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Amplifying Inspiration at the Annual CGI Meeting

Last Updated on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 12:12 Written by Donna Karan Friday, 23 September 2011 05:35

From the very beginning, The Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting has fueled my inspiration at Urban Zen – it’s where a global community comes together to connect, collaborate and commit to creating change – everything I believe in. There is nothing more important. We are in a time of historic change and everyone needs to come together so that we can support each other.

The opportunity to gather with so many amazing people, sharing thoughts and coming up with solutions is a gift. A perfect example of this is the meeting I had with the Grief team that I originally met in Haiti. Not only did Grief come to the table, they came with solutions.

I loved seeing Francine LeFrak who is committed to putting a human face on important social issues. Francine has been my friend since high school and it’s always such a joy to see her and catch up with the extraordinary projects she’s working on. Seeing her at CGI was a brilliant opportunity to reconnect the dots all over again.

I have to say I am so thankful for my biggest connection of all, the woman who got me involved with CGI: Barbra Streisand. She introduced me to CGI and because of her I’ve been a member for five years.

This year, CGI focused on pressing topics like the advancement of women and girls, job creation and environmental solutions – issues that I have been emmersed in through my work in Haiti and my commitment to creating jobs in Haitian artisan communities. Last year we talked about Hope, Help & Relief Haiti. This year, the focus is on rebuilding Haiti. If not for the Clinton team, I could not have been as effective in my work in Haiti. Greg Milne and Laura Graham have been invaluable to me and nothing would be possible without my team and friends on the ground in Haiti.

The focus on Haiti became brilliantly clear on Tuesday evening when I had the great privilege of hosting President Martelly, President Kagame and Dr. Paul Farmer at Urban Zen Center to share that Haiti is open for business and ready to rebuild. I invite you to read the whole story here.

To say this week was a crazy week is a serious understatement. I was like a child in an amusement park, wanting to go on every single ride without enough time to do so. The experience left me in total awe of Bill Clinton, the man who holds it all together. From his opening speech to his closing remarks – he continued to ground everyone with the base-line understanding of why we were there: to be an answer to the world’s most pressing problems.

I am leaving CGI with incredible motivation, amplified inspiration, a host of new supportive connections and a refocused commitment to raising awareness and inspiring change.

Photo Credit: Taylor Davidson, Todd France, Paul Morse, Adam Schultz, Juliana Thomas

dk signature on black 06 Amplifying Inspiration at the Annual CGI Meeting

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Urban Zen Connects & Collaborates to Bring Yoga to Haiti

Last Updated on Friday, 16 September 2011 06:46 Written by Urban Zen Tuesday, 30 August 2011 11:59

YogaCollage2 Urban Zen Connects & Collaborates to Bring Yoga to HaitiIn a beautiful example of the Urban Zen mission to connect, collaborate and communicate to create change, the women of Haiti now include yoga and breathing techniques in their daily lives thanks to a group of individuals and their non-profit organizations that came together to treat mothers and daughters of Haiti in mind, body and spirit with “The Art of Living”, a program to assist women to relieve stress in the midst of danger and devastation.

Hunter and Andrea Herz Payne, founders of Aid Still Required, formed a collaboration amongst The International Association of Human Values and We Advance to provide four, four-day sessions to the women in the Wharf Jeremie area of Cite Soleil, the poorest neighborhood in the western hemisphere. Initial concerns of a lack of interest due to heat, daily chores and childcare were immediately dismissed as 143 women attended yoga classes and 118 participated in all four days of instruction.

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