focus on evidence-based decision-making with life-saving results.

Neville Isdell Neville Isdell
Chairman of the Board, the Coca-Cola Company
Neville Isdell is one of the most articulate advocates for social action in the business community. As CEO (through July 2008) and Chairman of The Coca-Cola Company, Isdell has defined his tenure with a strong engagement with government and NGOs.

Born in Northern Ireland and raised in Africa, Isdell joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1966 in Zambia and has since worked in 11 countries. Under his leadership, the company has built partnerships that support more than 120 community water projects in over 50 countries. With the World Wildlife Fund, he has helped to conserve seven of the most critical freshwater river basins, spanning some 20 countries; with USAID, The Coca-Cola Company is helping a quarter of a million people in 17 countries gain access to safe water; and with the United Nations, Isdell has focused the Company's engagement with both the UN Global Compact and CEO Water Mandate.

Isdell has been a strong proponent for foreign direct investment as a way to strengthen economies around the world. He led the introduction of The Coca-Cola Company's entry into the former Soviet Union and into Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and has been a strong advocate of the private sector's leadership role in combating HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Through his pioneering leadership at The Coca-Cola Company and beyond, Isdell has verified that the private sector has immeasurable capacity to strengthen the communities it serves and to lead the way to shape a better future.

The Inaugural Clinton Global Citizen Awards, held in 2007, honored: Andre Agassi, Founder, Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation; Fazle Abed, Founder and Chairperson, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee; Vicky Colbert, Executive Director, Escuela Nueva Foundation; and John T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco.