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Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush Address Global Issues and Biotechnology Applications at 2010 BIO International Convention Keynote

CHICAGO, Ill. (Tuesday, May 4, 2010) - Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the 42nd and 43rd Presidents of the United States, took the stage together today at the 2010 BIO International Convention in Chicago, Ill. at McCormick Place. In a discussion moderated by Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the two former Presidents discussed a wide variety of issues. 

"We are honored to host such influential and experienced global thought leaders here at our Convention," said BIO President & CEO James Greenwood. "The discussion between Presidents Clinton and Bush was candid, thoughtful and informative. Both addressed important issues such as national security, the economy and their combined efforts in Haiti, in addition to exploring the biotechnology industry’s role in creating a better tomorrow by healing, fueling and feeding the world."

Both Presidents Clinton and Bush expressed strong support for biotechnology and its benefits to heal and fuel the world.

“Biotech can play a big role in how we produce and consume energy,” said President Clinton. He also stated that ‘there is no more urgent task’ than addressing climate change.

President Bush emphasized that we must have a vibrant economy to support biotech innovation. “We need to incent research and aggressively encourage investment [in biotech],” said President Bush.

Both Presidents Clinton and Bush acknowledged each others’ accomplishments while in office and kept a consistently collegial tone throughout the moderated discussion.

When President Clinton was asked what he missed most about being Commander-in-Chief he said that he loved ‘representing America around the world,’ and added that it’s the only job he’ll ever have in which they ‘play a song every time I walk into a room.’

Elected U.S. President in 1992, and again in 1996, President Clinton was the first Democratic president to be awarded a second term in six decades. President Clinton’s accomplishments include increasing investment in education, providing tax relief for working families, helping millions of Americans move from welfare to work, expanding access to technology, encouraging investment in underserved communities, protecting the environment, countering the threat of terrorism and promoting peace and strengthening democracy around the world. His Administration’s economic policies fostered the largest peacetime economic expansion in history. President Clinton previously served as the Governor of Arkansas, chairman of the National Governors’ Association and Attorney General of Arkansas.

After leaving the White House, President Clinton established the William J. Clinton Foundation with the mission to strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence.  Today the Foundation has staff and volunteers around the world working to improve lives through several initiatives, including the Clinton Health Access Initiative which is helping 2 million people living with HIV/AIDS access lifesaving drugs. Other initiatives -- including the Clinton Climate Initiative, the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative, and the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative -- are applying a business-oriented approach worldwide to fight climate change and develop sustainable economic growth in Africa and Latin America. As a project of the Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative brings together global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. In the U.S., the Foundation is working to combat the alarming rise in childhood obesity, and is helping individuals and families succeed and small businesses grow.  

In addition to his Foundation work and building on his longstanding commitment to Haiti as President, President Clinton was named U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti in 2009 to assist the government and the people of Haiti as they “build back better” after a series of hurricanes battered the country in 2008. Following this year’s devastating earthquake, President Clinton dedicated Clinton Foundation resources to help with immediate and long term relief and assistance, and at the request of President Obama, joined with President George W. Bush to establish the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, which supports highly effective organizations on the ground in long-term rebuilding efforts.

George W. Bush was the 43rd President of the United States, serving from 2001 to 2009.  Prior to his election, he served for six years as the Governor of Texas. As Governor, George W. Bush successfully reformed the state’s education, juvenile justice, welfare, and tort laws. In 1998, he became the first Governor elected to back-to-back four-year terms in the history of Texas with a record 68 percent of the vote.

During his time as President, George W. Bush worked to extend freedom, opportunity, and security at home and abroad.  His first initiative as President was the No Child Left Behind Act, a bipartisan measure that has led to demonstrable gains in educational achievement, especially among minority students.  Faced with a recession when he took office, President Bush cut taxes for every federal income taxpayer, triggering 52 months of uninterrupted job growth, the longest such streak in American history.  President Bush also modernized Medicare by adding a prescription drug benefit, a reform providing access to critical medicines for 40 million seniors and other beneficiaries.  

Following the attacks of September 11th, 2001, President Bush implemented a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism, including the largest reorganization of the federal government since World War II.  President Bush rallied the world in the defense of freedom and led a global coalition in the liberation of more than 50 million people from tyranny. In his more than seven years in office after September 11th, 2001, the United States was not attacked again. 

Since leaving office, President Bush has focused on launching the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University, which will encompass the Presidential Library and Museum, Archives, and the George W. Bush Institute.  The Institute, which President Bush announced with Mrs. Bush  last fall, will advance the principles that guided him during his time in public service and has four areas of engagement: education, global health, human freedom, and economic growth, and two cross-cutting areas that permeate the four: the women’s initiative and social entrepreneurship.  The Institute will engage in action-oriented research and develop partnerships with foundations, social entrepreneurs, NGOs, government entities, and faith-based organizations.  The Institute’s mission is to turn ideas into action.

The 2010 BIO International Convention is expected to draw nearly 15,000 industry leaders from 48 states and 60 countries.  In addition to the keynote sessions, the 2010 BIO International Convention program will feature more than 125 breakout sessions across 17 tracks. The Convention also features the BIO Business Forum, which provides an opportunity for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, academic research institutions and investors from around the world to schedule one-on-one meetings and discuss potential business opportunities. 

The BIO International Convention helps to support BIO programs and initiatives.  BIO works throughout the year to create a policy environment that enables the industry to continue to fulfill its vision of bettering the world through biotechnology innovation.  For more information on the global event for biotechnology, including program and housing information, please visit  



Upcoming BIO Events

BIO International Convention
May 3-6, 2010
Chicago, IL
McCormick Place Convention Center

2010 BIO Human Resources Conference
May 4-7, 2010
Chicago, IL 

World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing
June 27-30, 2010
Washington, DC

BIO India
September 21 - 22, 2010
Hyderabad, India



BIO’s Livestock Biotechnology Summit
September 28-30, 2010,
Sioux Falls, SD

 About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.