In facing today’s most pressing challenges, from stopping the ebola outbreak to empowering women and girls to working with the poorest people on the planet, World Bank President, Jim Kim, framed it simply for us at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting: “Optimism is a moral choice.” He explained in the opening plenary that if we say addressing something as serious as ebola is not possible, if we come in cynical and pessimistic because we have never done it before, then we are all in big trouble. “We have to force ourselves to get to a place where we are going to search the Earth for all the evidence that might be available that suggests we can do something about this.” That’s how we build visions for how to move forward.
This year was the fourth year Micro-Documentaries was invited to participate in the Clinton Global Initiative. Attending the annual meetings has been one of the richest, most inspiring and insightful experiences we have ever engaged in. This year was especially exciting as CGI celebrated 10 years of turning ideas into social and environmental action of great scale. Surprisingly, as much as the in-person interactions with heads of state, business leaders and social innovators have been enriching, two of the most memorable moments over the years have come in through Skype.
A few years ago it was when Desmond Tutu declared his love for Aung San Suu Kyi while she was under house arrest. This year was when we connected with astronauts in the space station in the closing plenary. Their point of view, looking down at our precious blue marble of a planet we call home, offered a good reminder of how ridiculous we seem when we become overly attached to our nationalities, religions and political parties and overly emphasize our differences to the point of creating many of the great challenges of our time.