President Bill Clinton, Founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States, will be the keynote speaker at the University of Rochester's Meliora Weekend, Oct. 20 to 23, 2011.
President Clinton's appearance coincides with the launch of Meliora Weekend's second decade. The annual alumni reunion, homecoming, and family weekend attracts some 6,000 attendees each year for four days of lectures, performances, seminars, and social gatherings. The first Meliora Weekend was held in 2001. Previous keynote speakers for the Meliora Weekend include medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, University of Rochester alumnus and U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, journalist Anderson Cooper, and General Colin Powell, USA (Ret.). Hillary Rodham Clinton was the keynote speaker at Meliora Weekend in 2002.
President Clinton was the first Democratic president in six decades to be elected twice—first in 1992 and then in 1996. According to the Clinton Foundation, the country enjoyed the strongest economy in a generation and the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs under President Clinton's leadership.
After leaving the White House, President Clinton established the William J. Clinton Foundation with the mission to strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence. According to the Foundation, its staff and volunteers around the world work to improve lives through several initiatives, including the Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (now the Clinton Health Access Initiative, a separate nonprofit organization) which is helping 2 million people living with HIV/AIDS access lifesaving drugs. Other initiatives—including the Clinton Climate Initiative, the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative, and the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative—are applying a business-oriented approach worldwide to fight climate change and develop sustainable economic growth in Africa and Latin America. As a project of the Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative brings together global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing issues. In the U.S., the Foundation is working to combat the alarming rise in childhood obesity through the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and is helping individuals and families succeed and small businesses grow.
In addition to his Foundation work, President Clinton joined with former President George H.W. Bush three times—after the 2004 tsunami in South Asia, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Hurricane Ike in 2008—to help raise money for recovery efforts and served as the U.N. Envoy for Tsunami Recovery.
President Clinton was named U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti in 2009 to assist the government and the people of Haiti as they "build back better" after a series of hurricanes battered the country in 2008. Following last year's devastating earthquake, President Clinton dedicated Clinton Foundation resources to help with immediate and long term relief and assistance, and at the request of President Obama, joined with President George W. Bush to establish the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, which supports highly effective organizations on the ground in long-term rebuilding efforts.
President Clinton was born on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas. He and his wife Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton have one daughter, Chelsea, and live in Chappaqua, New York.
The complete Meliora Weekend program will be announced this summer. For details, visit the Meliora Weekend web pages at http://www.rochester.edu/melioraweekend/.