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SEED Student To Attend Clinton Global Initiative University

February 13, 2014

Melina Maignan  
Melina Maignan

Melina Maignan, a student in the Scholarships for Education and Economic Development Program (SEED) program at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley, has been selected to attend Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) 2014.

CGIU will be held at Arizona State University in Tempe March 21-23, bringing together nearly 1,000 attendees to make a difference in CGIU's five focus areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation, and public health.

Students will have the opportunity to attend plenary sessions, working sessions, and other special events that will cover topics across CGIU's five focus areas and allow them to network with their peers, build skills and identify potential partnerships.

Maignan is a 25-year-old Haitian who is deaf. She is studying microcomputer applications and business administration. During her time at STLCC, Maignan has volunteered at a soup kitchen and a horse ranch, and has shared her Haitian culture through dance in an effort to educate others about her country. 

Maignan said she is proud to represent her country and Florissant Valley at the Clinton Global Initiative University. 

“I don’t know what to expect, but I hope to learn a lot about how I can develop my project to help the deaf in Haiti,” she said. 

Launched in 2007 by President Clinton, CGIU aims to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world by encouraging them to develop innovative solutions to pressing global challenges.
Students are required to develop their own Commitment to Action Plan (CAP) as a prerequisite of attending the CGIU. Maignan submitted the CAP she had developed for her home country, and was selected to be a part of a group of future leaders that hail from more than 90 countries.

“Melina had the best defined CAP of all the SEED students,” said Susan McKnight, SEED coordinator. “We asked the Deaf Communication Studies department for a student to write the application for Melina, and Sophia Meyer did a fabulous job translating Melina’s ideas from American Sign Language into English on the application.”

Maignan hopes to teach weekly sign language classes to both the deaf and hearing in order to advocate for deaf rights and to break the history of discrimination towards deaf people in Haiti. She is excited to put her ideas into action when she returns to Haiti, and believes empowerment through education can truly make a difference.