Bill Clinton gets 194 pledges to tackle world woes

Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:24pm EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pledges to train 40,000 Tunisian youths to open businesses, give a million poor U.S. students access to broadband and teach 600 Indonesians a trade were among the commitments made at former U.S. President Bill Clinton's philanthropic summit, which ended on Thursday.

With a focus on creating jobs, programs for women and girls and sustainable consumption, heads of states, business leaders, humanitarians and celebrities at the seventh annual Clinton Global Initiative made 194 pledges valued at more than $6 billion to tackle the world's woes.

During the closing session of the three-day conference, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appealed to those with "educated opinions" to help the United States and the world deal with the economic crisis instead of blaming politicians.

"We are very worried in our own government, as you know, about Europe, we're still worried about growth in our own country, we're worried about the potential impact in the consuming countries like ours, but also in poor countries," said the secretary of state, who is Bill Clinton's wife.

"I would make a plea for more people with knowledge ... to not stand on the sidelines and shrug or throw a shoe at the TV when political discussions take place, but to try to participate, play a productive role," she said.

The number of pledges made at the September summit was a third less than last year's record, but when combined with those made at an inaugural summit organized by Bill Clinton in June to help create U.S. jobs and fuel a U.S. economic recovery -- there have been a record 299 commitments made so far in 2011.

A further 66 commitments are in development and expected to be finalized by the end of the year, organizers said, taking the 2011 total to 365.

JOBS FOCUS   Continued...

<p>Former U.S. President Bill Clinton talks to daughter Chelsea (C) and wife Hillary during the closing plenary of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, September 22, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>