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President Clinton Speaks at LSE

President Bill Clinton marked the tenth anniversary of the Clinton Foundation with a speech at the London School of Economics and Political Science this week (Wednesday 11 July). 

Bill ClintonHe was joined in conversation by actor and humanitarian Ashley Judd and spoke to an invited audience, which included LSE students, staff and alumni. The president spoke passionately about the work undertaken by the Foundation, which includes increasing the availability of AIDS care for those in need, tackling childhood obesity, promoting small-holding farms in Africa, and combating climate change.

Attracting a warm welcome from the crowd, President Clinton said he felt like an "academic pretender"   when he came to LSE. He previously spoke at an LSE public lecture in December 2001.

Speaking about the Foundation's work he said that the key question has always been how  they are going to solve problems. "You have to be willing to stop when you're failing. Don’t just have good intentions, ask what is working.”

Bill Clinton Ashley JuddWhen asked why he decided to pursue his philanthropic work, he said it was because he loved it, and jokingly added that he'd feel guilty if he didn’t.

In response to another question about how he answers climate change sceptics, he said that you need to use the evidence and show people that“…saving the planet is better economics than burning it up. Not in 20 years, but now.”

He added that one of his biggest disappointments in office was the US Senate voting against the ratification of the Kyoto protocol on climate change. Quoting Machiavelli, he acknowledged that, There is nothing so difficult than changing the established order of things.”

The Clinton Foundation was established by William Jefferson Clinton with the mission to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote healthier childhoods and protect the environment. 

President Clinton was the first Democratic president in six decades to be elected twice, in 1992 and 1996. 

Actor and humanitarian Ashley Judd has served on the Board of Directors for Population Services International (PSI) since 2004, after serving as global ambassador for PSI’s HIV education and prevention program, YouthAIDS, since 2002. 

Watch the event

Alternatively you can listen to or download the podcast for the event here:A Conversation with President Bill Clinton