We touched down at JFK airport shortly after midday. Gordon went straight on to meetings at the United Nations but after a long drive, weaving through the New York traffic, I had a chance to settle in and prepare for the evening ahead.
During the afternoon I met the US and UK teams of the White Ribbon Alliance – a rare chance to catch up while we are all in New York and can meet together.
A quick change and then off for my first engagement, to celebrate the completion of a compelling report that looks at simple but effective actions that improve adolescent girls’ health. I was one of the advisers on the report, called Start with a Girl: A new Agenda for Global Health. It was also a chance to meet some of the other advisers – including Nobel Prize winner Dr Muhammad Yunus, World Bank MD Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and former Irish President and member of The Elders, Mary Robinson – and preview the report, published soon. It is always good to have the opportunity to catch up with Maria Eitel who is president of the Girl Effect campaign – she is a warm and inspirational person.
We arrived at the dinner hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative at about 7pm New York time – I’m trying not to think about the time difference as it is quite late to be giving a speech to so many distinguished guests. The dinner for attendees at the week long annual conference and meetings, was in aid of an issue I feel passionately about – investing in girls and women. It was a huge honour to be asked to speak on the contribution that women can make to their families, communities, and the economy and the importance of early investment in girl’s education, nutrition and economic empowerment. During the dinner, a number of individuals were recognised for the amazing programmes that support young women and create opportunities for them. Ann Cotton, Executive Director of the UK girl’s education charity Camfed International and Melanne Verveer, Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues at the US State Department also spoke during the dinner. Lots of excitement when Barbara Streisand joined one of the tables – I understand she is a CGI regular attendee. If you want to read more, here is a transcript of my speech.