Obama to Host Entrepreneurship Summit with Muslim Majority Countries

By Cullen Dirner

Apr 23, 2010 5:34pm

From Sunlen Miller:

Last June in Cairo President Obama promised to host a Summit on Entrepreneurship “to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.”

Next week in Washington, DC, President Obama will make good on that promise.

Bringing together 250 participants from 60 countries, the administration will host the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship at the Ronald Reagan Building on Monday and Tuesday. Mr. Obama will address the summit on Monday evening and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will close the summit on Tuesday evening.

“This was a direct commitment the president made in his Cairo speech last June,” White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said briefing reporters on conference call to preview the summit, “He made the point that as we work to address issues, the US wants to deepen a set of partnerships with Muslim communities, related to education, and economic opportunity, science and technology.”

The White House painted the summit as just one step in a process that will develop over an extended period of time forging deepening partnerships between the US and Muslim-majority countries across the world.

When the president speaks on Monday evening he will, “speak “to his commitment to building these kinds of positive partnerships around the world,” an administration official said.

The White House touted the possibility for this summit to “galvanize” action, acting as a “catalyst” between other sectors of business and other regions of the world.

“We believe a key function of this is not simply what our government is doing but more importantly frankly the kind of action it can galvanize by other governments, by private sector, by foundations,” an administration official said, “And so what we hope to be doing by this is using the convening power of the US government and the president to galvanize action across of range of areas and a range of different actors.”

The entire summit will be live streamed on the White House website, so many across the world can watch, the White House says. The panels will focus on specific issues – such as social engagement, getting capital to businesses,  youth and women within entrepreneurship. After the summit, they will set up a very “robust alumni network” so the entrepreneurs can stay connected to each other.

-Sunlen Miller

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