The Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) program is a leadership education and empowerment program launched by President Bill Clinton to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world. This prestigious experience activates students through year-round programming that includes access to topic experts and change agents, mentorship networks, financial resources, and community events including the annual CGI U meeting.
The CGI U class of 2020 includes over 800 accepted students, representing 113 countries, 39 states, and 320 schools. As the NC State representative for CGI U’s 60-member University Network, NC State Social Innovation + Entrepreneurship is proud to announce the three students from NC State who were accepted as part of this exceptional cohort.
Nancy Ingabire Abayo
Nancy is passionate about education in the world and extending her own education to help empower others. She is currently a PhD student studying Civil Engineering with an undergrad from Bucknell University in Civil Engineering and Geology. As an aspiring professor, she would like to participate in the improvement of infrastructure in East-Africa through academia, while conducting research internationally in Natural-Disaster-prone-regions.
A major focus in Nancy’s life is seeking opportunities to use her expertise to impact different communities and her Call to Action commitment is all about that. During the summer of 2019 Nancy led a project called Sci-Touche in Rwanda that focused on enhancing access to practical education. She spent that summer teaching physics to secondary school students at the Kigali Public Library using lab equipment purchased with the funds she and her co-founder, Assumpta Gasana, raised.
This year, Nancy is committed to expanding Sci-Touche to three more schools in 2020, increasing its impact by more than 50%. She will continue to hold the physics lessons herself at the Kigali Public Library in partnership with different Physics Teachers and plans to spend the next year fundraising money for the next phase of expansion in the project.
“My mission is to serve as an instrument of peace in my communities whether it be spiritually or intellectually…I live not just for me, but because I believe I can make a difference however little it might be.
Due to COVID-19, my plans for the summer and the progress of my CGIU commitment to action, Sci-Touche, have been altered, but I am not losing hope. CGIU is still a great experience I have been learning a great deal from my mentor, Christine Schindler, and other commitment makers. In spite of the pandemic, I look forward, with faith, to what Sci-Touche will accomplish in the next few months and beyond. Unfortunately, many students in Rwanda are unable to continue their courses due to limited resources; such as access to the internet and online educational materials, but that is an issue that we are trying to help address.
I have collected and shared a few resources with some local educators as we continue to brainstorm about what the next steps will be. Although Sci-Touche’s focus remains that of helping improve and promote hands-on STEM education in Rwanda, at this moment my priority (with the help of Assumpta Gasana, with whom the project started) is to help feed families that are most affected by the quarantine/lockdown. We started with funds from our previous fundraising endeavors to set up a GoFundMe page to help the families in need.”
Anna is currently an Industrial Design graduate student in the College of Design and was a member of the 2018-19 Social Innovation Fellows cohort. Before coming to NC State for her design degree, she was an Assistant Vice President at Credit Suisse for six years in the Investment Bank/Capital Markets division.
“I wanted so badly to fit into the expected, stereotypical mold of ‘success.’ I spent six years working in an industry that gave me the opportunity to learn a great deal about finance, however…[j]umping from [the] corporate world into [the] creative world has been my proudest achievement.”
A first-generation immigrant, Anna has fought between the expectation of having a “practical”, income focused career and a desire to utilize her creative and artistic talents. As someone with a unique perspective on how vital and challenging finances can be, she wants to use her own experience and background to empower other young women to be entrepreneurial and educated in how to manage their finances.
Her CGI U Commitment to Action is to create financial literacy frameworks to help young women entrepreneurs in the United States own their financial success, generate wealth, and effectively manage it. Anna has established partnerships with the NC State Entrepreneurship office to connect with female startup owners and cofounders to give them the knowledge, tools and resources to navigate the financial sphere of starting a company. Anna hopes this approach will help fill the gap in finance literacy needed for young cofounders.
Naila is an inspiration when it comes to never being too young to start making a difference. She is a class of 2020 Park Scholar majoring in Biomedical Engineering and a Self-Design major in Global Health Communication and Development. Recently awarded the prestigious Payne International Development Fellowship, Naila is actively involved in trying to improve public health work. During her time in as an undergrad, she has been involved in public health research both locally with the GenX Exposure Study and globally while studying abroad in Botswana.
Naila became a passionate advocate for health equity after seeing the profound environmental health disparities in her home country of Tanzania. Locally in North Carolina and the U.S. she has lobbied for marginalized voices by co-writing resolutions that would affect the university ban on gender-inclusive housing and protecting Title IX legislation. One major concern she has with public health is food waste and how much it contributes to carbon emissions and food insecurity.
“No matter one’s zip code, nationality or occupation status, each individual will have access to quality health care, be able to live in a non-toxic environment, and [have] other barriers to global health equity removed.”
To address local food waste, Naila’s CGI U committment to action involves creating a volunteer-based food recovery service that focuses on one-off events like weddings and conferences in North Carolina. This action is meant to reduce food waste, provide this nourishment to local hunger-relief non-profits, reduce greenhouse emissions, and inform on the amount of food waste being produced in Raleigh’s hospitality sector.
Her plans included partnering with local NGOs, catering companies, and venues to recruit partners to both donate and receive the saved food and with local environmental and hunger-relief NGOs to recruit volunteers and advertise this service. The expected outcome of this project is to divert over a ton of food and provide over two thousand meals in 24 months.
CGI U Virtual Meeting
This year’s annual CGI U student meeting, originally scheduled to be hosted at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, has been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. However, on April 18th, 2020, dedicated students from across the world will come together for a virtual convening to discuss how to support each other and build resilience in our communities through student action. The agenda includes: plenary sessions with President Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton and health care professionals and a live “town hall” to answer questions submitted by CGIU student delegates. Tune in at 12pm ET this Saturday to hear the conversation.