Updated at 12:39 p.m. ET on Thursday 6/13
Chicago (CNN) - Hillary Clinton burst back onto the political scene Thursday, delivering an expansive speech that kicked off the two-day Clinton Global Initiative meeting in Chicago.
In her remarks, the former secretary of state formally announced the group her husband founded more than a decade ago would be renamed to include both herself and daughter Chelsea, making it the official family business. And she described in relative detail the three areas she'll focus on at the organization: early childhood development, expanding opportunities for women and girls, and improving economic development around the world.
The enthusiastic crowd reacted the loudest when the former presidential candidate - and potential 2016 White House hopeful - declared one of her goals was to help women around the world become more engaged in the political process.
"When women participate in politics, the effects ripple out across society," Clinton said to applause and cheers.
Calling women the "world's most underused resource," Clinton cited statistics showing economies improving when women become engaged.
While Clinton has spoken at award ceremonies and has delivered a few paid speeches in the past several months, Thursday's remarks reflected the first major policy address Clinton has delivered since leaving the State Department earlier this year.
The former secretary of state joined Twitter early this week, and used her second tweet to drive people to her speech.
Her policy initiatives largely reflect the goals she set for herself at State, including the use of "smart power" to improve conditions in developing nations. In her address, she said neither governments nor markets alone could drive change around the world, leaving an opening for groups like the Clinton Initiative to provide resources to people in need.
While the group has significant international programs – including a water program in Burma that Chelsea Clinton visited in May – there are substantial problems in United States that also require the group's attention, Hillary Clinton asserted.
"In too many places in our own country, community institutions are crumbling," she said, noting the unemployment rate among young people was double the national average. Saying she "worries deeply about all the disconnected young men in our society," Clinton called for renewed investment in American education programs she said were falling behind global competitors.
America's "values still inspire the world and still can guide our way forward," she proclaimed, noting that despite "the lines that divide us - the political, geographical - we can take on any challenge."