What began in 2005 as a way for “global leaders” to “forge solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges” has become the Oscars of global philanthropy: a way to show the other elite philanthropists of the world how similarly elite and committed you are to affecting change.
In addition to opening-day speeches by U.S. President Barack Obama, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the myriad CEOs, this year’s attendees include royalty, celebrities and current and former heads of states: Attendees will have the opportunity to meet new Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf, as well as Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mexican President Felipe Calderon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner are also scheduled to speak.
Among the royals attending will be Queen Rania of Jordan, Princess Al-Taweel of Saudi Arabia, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Prince Albert of Monaco and Prince Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia.
Actors Geena Davis, Rosario Dawson, Michael Douglas and America Ferrera, singer Barbra Streisand, celebrity doctor Deepak Chopra and writer and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel are all on the guest list, as are journalists Nick Kristof, Fareed Zakaria and Newsweek and the Daily Beast Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown.
Lofty speeches will be made about coming together and making a difference. But the premise of the yearly meeting is that anyone who makes a commitment will not be invited back unless they have met or are deemed sufficiently on their way to meeting their set goals.
“The best way to describe the work is by looking at the impact of 2,100 commitments made that have already improved the lives of 400 million people in over 180 countries," Craig Minassian, a spokesman for the Initiative, told the AP.
According to Time magazine’s Richard Stengel, CGI has secured upward of $70 billion in assets for “everything from children’s health to conflict resolution.”
All the commitments that have been made are cataloged on CGI’s website.