Courtney Spence on How Clinton Global Initiative Empowers Young Filmmakers

In Chapter 11 of 16 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, non-profit founder and executive Courtney Spence answers how the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) matches her non-profit student filmmakers to story opportunities in the field. Spence is founder and executive director of Students of the World, a non-profit that partners with passionate college students to create new media to highlight global issues and the organizations working to address them. Spence graduated with a BA in History from Duke University.


Erik Michielsen:  How does the Clinton Global Initiative act as a matchmaker connecting your students to stories?

Courtney Spence:  So, the Clinton Global Initiative is so many things, but one of the aspects of the organization is the fact that they have just a wealth of relationships, friendships, organizations, and stories to tell that touch upon everything from climate change to health, to women’s empowerment, to financial inclusion.  I mean the issues that are out there, you name it, it’s discussed, and not just discussed as a problem, it’s discussed as solutions, and you bring in organizations, and thought leaders, and innovators, and social entrepreneurs, and heads of state, and executive directors, and CEOs, and I mean you get this group together and it is a powerful force for change. 

So what happens there is you have all of these individuals and these organizations that, you know, within them have just layers, and layers, and layers of stories that are, you know, that need to be told.  And so, you know, we have been so fortunate in, you know, having CGI as a partner that we can say ‘okay, we want – here is what we offer, here is the service that we offer, here, you know, we have four projects this year, you know, let’s talk about various organizations that you think would be a good fit for this.’  And that’s always a really fun process to go through that with them because there are so many organizations and so much of it is also about timing and approaching people in the right way, but, you know, for us, what has been really exciting is to see organizations that weren’t necessarily on our radar  just sort of pop up and be, you know, end up becoming a lifelong partner, and it’s really – it’s an incredible network, and the stories, you know, that come from that are just absolutely inspiring.