-Blog post by Reed Sandridge of Washington, D.C.
When you put people first and politics second, you can get things done.” -President Bill Clinton at CGI 2011
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks during the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative in New York on September 22, 2011. (Reuters Photo/Eduardo Munoz)
Even after having worked in his organization for 18 months, the hair on the back of my neck still stands up when I am in the presence of our 42nd president Bill Clinton. The 65-year-old statesman is one of our greatest political thinkers.
I can’t think of a better place to volunteer than at the Clinton Global Initiative, an action oriented meeting of some of the most influential people and organizations in the world. It’s hard to grasp unless you have been there, but I will try to give you an idea.
On my way to my first assignment there, I passed Bishop Desmond Tutu, who by the way has one of the most intoxicating laughs I have ever heard. He was leaving his session where he and fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar talked with Charlie Rose about human rights, democratic governance and ethnic reconciliation. On the escalator up to the next floor I turned around to see Procter & Gamble’s CEO Bob McDonald standing behind me.
I arrived at the session I was assigned to volunteer at which was titled “Securing Global Nutrition.” Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times led a panel discussion which featured the head of USAID, the president of WWF International, the CEO of Britannia Industries and one of the leading agronomists in the world. They were gathered to discuss how to tackle the nutritional challenges we face, primarily in the developing world.
Later I headed to a session on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) where I was tasked with taking the official notes of the meeting. About 30 people were gathered – including two princesses from Jordan, the actress Fran Drescher and executives from the American Cancer Society and PepsiCo.
Photo: Reed Sandridge
Before it was all over I saw President Obama speak about service and the economy, watched Chelsea Clinton moderate a panel on leveraging technology to help women and girls in developing countries, saw actresses Heather Graham and Geena Davis and chatted with Michael Jordan’s mother – who’s a sweetheart by the way. And just when I thought I had seen all that I was going to see, Ted Turner popped his head into the lobby bar of the Sheraton at the end of the day.
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Posted in Food & Beverage, tagged $10, baseball, DC, Dupont, mascots, nationals, presidents, sports, Thomas Jefferson, washington on December 26, 2010|
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Tomas does a little dance in the middle of Massachusetts Avenue.
I couldn’t dream up some of the people that I come across. Today, I ran across Thomas Jefferson, one of the four Washington Nationals’ mascots! It was ironic, because the day before I had reached out to the National’s organization to ask for a donation item for the year-end celebration raffle. By the way, they came through on that and generously donated an autographed baseball by outfield slugger Josh Willingham.
Jefferson, whose jersey bears the name “Tomas”, wears the number three which corresponds to him being the third president of the United States. I am not sure why he doesn’t have an “h” in the spelling of his name. Anyway, he was in front of the Chipotle in Dupont handing out some flyers about the Nationals’ holiday promotion where you buy three games for about the price of two games, including tickets to opening day, and get a free Nationals ornament – pretty decent package. I got to about ten games this past season and even gave my $10 away at about six or seven of them. I already have 2011 opening day on my calendar; I haven’t missed it in the past four years.
Communication was limited to head nods and hand gestures as Tomas was unable to speak. He was pretty good at it too. If you need a charades partner, he’s your man. I asked him what he was going to do with the money and he rubbed his belly. “Food,” I asked and he rocked his enormous head back and forth. Then he made a gesture like he was freezing cold. Or maybe he was going to use it to buy some clothes. Well, to be fair he was probably freezing cold. He was wearing shorts and it was about 30 degrees. Note to Nationals administration: Please get this guy some warmer clothes.
For those of you who have been to a game know that the four presidents whose images appear on Mount Rushmore (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt) have a race every home game from center field to the
Me and Tomas near Dupont Circle.
Nationals dugout. Tomas is in second place overall since the inception of the race with 97 wins. Despite having the second best record, he has never finished any single season in first place. But then again, he’s doing better than poor Teddy who has never won a race. Let Teddy Win!
We said goodbye and Tomas gave me a high-five. I hoped that he would come to my year-end celebration, but to my knowledge he was not there. Then again, without his costume I probably wouldn’t have recognized him!
Let’s go Nats!
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