Anniversary Gala Keynote Speaker
- William Jefferson Clinton, 42nd President of the United
Jefferson Clinton was born on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas.
As a delegate to Boys Nation while in high school, he met
President John Kennedy in the White House Rose Garden. The
encounter led him to enter a life of public service. Clinton
graduated from Georgetown University and in 1968 won a Rhodes
Scholarship to Oxford University. He received a law degree
from Yale University in 1973, and shortly thereafter entered
politics in Arkansas.
He was defeated in his campaign for Congress in Arkansas's
Third District in 1974. The next year he married Hillary Rodham,
a graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Law School. In 1980,
Chelsea, their only child, was born. Clinton was elected Arkansas
Attorney General in 1976, and won the governorship in 1978.
After losing a bid for a second term, he regained
the office four years later, and served until his 1992 bid
for the Presidency of the United States.
President of the United States in 1992, and again in 1996,
President Clinton was the first Democratic president to be
awarded a second term in six decades. Under his leadership,
the United States enjoyed the strongest economy in a generation
and the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. President
Clinton’s core values of building community, creating
opportunity, and demanding responsibility resulted in unprecedented
progress for America, including moving the nation from record
deficits to record surpluses; the creation of over 22 million
jobs—more than any other administration; low levels
of unemployment, poverty and crime; and the highest homeownership
and college enrollment rates in history. His accomplishments
as president include increasing investment in education, providing
tax relief for working families, helping millions of Americans
move from welfare to work, expanding access to technology,
encouraging investment in underserved communities, protecting
the environment, countering the threat of terrorism and promoting
peace and strengthening democracy around the world. His Administration’s
economic policies fostered the largest peacetime economic
expansion in history. President Clinton previously served
as the Governor of Arkansas, chairman of the National Governors’
Association and Attorney General of Arkansas. As former chairman
of the Democratic Leadership Council, he is one of the original
architects and leading advocates of the Third Way movement.
The Clinton Foundation and its Work
After leaving the White House, President Clinton
established the William J. Clinton Foundation with the mission
to strengthen the capacity of people in the United States
and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global
interdependence. To achieve this, the Clinton Foundation is
focused on four critical areas: health security, with an emphasis
on HIV/AIDS; economic empowerment; leadership development
and citizen service; and racial, ethnic and religious reconciliation.
The Clinton Presidential Center, located in Little Rock, Arkansas,
is comprised of the Library, the archives, Clinton Foundation
offices and the Clinton School of Public Service.
Following the 2002 Barcelona AIDS Conference,
President Clinton began the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative
(CHAI) to assist countries in implementing large-scale, integrated,
care, treatment and prevention programs that will turn the
tide on the epidemic. It partners with countries in Africa,
the Caribbean and Asia to develop operational business plans
to scale-up care and treatment. CHAI works with individual
governments and provides them with technical assistance, human
and financial resources, and know-how from the sharing of
the best practices across projects. The ultimate objective
in each of these countries is to scale up public health systems
to ensure broad access to high-quality care and treatment.
The Initiative’s long-term goal is to develop replicable
models for the scale-up of integrated programs in resource-poor
settings. CHAI is currently bringing life-saving care and
treatment to over a quarter of a million people around the
In September 2005, President Clinton hosted
the inaugural meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).
CGI is a non-partisan catalyst for action, bringing together
a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative
solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
The inaugural meeting brought together 35 current and 10 former
heads of state along with hundreds of other leaders from governments,
the business community, and NGOs who contributed to innovative
solutions to alleviate poverty, promote effective governance,
reconcile religious conflicts, and protect the environment.
Nearly 300 commitments were made to improve the lives of people
living on 6 continents, with private corporations and non-profit
organizations pledging almost 70% of all commitments, which
are valued in excess of $2.5 billion.
In the United States, President Clinton also
works through the Clinton Foundation Urban Enterprise Initiative
to help small businesses acquire the tools they need to compete
in the ever-changing urban marketplace. He also works along
with the American Heart Association on the Alliance for a
Healthier Generation to combat childhood obesity and reverse
this deadly trend facing American children.
Following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005,
President Clinton and former President Bush led a nationwide
fundraising effort and established the Bush-Clinton Katrina
Fund to assist survivors in the rebuilding effort. This campaign
was the second collaboration for the former presidents, the
first being their work on relief and recovery following the
Indian Ocean tsunami. President Clinton also serves as Special
Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, as appointed by United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2005.