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C of I duo attends Clinton Global Initiative University

The College of Idaho has a long history of fostering and supporting student leaders who seek to make a difference on campus and beyond. Whether in the local community or on a global scale, many C of I students have dedicated themselves to making a positive impact on the lives of others. And this spring, current students Dulce Sanchez and Moha Azhar Mudaqiq represented the C of I at the annual Clinton Global Initiative University conference in Florida.  

CGI U brings together students, university representatives, topic experts and celebrities to discuss and develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. The conference took place March 6-8 at the University of Miami, and both Sanchez and Mudaqiq had the opportunity to participate in a variety of events designed to help their growth as responsible and active young leaders.

“If you want to bring changes in this world, don’t wait for opportunities,” said Mudaqiq, a junior math-physics major from Afghanistan. “Instead, start the changes with what you have, and the opportunity will come to you.”

That positive outlook is exactly the attitude CGI U encourages in students. Mudaqiq and Sanchez both had the opportunity to present their projects before a committee consisting of former U.S. President Bill Clinton and other potential sponsors at CGI U. They also participated in workshops with like-minded individuals from around the world.

Mudaqiq’s project—which recently received funding as a Davis Project for Peace—aims to provide clean water to Afghan students. Every year, hundreds of Afghan students die from drinking uncovered school well water that has been poisoned by terrorists. Mudaqiq’s project will consist of digging new wells with covers and installing mechanical hand pumps in order to provide clean water.

Sanchez, a first-generation college senior who is double-majoring in political economy and Spanish, focused her efforts locally. Her project, “Latina Empowerment through Education,” seeks to encourage Latinas in Idaho to pursue higher education opportunities. The project includes creating a mentoring program that will help provide Latinas with scholarships, leadership training and college preparation. Sanchez hopes to encourage Latina students to attend The College of Idaho and experience the same support and opportunities the College has offered her.

“Success is much more meaningful when shared with those who do not have the same opportunities I’ve had,” Sanchez said.

CGI U hopes to make changes in five main focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health. Many who present their projects receive support from sponsors, advisors, and workshops. This is the third consecutive year the C of I has been represented at CGI U. In 2013, Makhosazana “Khosi” Nkambule presented a project on educating and providing opportunities for young Swazi girls. Last year, current junior Keneuoe “K’hennhy” Giovanna’s project sought to empower impoverished Rwandan women by creating their own fashion line.

“We are dealing with leaders of this institution,” said Arnold Hernandez, director of multicultural affairs at the C of I. “These are students who are leaders of organizations on campus and are active in the community. They are full-time students, but they still have the skills to motivate others and make a positive impact.”

The College always has attracted students with exceptional leadership skills, but Hernandez believes—and Sanchez and Mudaqiq acknowledged—that support they’ve received from professors, peers and staff has further nurtured those skills and led to success at CGI U. This summer, Mudaqiq will travel to Afghanistan to help dig eight new water wells, while Sanchez already has begun implementing her mentoring program within the C of I’s Association for Latino Americano Students (ALAS). She also will serve as a mentor for C of I applicants to CGI U next year.

For more information, visit www.cgiu.org or contact Sanchez ([email protected]) or Mudaqiq ([email protected]). Both are happy to answer questions about their projects, or about applying for CGI U next year.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. The C of I has a legacy of academic excellence, a winning athletics tradition and a history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.