Clinton brought global citizenship message to Berkeley

February 24, 2010 7:29:47 PM PST
Former President Bill Clinton brought his message of global citizenship to the Bay Area and asked the question: What exactly is "global citizenship?"

Clinton told a packed audience at Zellerbach Auditorium that the most important question is one that rarely got asked in his White House.

"Most of the time I was in politics we debated three things: What are you going to do, who is going to do it, public or private sector, and how much money you going to spend on it," Clinton said.

According to Clinton, the most important question of the 21st century is the fourth question -- "How?"

"However much money you have whatever it is you proposed to do, how are you going to do it, so you turn your good intentions into positive changes," he said.

Clinton said in the non-governmental area there are immense opportunities that never existed until now.

"Look at what happened after the Haiti earthquake occurred. First you had George Clooney and others putting together this amazing concert 'Hope for Haiti' in no time. They put it together in a week and they raised $66 million. A lot of it was in $10 pops because you could text Haiti in your phone and automatically $10 would be transferred here and $5 in Canada. Amazing," he said.

And people wanted to give time.

"All of a sudden I had teams of doctors from New York who were calling me saying, 'I can only stay five days, but send me down there," Clinton said.

Clinton said global communication has enhanced our abilities and global interdependence has made it a necessity to be involved.

Anaya Roy is chair of the Global Poverty and Practice Program at U.C. Berkeley.

"I think the most important thing he said today here at Berkeley was that it is possible to think about a new moment of communitarianism," she said.

Will Smelko is student body president.

"It makes me realize that there is so much validity to what he is talking about, and it makes me inspired to make me go out and do something," he said.

Clinton spoke at the invitation of Richard Blum, UC regent and husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

On Wednesday night, the former president and Blum are at an event in San Francisco at the Fairmont Hotel in support of the American Himalayan Foundation.