Amid the Russian war on Ukraine and the coronavirus, former President Bill Clinton announced Friday that the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) is resuming full operations after largely shuttering in early 2017.
Clinton made the announcement in an open letter in which he also announced a meeting in New York City in September for members of the "CGI community." He said the pandemic and the Russian war on Ukraine are the two major events that spurred him to bring back the initiative that's been effectively dormant for years.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has ripped the cover off of longstanding inequities and vulnerabilities across our global community," Clinton said. "The existential threat of climate change grows every day. Democracy is under assault around the world, most glaringly in Ukraine where Russia has launched an unjustified and unprovoked invasion that has put millions of lives in grave danger."
The CGI faced scrutiny during former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign for its significant international donations – which some said could create conflicts of interest.
Clinton lost the 2016 election, but the Clintons still followed through on mass layoffs of their foundation's employees in January 2017.
"A new chapter of the Clinton Global Initiative is beginning," a video teasing the restart of the charitable effort said Friday. "And the need for cooperation and coordination has never been more urgent."
Clinton and his spokesperson Angel Ureña also cited "inequality" and a growing refugee crisis as reasons for restarting the initiative.
"Just like the world we’re living in, the September meeting will likely look different than the ones we held before. But what will not be different is the spirit that has driven CGI from the very beginning—the idea that we can accomplish more together than we can apart," the former president said in his Friday letter.
"While the challenges our world faces today are steep, CGI has always been about what we can do, not what we can’t do," he added. "And by bringing diverse partners together to take action and achieve real results, we can create a culture of possibility in a world hungry for hope."