Students from Glasgow Caledonian University will be encouraged to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges through a leadership programme backed by the Clinton Foundation. 

GCU has joined the Clinton Global Initiative University Network, set up by former US President Bill Clinton, to help young people turn their ideas of how to make the world a better place into practical action.  

Three GCU students have been selected to join the Class of 2021 and will receive support to develop projects to reduce consumer waste, tackle poverty in the developing world, and promote sustainable food production. 

The students, who will join scholars from institutions including Cornell University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Chicago, will have access to a wide range of networking, mentoring, and funding opportunities throughout the year. 

They include: 

  • MSc Social Innovation student Daneyal Mirza who plans to support and nurture small-scale garment makers in Karachi, Pakistan, by providing machinery to make the workers self-sustainable and digital training to help them sell their goods online. The highly-skilled garment makers currently receive less than 5% of the price their goods are sold at by international retailers. 
  • PhD candidate Emma Kidd will receive support to further develop an online campaign to make the fashion industry more sustainable and reduce the environmental impact of consumerism. The Fashion Detox Challenge, which has generated interest worldwide, aims to slash the number of items incinerated or sent to landfill by encouraging shoppers to take a break from buying new clothes. 
  • Postgraduate Monica Allen will receive help to open a community shop in North Lanarkshire selling healthy, affordable food and sustainable products – all sourced from within Scotland – to people on low incomes.  

All applicants to the CGI Network must submit a detailed plan for a Commitment to Action – a social impact project that addresses a specific problem and delivers meaningful results. 

Students from across the world who are motivated to make a positive change in education, climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health, are encouraged to apply each year. 

The GCU cohort will develop practical skills, identify potential partners, and formulate concrete plans of action in the months ahead. 

President Clinton said: “Those who are accepted in the CGI class of 2021 will join a diverse and growing community of young leaders. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing all of the commitments to action from the class of 2021 will come up with to make our world a better place.” 

Professor Pamela Gillies, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of GCU said: “As the University for the Common Good, Glasgow Caledonian University is delighted to join the Clinton Global Initiative University Network. 

“In our ambitious and bold Strategy 2030, we aim to build on our already recognised strength in delivering research and education for social impact by being a world-leading university for social innovation. Being actively involved in the CGI U network provides unique opportunities for our talented students, as well as supporting activities that will allow us to achieve our vision.” 

Professor Michael Roy, from the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health, who has been tasked with leading the University’s engagement with the Clinton Global Initiative, added: said: “I’m absolutely delighted at the quality of the applications our students submitted in our first year of being actively involved with the Clinton Global Initiative. 

“I wish Emma, Monica and Daneyal every success and have no doubt at all this will prove to be a life-changing opportunity for them to realise their dreams and ambitions.”