Students attend Clinton Global Initiative University event April 5-7

SMU students at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative University meeting in St. Louis
SMU students (left to right) Chibundu Nnake, Ashley Wali, William (Timm) Wooten, Joshua Bakarich, Rafhin Faruk and Daisuke (Dennis) Takeda at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative University meeting in St. Louis.

Six SMU students are attending the 6th annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) at Washington University in St. Louis April 5-7, 2013.

Former President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, head of the Clinton Foundation, will also participate in the CGI U gathering and announced this year’s agenda and featured participants in March. The event will bring together more than 1,000 college students with innovators, thought leaders, and civically engaged celebrities to address challenges facing their campuses and communities in areas such as education, environment and climate change, human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.

> SMU Forum: SMU joins the Clinton Global Initiative University Network

“I believe that this is the perfect chance to represent SMU on an international scale and showcase how much the school has contributed to help us help the community,” says Joshua Bakarich, a sophomore finance and economics major. Bakarich is co-founder of PROPS Social Ventures (Provide Relief Of Poverty Situations), a nonprofit microfinance and financial literacy initiative focusing on the downtown Dallas area.

Bakarich is eager to participate in CGI U because “our nonprofit is not only ready to continue promoting business growth and development in Dallas, but also to take the next step in developing a sustainable education curriculum,” he says. “I also want to bring home and share the experience at CGI U and encourage the rest of the school to get involved.”

“CGI U is an excellent way to not only learn from some of the best leaders of the world, but also meet and network with people like me who have taken on philanthropic causes,” says Ashley Wali, a sophomore finance major and fashion media minor. Wali has created The Nari Project, which develops “crisis kits” that provide battered women with basic necessities as they transition from critical situations to a secure environment. She plans to partner with Dallas’ Genesis Women’s Shelter to tailor a new version of the kit to fit the needs of North Texas women.

“One in four women will know domestic violence in her lifetime, while one in three teenage girls will be physically assaulted by a boyfriend,” Wali says, citing statistics provided by the Genesis Shelter. “And while it is important to address underlying cultural and social issues, the dire situation of these victims must be addressed first.” She is especially looking forward to a CGI U panel on empowering the next generation of girls and women, whose participants will include Chelsea Clinton, Muhammad Yunus, and Hawa Abdi Dhiblawe. “It is such a great opportunity to learn from some of the most inspirational leaders our generation has seen.”

> Watch live updates at the CGI U website

Clinton Global Initiative University Network logoMore than $400,000 is available for students to carry out proposals, called Commitments to Action, they will make at CGI U. The funding comes primarily through the CGI University Network of 33 colleges and universities, including SMU, that have committed to support, mentor, and provide seed funding to student innovators and entrepreneurs from their respective schools.

“The schools that have joined the CGI University Network are supporting student commitment-makers to create positive change across the globe,” said President Clinton. “This year, CGI U will bring together more than 1,000 college students representing all 50 states and six continents to explore concrete ways to build a better tomorrow. I look forward to working with the young leaders who come to Washington University in St. Louis this April with their enthusiasm and their ideas.”

Currently, SMU is supporting 8 students in Clinton Global Initiative University projects:

  • Joshua Bakarich
  • Rahfin Faruk
  • Richard Nixon
  • Chibundu Nnake
  • Daisuke Takeda
  • Ashley Wali
  • William Wooten
  • Michael Zincone

“It’s inspiring to witness the power of CGI U students, whose energy, ideas, optimism and determination continually expand the possibilities for public service,” said Chelsea Clinton, who serves on the board of the Clinton Foundation. “By joining an extraordinary community of young people, thought leaders, and experienced entrepreneurs, students attending CGI U 2013 will have the opportunity to make real contributions and forge connections that last a lifetime.”

> Find a complete schedule at the Clinton Global Initiative University homepage

Kelsey Reynolds (’14) contributed to this article.


2013 SMU Women’s Symposium minds the age gap March 6

SMU Women's Symposium 'Mind the Age Gap' logoFor its 48th anniversary, the SMU Women’s Symposium is using a new format to explore age-old questions about the differences and common ground among generations.

Associate Professor of Management and Organizations Ellen Jackofsky and senior art history major Bekah Boyer will participate in a moderated discussion on this year’s theme, “Mind the Age Gap.” The Emmie V. Baine Lecture event will take place during lunch on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

This year’s event promises to be “a very different kind of symposium,” says Karen Click, director of the SMU Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives. “I visit many different women’s organizations in Dallas, and most of their membership is over 60. They want my help in reaching out to younger women.”

But those efforts are hindered by “a feeling of incapability” shared across generations, Click says. “Younger women are worried about taking on the responsibility of keeping up the push for women’s rights. Older women are worried that their experience no longer matters. When women should be uniting to tackle issues, we’re stuck reinventing the wheel.”

This year’s event will focus on how those gaps affect the community, Click adds. “We see this specifically as an issue impacting Dallas, so we decided not to seek national speakers.”

> Find a complete list of 2013 SMU Women’s Symposium events

“We believe that each generation of women has something different to contribute,” says senior political science and management major Pooja Patel, co-chair of the Symposium’s CORE student planning committee. “By trying to minimize the ‘gap’ or disconnect between them, women’s groups in Dallas will be stronger and more effective.”

A variety of Symposium interest sessions will address topics ranging from the generationally shifting barriers to reproductive rights to how age affects women’s perceptions of appropriate (and inappropriate) fashion choices.

The Symposium is the oldest continuously running program of its kind in the country and attracts hundreds of community leaders, high school students and college students, faculty and staff members each year. And for some participants, including CORE co-chair Kimberly Elmazi, it’s a family legacy.

“All three of my elder sisters participated in CORE during their time at SMU,” says Elmazi, a junior political science and international studies major. “Eight years after my third eldest sister graduated from SMU, I joined the committee as a first-year. Now I’m a co-chair.”

More about the Symposium Student Planning CORE Committee

Elmazi is especially looking forward to the interest session “The Incredibles: Can You Have It All? Gender Roles and Reproductive Rights” because one of her sisters will be a speaker. “It’s funny how things have come full circle,” she says.

The Symposium will also recognize the winners of its 2013 Profiles in Leadership Awards and Gail Reese Ward Excellence in Mentoring Award. The recipients are:

Profiles in Leadership Awards

Gail Reese Ward Excellence in Mentoring Award

For more information, contact the Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives, 214-768-4792.

Kelsey Reynolds (’14) contributed to this article.

Learn more at the SMU Women’s Symposium website