Clinton School alum Ryan Ubuntu Olson was one of 17 individuals recently named to the Clinton Global Initiative University Honor Roll, a roster of extraordinary alumni who over the past decade have made significant impacts through CGI U commitments to action and their careers.
The Honor Roll members were recognized at the 10th Annual CGI University Meeting in Boston, Mass., in October. The CGI U Honor Roll recognizes individuals dedicating their lives to taking on complex local and global challenges and finding new ways to make the world a better place. Olson was recognized for his decade of work surrounding global LGBTI human rights.
While at the Clinton School, Olson traveled to Kenya for his International Public Service Project developing LGBTI human rights training for CSOs, law enforcement officers, health care providers, and other LGBTI activists throughout the country. For his Capstone project, worked for a non-governmental organization doing advocacy work at the United Nations in New York around LGBTI human rights protections.
Since graduating in 2011, he has been a Senior Associate for Health, HIV, and Gender and Sexual Diversity at Palladium Group addressing health policy issues, working with civil society, governments, and international organizations to prevent stigma, discrimination, and violence against gender and sexual minorities and to build enabling environments in which people can fully realize their universal rights.
Most recently, Olson co-designed a gender and sexual diversity training program for the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that has been delivered to over 3,000 staff as well as implementing partners in 39 countries.
“My current role addresses these issues through a public health context in the field of international development which has served as another stepping stone to my global leadership in gender and sexual diversity since graduating from the Clinton School in 2011,” Olson said. “I have been able to take the skills and talents I developed while at UACS and apply them to the world around me while making a tangible and meaningful difference. I’m incredibly grateful to the Clinton School of Public Service for helping in part to launch me into my chosen profession.”
President Bill Clinton launched CGI U in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world. CGI U is a growing community of young leaders who don’t just discuss global challenges, but take real, concrete steps toward solving them.
“Each of these alumni bring unique skills and experiences,” President Clinton said while recognizing the CGI U Honor Roll members. “Some have been working on this for almost as long as we’ve been having CGI U. We hope by letting you see them, and I hope you will learn about their commitments, but they really are admirable people because they’ve stayed at the task.
“In other words, being a social entrepreneur, being someone committed to the work we are doing here, is now an ordinary part of their lives. Whether they do it full-time or part-time, they do it all the time and that’s what the world needs. Every young person needs to make a commitment that in the 21st century, the definition of citizenship requires us all to do this kind of work.”
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.