President Clinton Honors 6 Recipients of Clinton Global Citizen Awards

Katie Stagliano, the youngest ever to receive the Clinton Global Citizen Award, is the 14-year-old founder and chief executive gardener of Katie’s Krops, a nonprofit organization that starts and maintains gardens and donates the harvest to people in need. Credits: © 2012 Karen Rubin/

The recipients of the 6th Annual Clinton Global Citizen Awards included a 14-year old who started gardens to supply soup kitchens to alleviate hunger, the world’s richest man who has spent $6 billion of his wealth boosting health care and education, two courageous leaders who risk their lives standing up for LGBT rights, a successful entrepreneur who turned his skills to helping revitalize Haiti, and business and philanthropy leaders recognized for their outstanding contributions.


The Clinton Global Citizen Awards recognizes individuals from various sectors who demonstrate visionary leadership in addressing global challenges. Carlos Slim Helú, founder of Fundación Carlos Slim; Luis A. Moreno, president of Inter-American Development Bank; Denis O’Brien, chairman and founder of Digicel Group; Pepe Julian Onziema, programme director and advocacy officer of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG); The Right Reverend Christopher Senyonjo, executive director of St. Paul’s Reconciliation and Equality Centre; and Katie Stagliano, founder and chief executive gardener of Katie’s Krops, will accept awards this year.

“The work being done by this year’s honorees is nothing short of extraordinary,” said President Bill Clinton. “Tonight I’m proud to honor two Ugandans who risk their lives to secure basic human dignities many of us take for granted, three leaders whose contributions have positively impacted communities across the Caribbean and Latin America, and a social entrepreneur on pace to take my job before she turns 16. These are some truly amazing folks. They embody the spirit of CGI and inspire us all to be more responsible citizens of the world.”

President Clinton hosted the ceremony which will air on in October. Actress Bebe Neuwirth emceed the show that featured performances from Grammy Award-winning singer Seal, slam poet Joshua Bennett, Grammy Award–winning Beninoise recording artist Angélique Kidjo, and Somali-Canadian rapper K’NAAN. Haiti Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, Lt. Governor of California Gavin Newsom, Matt Damon, Rosario Dawson, Donna Karan, Eva Longoria, andJune Sarpong also made appearances in honor of the recipients.

The 2012 Clinton Global Citizen Award recipients are:

Leadership in Civil Society

Katie Stagliano, founder and chief executive gardener, Katie’s Krops
Summerville, South Carolina, United States
Katie Stagliano, the youngest ever to receive the Clinton Global Citizen Award, is the 14-year-old founder and chief executive gardener of Katie’s Krops, a nonprofit organization that starts and maintains vegetable gardens and donates the harvest to help feed people in need, while also inspiring and helping others to do the same. Stagliano’s dream to end hunger one vegetable garden at a time began when, as an nine-year old third grader, she grew a 40-pound cabbage. She donated the cabbage to a soup kitchen, where it fed 275 people. Her action inspired others to join her; a farmer made 40 acres available to her, and her idea grew and grew. Katie’s Krops currently maintains 51 kid-run vegetable gardens in 21 states, which are producing thousands of pounds of healthy food for families in need. Utilizing her harvest, Stagliano also runs a soup kitchen to provide healthy meals to those in need. She sits on the Youth Advisory Board for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and is a Global Teen Leader for the We are Family Foundation.

“One person can grow an entire movement in her backyard,” said actor Matt Damon, presenting Katie with the award.

“My dream started small, and grew as the seed spread,” Katie said, adding that her dream now is to have Katie’s Krops gardens in all 50 states.

The Right Reverend Christopher Senyonjo (Joint Honoree), executive director, St. Paul’s Reconciliation and Equality Centre
Kampala, Uganda
The Right Reverend Christopher Senyonjo is perhaps best known for his courageous advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ persons in Uganda. Bishop Senyonjo received his Master of Divinity in 1966 and his Master of Sacred Theology in 1967 from Union Theological Seminary in New York. From 1974 until 1998, Bishop Senyonjo was the Diocesan Bishop of West Buganda. He completed a Doctor of Ministry at Hartford Theological Seminary, which was key to his understanding of marriage and human sexuality. Following his retirement, Bishop Senyonjo began counseling services for LGBTQ people. In 2010, he founded St. Paul’s Reconciliation and Equality Centre in Kampala with support from the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation in the United States. He has been recognized by the California State Assembly for his leadership on LGBTQ issues and was named one of Huffington Post’s Ten Most Influential Religious Leaders for 2010. Additionally, he was recently named a Grand Marshall of the San Francisco Pride Parade for his advocacy.

Pepe Julian Onziema (Joint Honoree), programme director and advocacy officer, Sexual Minorities Uganda
Kampala, Uganda
Pepe Julian Onziema is a 31-year old Ugandan transgender person. A Pan-African Human Rights Defender currently working as the programme director and advocacy officer at Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), Onziema is the spokesperson for both SMUG and the Ugandan LGBT movement, plus the LGBTI focal person on the Steering Committee of the Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network. In these capacities he has mobilized, coordinated, led, organized, and moderated actions to promote and protect the liberties of LGBTI persons in Uganda, regionally at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and internationally at the United Nations Human Rights Council. He has been arrested, threatened, named, and shamed in local media for his work.

Their award was presented by Gavin Newsom, now Lt. Governor of California, as Mayor of San Francisco, ordered the clerk to marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“1974 was the first gay pride parade, but even those living in fear didn’t risk being put to death as people do in Uganda, where there is a media eager to out them and the church turns its back on a bishop who stands up for them.”

Homosexuals are “marginalized, terrorized all their days,” said Bishop Senyonjo, who was stripped of his authority to marry couples or baptize for standing up for the LGBT community in Uganda. “It is time to legalize love for everyone. The fight for human rights is not a fight that knows borders.”

Onziema said he had a heavy choice between coming to accept his award and appearing in court where he is suing the Minister of Ethics. He decided to come to CGI, and thankfully, the court date was rescheduled to Nov. 5.

“In the country’s quest to eradicate homosexuality from Uganda, some of us told Ugandans we are present and want to live in peace. We have taken government officials to court. In 2012, workshops were shut down and lives were threatened, but last month, we held the first pride march at a public beach without masks. We have the power to change one’s destiny and we have to take the first step.”

Leadership in Philanthropy

Carlos Slim Helú, founder, Fundación Carlos Slim
Carlos Slim Helú founded Grupo Carso in 1965. In 1982, in the middle of Mexico’s debt crisis, Slim Helú decided to invest heavily and actively. He made diverse investments and acquisitions in different sectors, including industry, construction, consumer products, hospitality, mining, and retail and financial services. In 1990, Grupo Carso acquired five percent of Telmex in partnership with SBC and France Telecom, and in 2001, Slim Helú spun off Telmex’s cell phone unit to create America Movil. He continues to be active in business, although his primary focus is on education, health, and employment in Mexico and Latin America. Slim Helú’s foundations have been instrumental in growing the human, cultural, and economic capital of Mexico, and he has personally supported more than 165,000 young people in attending university, paid for numerous surgeries, and provided equipment for rural schools. Last year, he opened the Soumaya Museum, which has been visited by more than one million people. He was the primary backer of the revitalization of Mexico City’s downtown.

Leadership in the Corporate Sector

Denis O’Brien, chairman and founder, Digicel Group
Denis O’Brien is chairman of the privately-owned Digicel Group, one of the fastest growing mobile operators in the world. O’Brien founded Digicel in 2001, when the company launched a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) cellular phone service in the Caribbean. Digicel has extended its operations to 31 markets, with over 12.8 million subscribers in the Caribbean, Central America, and Pacific regions. O’Brien is one of Ireland’s leading entrepreneurs, with extensive investments across several sectors, including international telecoms, radio, media, property, aircraft leasing, golf, and other leisure interests. In 2010, O’Brien was named goodwill ambassador for the city of Port-au-Prince in Haiti by the mayor in recognition of his efforts to rebuild Haiti and attract foreign direct investment in the aftermath of the earthquake that year. Digicel is the single largest private investor in Haiti.

Leadership in Public Service

Luis A. Moreno, president, Inter-American Development Bank
Luis Alberto Moreno assumed the presidency of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) on October 1, 2005. As president of the Bank, Moreno also serves as chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Inter-American Investment Corporation and chairman of the Donors’ Committee of the Multilateral Investment Fund. Previous to joining the IDB, Moreno served as Colombia’s ambassador to the United States for seven years. Moreno was also executive producer of the “TV Hoy” news program, which received the King of Spain Prize for journalistic excellence. He received the Orden de Boyacá en el Grado de Gran Cruz — the highest distinction given by the Colombian state — from the President of Colombia on August 2, 2002. Moreno obtained bachelor’s degrees in business administration and economics from Florida Atlantic University in 1975, and a Master of Business Administration from Thunderbird School of Global Management in 1977.

Somali-Canadian rapper K’NAAN, who performed at the Global Citizen Awards last year after returning from his first visit to his native country, in the midst of a catastrophic famine, was back this year with a children’s book which speaks of his heritage; the profits from the book will go back into investments in education.

“Last year, a lot of people saw my baggage. And you would be right to think it was from having seen famine engulfing the entire umbilical chord of culture. But it wasn’t – it was because I came back and tried to take meetings in the ‘charity business’ to invest in a fix. It brought me down far more than seeing people struggle. They looked like they would do something, change something. But people I met who could do something looked like they wouldn’t do anything. I tried to fund-raise, but I am an artist,” he said, before singing his song for Somalia.

Donna Karan, fashion icon and founder of the Urban Zen Foundation, was responsible for this year’s award. Urban Zen launched “hope, Help & Relief Haiti,” in collaboration with leaders in music, fashion, firm, finance and art, and working alongside the Clinton Global Initiative, is developing and supporting sustainable opportunities in Haiti by bringing artisan products to a global market. Karan developed a permanent award design to the Clinton Global Citizen Awards, reaching out to Nadia Swarovski of Swarovski crystal and to Cookie Villiard, a Haitian metal artist.

“I can’t just dress people, I had to address them as well,” Karan said.

Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo, founder of the Batonga Foundation, gave an electrifying performance for which she is known, fusing the West African traditions of her childhood in Benin with elements of American R&B, funk and jazz as well as influences from Europe and Latin America. She is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Oxfam Campaigner, and her charitable foundation, Bargona, is dedicated to supporting the education of young girls in Africa. “Every child educated is a step toward peace, economic growth, and less hate,” she said, dedicating her song to the Clinton Global Initiative.

The honorees were nominated by a collection of CGI members and global leaders and selected for their visionary leadership, demonstrated impact, and sustainable and scalable work in solving global issues. Recipients were chosen from government, civil society, the private sector, and the philanthropic community.

Clinton Global Citizen Awards

The Clinton Global Citizen Awards were launched in 2007. Past recipients include: Andre Agassi, founder of the Andre Agassi Foundation; Fazle Hassan Abed, founder of the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee; Asha Hagi Elmi Amin, chairperson of Save Somali Women and Children; Mhammed Abbad Andaloussi, chairman and CEO of Injaz Morocco; Peter Bakker, chief executive officer of TNT; Philippe Douste-Blazy, chairman of UNITAID; Jennifer and Peter Buffett, co-chairs of the NoVo Foundation; John Chambers, CEO of Cisco; Vicky Colbert, founder of the Escuela Nueva Foundation; Dr. Rola Dashti, parliament member, State of Kuwait; His Excellency Dr. Leonel Fernandez, president of the Dominican Republic; Julio Frenk, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health; Ruchira Gupta, president, Apne Aap Women Worldwide; Mohamed Ibrahim, chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Nevill Isdell, then-chairman of the Coca-Cola Company; Quincy Jones, founder, Quincy Jones Foundation; Andrea Jung, chairman and CEO of Avon Products, Inc.; His Excellency Paul Kagame, president of the Republic of Rwanda; Xiaoyi (Sheri) Liao, founder of the Global Village of Beijing; Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder and medical director of the Panzi Hospital; Suraya Pakzad, executive director of the Voice of Women Organization; Dr. Jean Pape, executive director of GHESKIO; Güler Sabanci, chairman and managing director of Sabanci Holding; Trudie Styler, founder of the Rainforest Fund; and Sting, founder of the Rainforest Fund

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media.

To date CGI members have made nearly 2,300 commitments, which have already improved the lives of more than 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $73.1 billion.

CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world.

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