Grinnell College Student Participates in Clinton Global Health Initiative University

November 30, 2017

Alex Sorosa '20

The Clinton Global Health Initiative University (CGI U) aims to engage the next generation of young leaders on college campuses around the world. Each year, CGI U hosts a conference where students, faculty members, and thought leaders come together to discuss innovative solutions to global issues ranging from education to poverty alleviation. This year, the Wilson Center for Innovation & Leadership helped Eyram Koblah ’19, an independent major in organizational behavior, attend the conference at Northeastern University in Boston, from October 13-15. The conference featured Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Paul Farmer, and Ibtihaj Muhammad, as well as other influential topic experts.

Why Attend the Conference?

Koblah is passionate about implementing policies that help to deliver educational equity and hopes to create an elementary school tutoring program for a rural community in central Ghana. Her project is a collaborative effort with Ghanaian high schools to provide after-school and weekend tutoring services to children in the area. “Even though many of the best schools in Ghana are in the area, it has very poor elementary and middle school graduation rates,” Koblah explains. “I wanted to attend the conference to gain assistance with planning and executing my project and I thought it would be useful to join a network of students from around the world, who share my goal of addressing problems faced by low-income communities.”

Lessons from the Conference

Perhaps one of the most memorable moments of the conference for Koblah was working on the “Designing a Meaningful Project” workshop, which focused on helping students grasp fundamental design methods and assess their associated social implications. Koblah developed a broader understanding of community-driven and constituent-focused approaches that emphasize brainstorming, solutions development and continuous improvement. “I found this session very useful because it made me think more critically about project design and how important it is to try to use good design practices prior to embarking on project implementation,” Koblah writes.

Further, the conference introduced Koblah to leaders and social innovators in the field of education, many of whom provided her with valuable insights. “I talked about various project-related issues such as funding, measuring success, building a team on the ground and recruitment with CGI U alums during the conference. Since there are many similarities between our projects, hearing about their experiences was very valuable to me,” Koblah describes. 

Overall, the conference was a laboratory for social change that inspired Koblah to push forward with her goal of implementing a tutoring program in rural Ghana, allowed her to examine practical methods and procedures for developing projects, and provided mentorship and modelling from pioneers in the field. “By attending the conference, I believe I gained useful information to develop my leadership abilities, and it also enabled me to follow through on my commitment towards literacy in low-income communities in Ghana,” she concludes.

The Wilson Center seeks to inspire and prepare students as innovators and leaders through courses, personal development, and events that emphasize experiential learning.


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