Four Luther students chosen to attend Clinton Global Initiative University in Miami

April 15, 2010

Luther College students Christine Meling, William Montoya, Junette Maxis and Antonia Lliteras Espinosa have been selected to participate in the third annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U), to be held April 16-18 at the University of Miami.

The four Luther representatives will depart campus for Miami April 15 to take part in the meeting of some 1,500 students, national youth organizations and university officials who will discuss solutions to pressing global issues. The 2010 CGI U will address five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.

For more information about CGI U 2010, visit

As part of the application process for CGI U, students submitted commitment proposals for projects they will conduct to address challenges in one of the five focus areas.

Meling, a senior from Yari Boma in southern Sudan, submitted her commitment, titled “Sewing for the Next Generation,” in the education category. Her project has been selected as an exemplary approach to addressing a specific global challenge, and she has been invited to present it on-stage at CGI U.

While in Miami, she will also be interviewed by reporters from major news media and information websites, including MTV, which will present videos about selected CGI U students and their projects.

Meling’s proposal will work to promote education in Yari Boma by sewing uniforms for children hoping to attend school in the southern Sudan community, a school Meling played a large role in building. 

In the summer of 2008, Meling traveled to her home village to facilitate the construction of a two-room, brick school for kindergarten children. A testament to Meling’s determination to provide education to the children of her village, the 2008 project, titled “Constructing Classrooms…Promoting Peace,” was funded by the Davis Projects for Peace program.

Also attending the CSI U conference, the three-member project team of Montoya, Maxis and Lliteras Espinosa submitted their commitment titled “Trash for Development, Empowering Women” in the poverty alleviation category.  Montoya, a junior from Colombia; Maxis, a senior from Haiti; and Lliteras Espinosa, a junior from Spain, have crafted a CGI U commitment to support recovery efforts in Haiti.   

In the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, the building housing RARA, a social business developed as means of reducing waste and creating jobs in poor communities in Haiti, was destroyed. All of the foundation’s machinery and work in progress was buried in the rubble of the building.

The objective of the Luther students’ project is to revamp the business and transform it into an effective social and economic tool for low-income or unemployed mothers.  

Launched in 2007 by President Bill Clinton, CGI U provides the opportunity to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world.

Throughout the year, and as a prerequisite of attending the CGI U meeting, students, youth directors and university officials develop their own commitment of actions, a specific plan of action to address a pressing challenge on their campus, in their community or in a different part of the world.

Commitments range from installing energy-efficient light bulbs to establishing campus bike-share programs, from distributing life-saving water filtration kits to designing medical backpacks for nomadic doctors in Africa.  Since is inaugural meeting, almost 2,000 commitments have been made.

“CGI U is proof that young people have the power to make a significant impact by confronting some of the world’s most urgent challenges,” said Kate Wilkinson of CGI U.  


William Montoya, Junette Maxis, and Antonia Lliteras Espinosa
Christine Meling