Former President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, are in Boston this weekend.
The Clinton Global Initiative opened a three-day program Friday on the campus of Northeastern. The former commander in chief is headlining the event.
"Our common humanity works both ways," said President Clinton. "If we don't lift each other up, we're going to tear each other down."
Panelists inspired the audience -- mostly students -- with individual success stories in the face of unique challenges.
"I'm the first Muslim woman to represent Team USA while wearing a hijab," said Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.
More than 1,000 students from around the world are taking part in this year's symposium. The first panel of the weekend event was entitled "What Unites Us: Building Community in a Divided World."
"We're much more connected than we think," said panelist Sandra Uwiringiyimana, who survived a refugee massacre in Congo. "And we know the only way to know that is by talking to one another ... having these conversations that we fear having because we're afraid of what the other person looks like."
The message Friday was that students should embrace their interdependence to promote inclusion, diverse opinions and stronger communities.
"My takeaway from this is to talk to people who are different from you," said student Pauline Pratt. "Get a different perspective, and that way we broaden my own perspective in order for me to see things from different angles, so that I can be more effective in what I do."