Winning the Clinton Hunger Leadership Award

John Coggin recalls his winning the Clinton Hunger Leadership Award and his opportunity to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University.

Interview on 2012-05-30

Transcript

00:00:00.000 The day that I won that award has to be the best day of my life.
00:00:04.642 Like I said I was surprised to get it. I had done a lot of work on hunger issues and especially some of those underlying issues
00:00:18.474 and I think because of that, because you can't see some of the good, you know when I was-. They were interviewing me beforehand and I felt like I wasn't giving them good examples of the outputs [Laughs] of my work,
00:00:29.164 but I think they understood that a lot of those outputs are not immediate and are on the long term.
00:00:35.920 But anyway I was surprised to get the award but they told me I'd received it and I got to be on stage with President Clinton,
00:00:45.107 which was a thrilling experience, in front of over a thousand people, and afterward I was thanking God literally that he did not ask me to speak in front of those people. [Laughs]
00:00:58.118 But afterwards we had some time where we were just sort of standing around and talking and that man, in the five minutes we were there,
00:01:09.977 was talking about everything from issues in Africa to food stamps in America and just seemed to know everything about every issue.
00:01:23.880 People talk about how he lights up a room and you think that you're the only person he's talking to; that's true and I also was rendered mute. I don't think I said an intelligible word.
00:01:33.521 But it was a really great experience and then afterwards I got a call from his people asking if I would attend the Clinton Global Initiative University.
00:01:47.621 So he has the Clinton Global Initiative where leaders from businesses and governments and nonprofits around the world commit to certain actions
00:01:54.858 And it's a great big deal in New York every year, but they also have started the Clinton Global Initiative University for college students
00:02:03.244 who also want to make a commitment to their communities or to the larger world.
00:02:06.823 [Pause]
00:02:08.341 And here's this big application process and there's about a thousand people that come who are chosen out of I don't know how many people that apply,
00:02:16.067 and I got a call in the first of February saying, "Do you want to go down to Austin next week and be a part of this?" and I said, sure.
00:02:22.871 So because of that award I went to this conference in Austin where I was around a thousand students from around the world, literally, who were doing incredible things.
00:02:36.550 People at NC State are so motivated to do good in the world, and to be around-. There's like a small group of people that I knew at State who were really taking leadership on doing some of that work.
00:02:48.436 To be around a thousand people from around the world and see it wasn't just at NC State,
00:02:52.668 there are people everywhere trying to do good things, and heard incredible speakers talk. Got some free TOMS shoes out of it, that sort of thing. It was fun.