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Filipino Shines at Clinton Global Initiative

Filipino Shines at Clinton Global Initiative

Author: Jose Mari Lapiz INQUIRER.net

Source: Inquirer Global Nation The Home of Filipinos Worldwide, First Posted: October 15th, 2009, Filipino Shines at Clinton Global Initiative, Retrieved October 15th, 2009 from http://globalnation.inquirer.net/features/people/view/20091015-230190/Filipino-shines-at-Clinton-Global-Initiative

NEW YORK, United States—BBC World News Anchor and Pinoy pride Rico Hizon has achieved what no other Asian or Filipino journalist has done, moderate in two Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meetings.

He was first invited in Hong Kong when the former US leader hosted the first ever Clinton Global Initiative Asia last December, and in September at the 5th CGI conference in New York.

In Hong Kong, Hizon moderated the Climate Change discussion—an extremely relevant issue especially with the catastrophic natural disasters that have been hitting Asia-Pacific region in the recent weeks.

In New York, he facilitated the Emerging Markets session with renowned guest speakers President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, the World Bank’s chief economist Justin Lin, and Nobel Prize Winner for Climate Change Rajendra Pachauri, together with President Clinton as the Guest of Honor.

“For me, both as an individual and in my professional capacity, these were two events I will never forget. The first invitation was an honor and the second a privilege. And in an event of this magnitude, not only am I representing my network, but more importantly raising the Philippine flag,” Hizon said.

During the four-day conference, he met and spoke with Hollywood celebrities, activists, policy experts, generals, CEOs, and everyday people working tirelessly at non-profit groups and NGOs in countries around the world.

“From them, I received a first class education, listening, as some of the world’s brightest and most committed people argued and agreed on new ways to solve the most pressing problems, from global education to climate change,” Hizon said.

Clinton letter and conversation

In President Clinton’s one-page invitation letter to Hizon, he said, “You were such a wonderful addition to our program in Hong Kong and we hope you will be able to join us once again, and serve as moderator at the Emerging Markets panel session, on September 22. We’d be delighted if you could lend your voice to this timely discussion.”

Before the session started, Hizon got his chance to speak with the President. “I was fortunate to chat with him, despite always being surrounded by numerous admirers and secret service agents. We exchanged views about climate change, the state of the US economy, and how he succeeded in freeing two American journalists from North Korea. Our conversation ended when he shook my hand and thanked me for being part of the CGI, and said that it was great to have an Asian voice in the discussions,” he said.

Ninoy tie and barong

In representing the Philippines in his own little way, Hizon described what he wore. “I wanted to show everyone that I was Filipino amongst the global crowd, so I made it a point to wear a special edition “I am Ninoy yellow and black tie” and a Philippine flag pin on my jacket lapel on the first day. On the second day, I wore a Rhett Eala Black Barong Tagalog with a Philippine map embroidered on the top left corner. It really stood out and people asked where it was made. I told them it was Philippine made,” he said proudly.

Celebrity advocacies

During his short stay in New York, most of the time at conference site at the Sheraton Hotel on 7th Avenue, Hizon personally spoke with some of Hollywood’s top stars—from Jessica Alba to Matt Damon and Michelle Yeoh, to basketball great Dikembe Mutombo. He too shook the hands of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutchner.

Hizon spoke with Jessica Alba in between plenary sessions, and she shared with him her 1GOAL: Education for All advocacy, where’s she’s the US co-chair. It’s an advocacy that seeks to help about 75 million children denied access to education around the world. And she stressed, that you don’t have to be a Hollywood star to help children reach their dreams. “Jessica was great—really simple, pretty, and very accommodating,” he said.

He also spoke with Matt “Jason Bourne” Damon after he launched his non-profit group, http://www.Water.org. It’s a commitment that would help provide clean water and sanitation facilities to 50,000 people in Haiti, and Damon and company also hope to provide more countries with access to safe water and sanitation.

He also crossed paths once again with Asian actress Michelle Yeoh, for a second time, as she was also one of the major participants at the 1st Clinton Global Initiative in Hong Kong last December.

Among the many initiatives Yeoh supports is the Make Roads Safe campaign, which advocates road injury to be recognized as a global public health and development priority. And during the New York conference, she made a commitment to launch a $10-million scheme to help the International Road Assessment Programme improve the safety of road infrastructure in developing countries.

“I felt really proud for not only being a Filipino but also representing Asia, and what really made my day was when I was told by CGI organizers that I was the only moderator flown in from Asia, and the only Asian to moderate a plenary or a sub-plenary session. It was truly an honor because I was among respected news personalities in the US broadcasting industry, such as ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, NBC Meet the Press host Tom Gregory, and CNBC’s top business news anchor Maria Bartiromo,” he said.

Clinton Global Initiative

What makes the Clinton Global Initiative fulfilling to many people is that it is an action-oriented mission to effect positive changes on a global scale and create an “integrated global community of shared benefits, responsibilities, and values.”

The annual meetings have brought together former and present heads of states, Nobel Prize laureates, top CEOs, philanthropists, non-governmental organizations, and international media organizations resulting in 1,400 commitments valued at $46 billion and impacting 200 million lives in 150 countries.

“I am very blessed to be part of these very important events, as people from all over world unite to share and give. And never a day goes by that I do not thank God for all the blessings he has given me and my family,” he said.

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