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Student selected for global outreach conference

Seminole State College honors student Daniel Leon (right) will join more than 1,000 scholars, activists, public figures and entertainers from around the world for the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) Meeting April 16-18 at the University of Miami.

Leon, 21, a student in the Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute, was selected for the event after submitting a detailed outreach proposal in the area of poverty alleviation. His initiative, called "Move Your Feet, Feed the Need," uses performing arts to fight hunger in the U.S.

Through "Move Your Feet, Feed the Need," Leon, a dance instructor who lives in Lake Mary, plans to host weekly dance classes at Seminole State and around the community. Instead of charging a fee, the Dr. Phillips High School graduate will require participants to bring canned goods, which will be donated to Atlanta-based organization Hosea Feed the Hungry. He also intends to set up food drop-off bins at the two dance studios where he teaches.

The CGI U three-day conference will help Leon develop a formal plan of action for launching his initiative.

"Community service is very important to me, and I don't get to do as much of it as I'd like," he says. "This is my chance to make a difference in the lives of others."

Eventually, Leon hopes to expand his project to include professional guest choreographers, concert performances and other arts programming. He has already applied for grant support through CGI U and the Wal-Mart Foundation to turn his vision into a reality.

"Poverty and hunger are big issues in this country," he says. "I am so thankful to be able to do what I love and give back at the same time."

The CGI U Meeting will incorporate forums, workshops and guest speakers to empower students to tackle issues of local and international concern. Several topics will be explored, including CGI U's five global challenge areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health.

CGI U was launched by former President Bill Clinton in 2007 to engage the next generation of student leaders around the world. The annual event is modeled after the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings together world leaders to address global challenges. For more information, visit the CGI U Web site.

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