Skip to comments.Remarks by the President at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship
Posted on 04/29/2010 1:34:46 AM PDT by Cindy
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Home Briefing Room Speeches & Remarks
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 26, 2010
Remarks by the President at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Washington, D.C.
6:05 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Everybody, please have a seat. Good evening, everyone, and welcome to Washington.
In my life, and as President, I have had the great pleasure of visiting many of your countries, and Ive always been grateful for the warmth and the hospitality that you and your fellow citizens have shown me. And tonight, I appreciate the opportunity to return the hospitality.
For many of you, I know this is the first time visiting our country. So let me say, on behalf of the American people, welcome to the United States of America. (Applause.)
It is an extraordinary privilege to welcome you to this Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship. This has been a coordinated effort across my administration, and I want to thank all the hardworking folks and leaders at all the departments and agencies who made it possible, and who are here tonight.
That includes our United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk. Wheres Ron? There he is. (Applause.) I especially want to thank the two departments and leaders who took the lead on this summit -- Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Please give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)
Were joined by members of Congress who work every day to help their constituents realize the American Dream, and whose life stories reflect the diversity and equal opportunity that we cherish as Americans: Nydia Velazquez, who is also, by the way, the chairwoman of our Small Business Committee in the House of Representatives. (Applause.) Keith Ellison is here. (Applause.) And Andre Carson is here. (Applause.)
Most of all, I want to thank all of you for being part of this historic event. Youve traveled from across the United States and nearly 60 countries, from Latin America to Africa, Europe to Central Asia, from the Middle East to Southeast Asia.
And you bring with you the rich tapestry of the worlds great traditions and great cultures. You carry within you the beauty of different colors and creeds, races and religions. Youre visionaries who pioneered new industries and young entrepreneurs looking to build a business or a community.
But weve come together today because of what we share -- a belief that we are all bound together by certain common aspirations. To live with dignity. To get an education. To live healthy lives. Maybe to start a business, without having to pay a bribe to anybody. To speak freely and have a say in how we are governed. To live in peace and security and to give our children a better future.
But were also here because we know that over the years, despite all we have in common, the United States and Muslim communities around the world too often fell victim to mutual mistrust.
And thats why I went to Cairo nearly one year ago and called for a new beginning between the United States and Muslim communities -- a new beginning based on mutual interest and mutual respect. I knew that this vision would not be fulfilled in a single year, or even several years. But I knew we had to begin and that all of us have responsibilities to fulfill.
As President, Ive worked to ensure that America once again meets its responsibilities, especially when it comes to the security and political issues that have often been a source of tension. The United States is responsibly ending the war in Iraq, and we will partner with Iraqi people for their long-term prosperity and security. In Afghanistan, in Pakistan and beyond, were forging new partnerships to isolate violent extremists, but also to combat corruption and foster the development that improves lives and communities.
I say it again tonight: Despite the inevitable difficulties, so long as I am President, the United States will never waver in our pursuit of a two-state solution that ensures the rights and security of both Israelis and Palestinians. (Applause.) And around the world, the United States of America will continue to stand with those who seek justice and progress and the human rights and dignity of all people.
But even as I committed the United States to addressing these security and political concerns, I also made it clear in Cairo that we needed something else -- a sustained effort to listen to each other and to learn from each other, to respect one another. And I pledged to forge a new partnership, not simply between governments, but also between people on the issues that matter most in their daily lives -- in your lives.
Now, many questioned whether this was possible. Yet over the past year, the United States has been reaching out and listening. Weve joined interfaith dialogues and held town halls, roundtables and listening sessions with thousands of people around the world, including many of you. And like so many people, youve extended your hand in return, each in your own way, as entrepreneurs and educators, as leaders of faith and of science.
I have to say, perhaps the most innovative response was from Dr. Naif al-Mutawa of Kuwait, who joins us here tonight. Where is Dr. Mutawa? (Applause.) His comic books have captured the imagination of so many young people with superheroes who embody the teachings and tolerance of Islam. After my speech in Cairo, he had a similar idea. So in his comic books, Superman and Batman reached out to their Muslim counterparts. (Laughter.) And I hear theyre making progress, too. (Laughter.) Absolutely. (Applause.)
By listening to each other weve been able to partner with each other. Weve expanded educational exchanges, because knowledge is the currency of the 21st century. Our distinguished science envoys have been visiting several of your countries, exploring ways to increase collaboration on science and technology.
Were advancing global health, including our partnership with the Organization of the Islamic Conference, to eradicate polio. This is just one part of our broader engagement with the OIC, led by my Special Envoy, Rashad Hussain, who joins us here tonight. Wheres Rashad? (Applause.)
And were partnering to expand economic prosperity. At a government level, Id note that putting the G20 in the lead on global economic decision-making has brought more voices to the table -- including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, India and Indonesia. And here today, were fulfilling my commitment in Cairo to deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.
Now, I know some have asked -- given all the security and political and social challenges we face, why a summit on entrepreneurship? The answer is simple.
Entrepreneurship -- because you told us that this was an area where we can learn from each other; where America can share our experience as a society that empowers the inventor and the innovator; where men and women can take a chance on a dream -- taking an idea that starts around a kitchen table or in a garage, and turning it into a new business and even new industries that can change the world.
Entrepreneurship -- because throughout history, the market has been the most powerful force the world has ever known for creating opportunity and lifting people out of poverty.
Entrepreneurship -- because its in our mutual economic interest. Trade between the United States and Muslim-majority countries has grown. But all this trade, combined, is still only about the same as our trade with one country -- Mexico. So theres so much more we can do together, in partnership, to foster opportunity and prosperity in all our countries.
And social entrepreneurship -- because, as I learned as a community organizer in Chicago, real change comes from the bottom up, from the grassroots, starting with the dreams and passions of single individuals serving their communities.
And thats why were here. We have Jerry Yang, who transformed how we communicate, with Yahoo. Is Jerry here? Where is he? Hell be here tomorrow. As well as entrepreneurs who have opened cybercafés and new forums on the Internet for discussion and development. Together, you can unleash the technologies that will help shape the 21st century.
We have successes like Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, who I met earlier, who built a telecommunications empire that empowered people across Africa. And we have aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their businesses and hire new workers. Together you can address the challenges of accessing capital. We have trailblazers like Sheikha Hanadi of Qatar, along with Waed al Taweel, who I met earlier -- a 20-year-old student from the West Bank who wants to build recreation centers for Palestinian youth. So together, they represent the incredible talents of women entrepreneurs and remind us that countries that educate and empower women are countries that are far more likely to prosper. I believe that. (Applause.)
We have pioneers like Chris Hughes, who created Facebook, as well as an online community that brought so many young people into my campaign for President -- MyBarackObama.com. (Laughter.) We have people like Soraya Salti of Jordan who are empowering the young men and women who will be leaders of tomorrow. (Applause.) Together, they represent the great potential and expectations of young people around the world.
And weve got social entrepreneurs like Tri Mumpuni, who has helped rural communities in Indonesia -- (applause) -- harness the electricity, and revenues, of hydro-power. And Andeisha Farid, an extraordinary woman from Afghanistan, whos taken great risks to educate the next generation, one girl at a time. (Applause.) Together, they point the way to a future where progress is shared and prosperity is sustainable.
And I also happened to notice Dr. Yunus -- its wonderful to see you again. I think so many people know the history of Grameen Bank and all the great work thats been done to help finance entrepreneurship among the poorest of the poor, first throughout South Asia, and now around the world.
So this is the incredible potential that you represent; the future we can seize together. So tonight I'm proud to announce a series of new partnerships and initiatives that will do just that.
The United States is launching several new exchange programs. We will bring business and social entrepreneurs from Muslim-majority countries to the United States and send their American counterparts to learn from your countries. (Applause.) So women in technology fields will have the opportunity to come to the United States for internships and professional development. And since innovation is central to entrepreneurship, were creating new exchanges for science teachers.
Were forging new partnerships in which high-tech leaders from Silicon Valley will share their expertise -- in venture capital, mentorship, and technology incubators -- with partners in the Middle East and in Turkey and in Southeast Asia.
And tonight, I can report that the Global Technology and Innovation Fund that I announced in Cairo will potentially mobilize more than $2 billion in investments. This is private capital, and it will unlock new opportunities for people across our countries in sectors like telecommunications, health care, education, and infrastructure.
And finally, Im proud that were creating here at this summit not only these programs that Ive just mentioned, but its not going to stop here. Together, weve sparked a new era of entrepreneurship -- with events all over Washington this week, and upcoming regional conferences around the world.
Tonight, I am pleased to announce that Prime Minister Erdogan has agreed to host the next Entrepreneurship Summit next year in Turkey. (Applause.) And so I thank the Prime Minister and the people and private sector leaders of Turkey for helping to sustain the momentum that we will unleash this week.
So as I said, there are those who questioned whether we could forge these new beginnings. And given the magnitude of the challenges we face in the world -- and lets face it, a lot of the bad news that comes through the television each and every day -- sometimes it can be tempting to believe that the goodwill and good works of ordinary people are simply insufficient to the task at hand. But to any who still doubt whether partnerships between people can remake our world, I say look at the men and women who are here today.
Look at the professor who came up with an idea -- micro-finance -- that empowered the rural poor across his country, especially women and children. Thats the powerful example of Dr. Yunus.
Look what happened when Muhammad shared his idea with a woman from Pakistan, who has since lifted hundreds of thousands of families and children out of poverty through a foundation whose name literally means miracle. Thats the example of Roshaneh Zafar. (Applause.)
Look what happened when that idea spread across the world -- including to people like my own mother, who worked with the rural poor from Pakistan to Indonesia. That simple idea, began with a single person, has now transformed the lives of millions. Thats the spirit of entrepreneurship.
So, yes, the new beginning we seek is not only possible, it has already begun. It exists within each of you, and millions around the world who believe, like we do, that the future belongs not to those who would divide us, but to those who come together; not to those who would destroy, but those who would build; not those trapped in the past, but those who, like us, believe with confidence and conviction in a future of justice and progress and the dignity of all human beings regardless of their race, regardless of their religion.
Thats the enormous potential that were hoping to unlock during this conference and hoping to continue not only this week but in the months and years ahead. So Im grateful that all of you are participating. May God bless you all and may Gods peace be upon you. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 6:22 P.M. EDT
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FACT SHEET: A NEW BEGINNING — THE PRESIDENTIAL SUMMIT ON
The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship (April 26-27, 2010) will highlight the important
roles that entrepreneurship can play in expanding opportunity at home and abroad, while
deepening engagement among the United States and Muslim communities around the world. It
will bring together approximately 250 successful entrepreneurs from more than fifty countries;
identify ways to advance economic and social entrepreneurship; build networks among
stakeholders in entrepreneurship; and, provide an opportunity to establish partnerships that
The United States is committed to working with entrepreneurs around the world, including those
in Muslim-majority countries and Muslim communities. In addition to partnering with other
governments and multilateral organizations, promoting entrepreneurship will require new public-
private partnerships. At the Summit on Entrepreneurship, the U.S. Government is pleased to
highlight a number of selected programs and partnerships that will help expand mutual
understanding and mutual opportunity. Further details regarding these programs and
partnerships will be provided by the lead Department or agency supporting them:
Entrepreneurs for a New Beginning
Entrepreneurs for a New Beginning is a new two-way professional exchange program for rising
business and social entrepreneurs. The Department of State is forging relationships to offer
participants educational seminars, mentorship, and first-hand experience in the business place
with American entrepreneurs. The program will connect participants with outbound American
entrepreneurs and will examine strategies used in the United States to enhance the capacities of
young business managers, to develop a spirit of entrepreneurship and small business enterprise,
and to strengthen societies through the pursuit of social entrepreneurship. This program will
bring 100 entrepreneurs to the U.S. over the next 4 years and will also work with private sector
partners to send 100 American entrepreneurs abroad over the next four years. More information
can be obtained from the Department of State.
Science and Technology Education Exchanges
During his speech in Cairo, the President said that education and innovation will be the
currency of the 21st century. This new science and technology exchange program will bring 25
science teachers from Muslim-majority countries and communities to examine effective methods
of teaching science at the primary and secondary school levels. The program will explore how to
nurture and support hands-on science education, how to demonstrate the relevance of science for
children, and how to create a setting in which children actively engage in scientific learning. In
addition, the participants will observe extracurricular science camps and science fair educational
programs that emphasize experiential learning.
A new effort led by the Department of State in partnership with the Department of Commerce,
USAID, OPIC, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Global Entrepreneurship
Program will coordinate, integrate, and leverage existing U.S. Government and private sector
resources, partnerships, and programs to support six methods of supporting entrepreneurs:
Identify, Train, Connect, Guide to funding, Sustain, and Celebrate. The proposed program has
twelve focus countries throughout the world, including seven Muslim-majority countries. The
Department of State and USAID have launched the first pilot program in Egypt and will soon
launch the second in Indonesia.
FINANCING FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND INNOVATION
Global Technology and Innovation Fund
In response to President Obamas Cairo speech last June, the Overseas Private Investment
Corporation (OPIC) launched the global technology and innovation call for privately managed
investment funds in October 2009. The Funds will make investments in start up and growth
oriented companies in the telecommunications, media, and technology sectors. Some Funds will
utilize a technology transfer strategy by importing existing technology in developed countries
to increase innovation and efficiency in sectors such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
In addition, the Funds will promote the economic and social development of the target countries.
With the private sector capital catalyzed by OPIC, these Funds will have the potential to
mobilize over $2 billion in private equity capital for Muslim-majority countries. All Funds
remain subject to review and approval of OPICs Board of Directors.
Partners for a New Beginning
Partners for a New Beginning will be a group of eminent Americans from a variety of sectors
corporate, philanthropic, education, non-profit, entertainment who will leverage resources and
capabilities outside the U.S. Government to advance the vision for a new beginning with Muslim
communities around the world. Partners for a New Beginning will be an independent, self-
administered group that will operate in close coordination with the Department of State.
Expanding Ties With Silicon Valley
The Department of State will collaborate with partners in Silicon Valley to launch two of the first
Silicon Valley-based incubators and venture capital funds in the Middle East, Turkey, and
Southeast Asia. Both efforts will provide venture capital, Silicon Valley mentorship, technology
and connectivity to emerging entrepreneurs in 5 locations Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and
Malaysia. In addition to helping provide technological and financial expertise and access to
capital and other services, these two efforts will help to build ties between business and
educational communities in the United States and those in the countries in which it operates.
SUSTAINING A FOCUS ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP
The Summit on Entrepreneurship has helped catalyze conversations about entrepreneurship
around the world. In the days immediately after the Summit, there will be over thirty related but
independent events in the Washington, D.C. area. In months to come, several partners have
expressed interest in hosting follow-on conferences, and these will be held in places ranging
from Indonesia to Abu Dhabi, Iraq to Algeria, and France to Bahrain among others.
Additionally, Prime Minister Erdogan has agreed to host the next Entrepreneurship Summit in
Turkey in 2011.
Professional Technical Exchanges for Women
TechWomen is a new professional mentorship program for women from eligible countries who
are working in the field of technology. Selected participants will travel to the United States in
the spring of 2011 to work with mid-level female employees in various companies in technology
hubs such as Silicon Valley. Upon the completion of their mentorships, select American
counterparts will travel to the participants home regions to offer skills development and
networking workshops for a broader range of women.
Young Entrepreneurs Program
Launched in September 2009, the Young Entrepreneurs Program is a professional exchange
program that promotes entrepreneurial thinking, job creation, business planning, and
management skills to assist young professionals. As part of the YEP, the Department of State
will launch a new initiative called Education to Employment Fellows. Beginning in 2009, this
initiative will bring at least thirty fellows from eligible countries to the United States for
internships that will aid their professional development.
DIRECT ASSISTANCE FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP
USAIDs Commitment to Support Entrepreneurship
USAID will support all stages of the entrepreneurship ecosystem by working with partners to
strengthen the business enabling environment, expand educational opportunities, facilitate
market opportunities and access to capital, and build connectedness and business support.
Specific efforts USAID plans to undertake include:
Support business enabling environment reforms in 15 partner countries.
Undertake surveys in five countries (Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Turkey, and Egypt)
and use their findings to work together with local private partners to promote supportive
environments to encourage economic growth.
Provide open source web-and media-based entrepreneurship education targeted for
women, youth, and other underserved audiences on topics ranging from starting and
growing a business to the use of internet technologies.
Support local educational programs to build capacity among business owners and their
Facilitate entrepreneurs access to private sources of finance (e.g., microfinance
institutions, venture capital funds, commercial banks).
Develop and expand business innovation centers.
Develop partnerships to expand the number of companies and volunteers assisting
entrepreneurs in developing countries, thereby building partnerships between
entrepreneurs in the U.S. and abroad.
Small Business Administration Partnerships with Oman, Bahrain, Tunisia
SBA and the Department of State have entered into several agreements with Oman, Bahrain, and
Tunisia to assist women entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa. Through these
Memorandums of Understanding, SBA will provide guidance and assistance in developing and
implementing loan guarantee programs, government procurement policies, entrepreneurial
development programs and business centers, and support to strengthen women and small and
Global Entrepreneurship Program
Was this televised?
CSPAN perhaps for a replay?
KV and I are always looking for a good comedy and this would be a hoot.
Note: The following text is a quote:
“A New Beginning: Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship
A New Beginning: Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship
Foreign and Domestic Clips
Entrepreneurship in the Limelight. GordonWebbo Blog (4/25/2010). Here is one world- class event that will certainly have positive consequences on world economy [...] Individuals, like you and I, will benefit from the increased recognition of the power of entrepreneurs, no matter how small, to have a positive and lasting effect on the economic well being, not only of active entrepreneurs, but of the countries they live in as well. Click here for full article.
Obama Meets Pioneers and Innovators from the Islamic World in effort to launch a New Beginning. Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (Washington, 4/25/2010). Deputy Secretary of State: We want to encourage numerous kinds of relations with the Islamic world [...] President Obama will meet tomorrow with a number of entrepreneurs and innovators from the Islamic world during an entrepreneurship summit. Click here for full article (in Arabic).
250 International and Arabic people from 50 countries and 5 continents attending Al- Youm al-Saba (Egypt, 4/24/2010). The initiative of President Obama is an initiative of science and technology and is considered a New Beginning that will spread a message of trust and achievement between the U.S. and the Arab and Islamic countries [...] Doctor Abdullah Aziz al- Najjar added that the implementation of this initiative [...] will upgrade the search for knowledge and technological development, just like during the plan by General George Marshall after World War Two. Click here for full article (in Arabic).
Obama invites Israel to attend Entrepreneurship Summit in Washington that is being attended by 15 Egyptians. Al-Dustour (Egypt, 4/24/2010). The U.S. explained the invitation to Israel by saying that the participants are from different religious, social and economic backgrounds and this enhances the importance of the summit [...] In addition, religion and nationality were not among the selection criteria for the participants [...] Ambassador Scobey said that the Summit follows up on the President Obamas speech at Cairo University when he announced a summit on entrepreneurship to increase economic ties between the U.S. and the Islamic world especially. Click here for full article (in Arabic).
US to host Muslim entrepreneurship meet. Press Trust of India (Delhi, 4/24/2010). In a first, the US is hosting next week a summit of "dynamic" Muslim entrepreneurs based in over 55 countries, including India, as part of its objective to deepen ties with the community. About half a dozen participants, in the summit beginning on Monday, are from India. The summit is one of the many ways to show that the US is delivering on the principles and commitments made in President Barack Obama's speech last year at Cairo to engage people in Muslim communities around the world. Click here for full article.
Obama to pledge commitment to Muslim countries at upcoming summit. Kuwait News Agency (Kuwait, 4/24/2010). US President Barack Obama will offer his commitment to partnership with the Muslim-majority world at the upcoming Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship next week, an official said Friday. Click here for full article.
Yahoo!, Egypt NGO in entrepreneurship drive Trade Arabia (Cairo, 4/24/2010). Yahoo! and Nahdet El Mahrousa, an Egypt-based nongovernmental organisation (NGO) have launched an online campaign to encourage social entrepreneurship among young Egyptians. Called Social innovation starts with YOU, the campaign is aligned with the U.S. Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship that will take place on April 26 and 27 in Washington DC, where Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang will speak on how the Internet can positively transform lives, societies, and economies in emerging markets and Arab communities. Click here for full article.
Obama hosts summit Monday to improve relations with the Islamic world. (my translation) Al-Khaleej (The Gulf, 4/23,2010). Beginning on Monday at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in the U.S., on April 26-27, there will be the first presidential summit on entrepreneurship for the Arabic and Islamic world. Click here for full article (in Arabic).
Obama to host Muslim entrepreneurship summit. The Associated Press (Washington, 4/23/2010). Making good on a promise he made to the Muslim world last year, President Barack Obama will host an entrepreneurship summit next week to deepen ties between business people in the U.S. and Muslim countries. More than 250 entrepreneurs, educators and investors from 50 countries will gather in Washington Monday for the two-day summit. The goals include finding ways to make economic and social climates conducive to entrepreneurship, and developing the role of businesswomen. Click here for full article.
White House expected to announce projects at business summit. The Hill (Washington, 4/23/2010). The White House is expected to announced several projects during a business summit next week designed to improve trade and job creation between the United States and Muslim countries. The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, which runs Monday and Tuesday in Washington, D.C., is expected to provide a forum to address barriers and look at avenues to building business partnerships to create jobs here and abroad, senior Obama administration officials said in a conference call with reporters Friday. Click here for full article.
Fulfilling Another Cairo Commitment: Next Week's Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship. Huffington Post (Washington, 4/23/2010). The Summit represents another crucial milestone in President Obama's commendable agenda to help bridge the divide between the U.S. and Muslim-majority nations in order to repair America's relationship with Islam and Muslim-majority nations. Since Obama's June 2009 Cairo address to the Muslim world his administration has been methodically transforming the spirit of his speech into actual programs [...]initial euphoria President Obama generated by his Cairo address has been taken down a few notches because of his failure so far to promote tangible progress in the cause of Middle East peace, or to reduce the threat that an emboldened nuclear Iran poses to the region.But the President's personal popularity remains high because he and his team deeply appreciate the importance of committing the U.S. to an engagement agenda that matters to Muslims who themselves want to make a positive difference in their communities and nations. Click here for full article.
Obama to Host Entrepreneurship Summit with Muslim Majority Countries. ABC News (Washington, 4/23/2010). 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 [...]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. Click here for full article.
Obama to host summit for Muslim entrepreneurs. USA Todays The Oval (4/23/2010). Next week, President Obama fulfills a pledge he made last year in his speech to the Muslim world. Click here for full article.
Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship Holds April 26. All Africa (Lagos, 4/23/2010). United States embassy in Nigeria has said that the presidential summit on entrepreneurship would hold between April 26 and 27 [...]The mission pointed out that the summit was an example of a broader engagement called for by President Obama in his June 4, 2009 speech in Cairo, where he called for a new relationship between the U.S. and Muslim communities around the world based on mutual respect, mutual interest, and mutual responsibility; a commitment to universal values; and broader engagement on issues including education, economic development, health, and science and technology. Click here for full article.
Two Qatari women for Obama summit. The Peninsula (Doha, 4/23/2010). Two Qatari women entrepreneurs have been selected to attend the two-day presidential summit on entrepreneurship being hosted by US President Barack Obama in Washington on April 26 and 27. The summit, titled A New Beginning: The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, will highlight the increasing role of entrepreneurs in addressing common challenges while building partnership that can lead to greater job opportunities. Click here for full article.
AllWorld Network to Release New Insights on the 'Entrepreneurship DNA' of Vibrant Companies in the Middle-East. PR Newswire (Boston, 4/23/2010). On Monday, April 26th to coincide with Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, AllWorld Network will release the first real time data on the performance of growth companies in the Middle East and North Africa. AllWorld has launched the Arabia 500 - a massive effort across the Middle East and North Africa to find and analyze the fastest growing emerging companies of the region. Click here for full article.
Turkey, US to deepen ties with entrepreneurs. Hurriyet (Istanbul, 4/22/2010). Boosting entrepreneurship is a win-win policy that increases growth, creates jobs and promotes the development of civil society infrastructure abroad, according to Altuntaş [one of the participants]. The summit aims to start new dialogue by exploring how to rise above current challenges and the lessons learned from the U.S. public and private sectors; forging collaborative relationships with the U.S. public and private actors; and overseeing partners to develop innovative and effective solutions to common problems. Click here for full article.
Nine UAE business leaders selected for Obamas entrepreneur summit. The National (Abu Dhabi, 4/22/2010). I am particularly pleased to see a large delegation from the UAE, Richard Olson, the US ambassador to the UAE, said in a statement. I firmly believe that the UAE participants in this presidential summit will bring a unique perspective from one of the most entrepreneurial economies in the region. Click here for full article.
Transcript from PBS Nightly Business Report (4/22/2010). TIM KANE, SR. FELLOW, THE KAUFFMAN FOUNDATION: Next week, President Obama is hosting a summit for more than 50 countries with sizable Muslim populations and it's a summit on entrepreneurship. Maybe that sounds like small potatoes compared the big nuclear summit the White House hosted last week, but I think it's even more important. World peace will have economic roots. Click here for full article.
UAE To Participate in Obamas Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in Washington D.C. Bernama (Abu Dhabi, 4/22/2010). Participants represent a broad and diverse spectrum of backgrounds, from social and economic entrepreneurs and stakeholders in the entrepreneurship ecosystem, to lenders and educators. This diversity will be a hallmark of this Presidential Summit [...]The Summit will highlight the role entrepreneurship can play in addressing common challenges while building partnerships that will lead to greater opportunity abroad and at home. Click here for full article.
Three Kuwaiti participants in US Presidential Summit. Kuwait Times (Kuwait, 4/22/2010). Promoting economic and social entrepreneurship globally is a vital element of the Obama Administration's foreign economic and development policy -- a policy that fosters economic growth, creates jobs, promotes civil society and provides new economic opportunities for US business and investors [...]More than just a forum for discussion, we hope the summit will establish a platform for attendees and others to build partnerships that will create economic opportunity and change lives. Click here for full article.
A New Beginning: U.S. Summit on Entrepreneurship. Oxford Islamic Marketing (Washington 4/22/2010). The conference will highlight the role that entrepreneurs play in communities in creating jobs and improving societies. Results expected from the gathering are new programs, partnerships, relationships and networks, which will encourage starting new businesses and social projects [...]Walter Isaacson, president of the Aspen Institute, said it is vital that the summit be more than a public relations exercise. We have to turn talk into action. The Obama administration has shaped a compelling vision of how an entrepreneurs summit can transcend politics and get us working together around the world in a very exciting way, he said. Click here for full article.
Six Indians to attend Presidential Summit in U.S. Press Trust of India (Mumbai, 4/21/2010). Last year, during his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, Mr. Obama had highlighted the need for improving the life standards of Muslims across the world through tapping the global opportunities through creating more jobs. The Summit will work towards deepening the ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the U.S. and Muslim communities around the world, [the American Centre] said. Click here for full article.
Four Kenyans Invited to Obama Summit. Sunday Nation (Nairobi, 4/20/2010). The conference A New Beginning: The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship - builds on President Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo last year in which he 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. Click here for full article.
Three Nigerians Picked to Attend Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship in US. Nam News Network (Lagos, 4/20/2010). The embassy said the summit, expected to bring together successful entrepreneurs from 50 countries across the globe, would afford them the opportunity to identify obstacles, potential solutions and establish partnerships. The summit is an opportunity for networking, sharing ideas and interaction among entrepreneurs and those committed to advancing entrepreneurship. The summit is also serving as a catalyst for discussion and action among stakeholders in entrepreneurship across the globe, it said. Click here for full article.
Brunei 'keropok' entrepreneur to meet peers in US summit. The Brunei Times (Brunei, 4/20/2010). Asked of her thoughts of being chosen, Mazrina said that this is a new challenge and a learning process. She said she hopes to gain more experience and knowledge from others who are more seasoned and ultimately, share that experience with Bruneian small-to-medium enterprises [...] Mazrina could come back and speak to everybody about what went on ... This is the start of President Barack Obama's programme to deepen ties between businesses and entrepreneurs in the US and Muslim communities around the world, said McIntyre [U.S. Embassy Charge dAffaires]. Click here for full article.
Zainab Utama owner to represent Brunei at US Presidents Summit. Personal blog of Waleed PD Mahdini (Brunei, 4/20/2010). US President Barack Obama delivered a historic speech June 4 last year at Al-Azhar University of Cairo in which he extended the message and offer of understanding, learning and mutual interest and respect of a common ground from America to the Muslim world [...] Holding true to his word, the two-day Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship will be hosted in Washington DC. Click here for full article.
The State of Entrepreneurship in Malaysia. Entrepreneurs.my (4/19/2010). Today, we start the seven day countdown for the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, and I want to take the opportunity to highlight a nation where entrepreneurship is starting to bloom: Malaysia. Click here for full article. U.S. Consul: Palestinian Entrepreneurs Represent Foundations of a Palestinian State. WAFA (Ramallah, 4/19/2010). The U.S. Consul General, Daniel Rubenstein, said, today, that the delegation, composed of Palestinian business women and men, who will participate in the presidential summit to be hosted by U.S President Barack Obama in Washington April 26-27, 2010, is an essential element in the new Palestinian American partnerships and are the foundations of a Palestinian state [...] Dr. Rajaa Sarghali, said the importance of their participation in this summit stems from the importance of letting the world know of Palestinian women entrepreneurs, and their vision and their capabilities when they have necessary resources for their work. Click here for full article.
Entrepreneurs look forward to summit in Washington. Business Times (Kuala Lumpur, 4/19/2010). Entrepreneurs K. Kabilan and Dhakshinamoorthy Dash Balakrishnan are still pinching themselves over an opportunity to attend the US Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship next week. Its like a dream come true, they enthused to media at an event hosted by the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Click here for full article.
Three M'sians invited to Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship. The Edge (Kuala Lumpur, 4/18/2010). Three local entrepreneurs have been invited to attend the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship which will be hosted by US President Barack Obama, starting April 26 in Washington DC. The two-day summit is a culmination of the announcement by Obama in June last year to broaden and deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and entrepreneurs in the US and Muslim communities around the world. Click here for full article.
From selling fighting fish to a summit with Obama. New Straits Times (Kuala Lumpur, 4/18/2010). IN ALL his foreign travels, perhaps the one hes taking next week can be considered as one of the important ones for Dhakshinamoorthy Balakrishnan, or Dash for short. This is the one where hes been invited to confer with United States President Barack Obama [...] This, it seems, is the first summit of its kind, and also hosted by a sitting president. Click here for full article.
Note: The following text is a quote:
Home Briefing Room Statements & Releases
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 26, 2010
A New Beginning: Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship
In his June 2009 A New Beginning speech in Cairo, President Obama announced that the U.S. would host a Summit on Entrepreneurship to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations, and entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world. The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, held in Washington, D.C., today and Tuesday, April 27, at the Ronald Reagan Building, follows through on President Obamas commitment. It represents an opportunity to highlight the importance of social and economic entrepreneurship, and strengthen mutually-beneficial relationships with entrepreneurs in Muslim-majority countries and Muslim communities around the world. The Summit emphasizes the Presidents broader aims of supporting entrepreneurship, innovation, and opportunity at home and abroad.
Participants have been selected from around the world to represent their home countries, regions, and sectors at the Summit. They hail from over fifty countries on five continents and include successful entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and leaders of entrepreneurship networks, non-profit organizations, foundations, and businesses who are invested in promoting entrepreneurship. (Submitted biographies attached.)
Participants hail from: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Brunei, Cameroon, Canada, China, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyz, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Paraguay, the Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Uganda, United Kingdom, the United States, and Yemen.
A complete agenda can be found at http://www.state.gov/entrepreneurshipsummit/.
The plenary sessions will be OPEN press, and the State Department will provide live coverage at http://www.state.gov/entrepreneurshipsummit/. The Presidents remarks will also be livestreamed at www.whitehouse.gov/live.
ATTACHED are 1) a fact sheet on the Summit, 2) biographies of Summit participants, and 3) select press clips.
Note: The following text is a quote:
Home Briefing Room Speeches & Remarks
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 27, 2010
Remarks of Lawrence H. Summers at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship
What I thought Id do today is start by asking: What in our time is going to be historically memorable 300 years from now?
Perhaps the top story will be the end of the Cold War. But if you think about major conflicts between pairs of countries that took place three hundred years ago, they are a little hazy in our memory.
Perhaps the large story will be the relationship between the West, broadly defined, and the Islamic world and how that story plays out.
And that is certainly an issue of profound importance.
But I would suggest to you that the greatest likelihood is that what will be remembered is the rise of emerging markets in Asia and beyond, at unprecedented rates.
Consider if you will this. If you look and historians have quite carefully standards of living as best we can judge them in the Athens of Pericles time and the London at the beginning of the nineteenth century, they had changed very little.
On an optimistic view they had risen 75 percent over that 2,200-year period.
If you look at the Industrial Revolution, the reason they called it the Industrial Revolution was that for the first time in human history, living standards rose at a rate where they were noticeably different at the end of a human lifespan than they had been at its beginning. Growth had been perhaps 1 or 1.5 percent a year.
If you look at the most rapid period of growth in U.S. economic history, per capita incomes, living standards rose at perhaps 2 or 2.5 percent a rate at which they rose perhaps as much as five times within a single human lifespan.
If we look at what is happening today in large parts of the world we are seeing growth at a rate of seven, eight, nine, ten percent a year. A rate at which living standards rise not by a factor of two, not by a factor of five, but by a factor of more than a hundred over a single human lifespan.
We are seeing it not in a single corner of Europe but in a region where the largest share of the worlds population lives. And we are seeing it in a world that is vastly more interconnected and able to feel its effects than the world that experienced the rise of the United States or experienced the Industrial Revolution.
It will, over time, I suspect, reshape almost everything from the way in which people work, to the nature of the art they regard as beautiful, to the level of prosperity that they enjoy, to the security fears that they choose to worry about.
Its going to be the historical story of our time.
But I would suggest to you that it is a story that will be written in no small part by entrepreneurs. Because while economic history changes, while events change, if there is a constant in economic history, it may be the power of markets and the power of entrepreneurs within them.
Entrepreneurship is not confined to new technologies. It includes the introduction of new goods, new methods of production, new markets, new sources of supply for raw materials, and new ways of organization.
As Stanfords Paul Romer, a leading student of economic growth, has put it, and this is perhaps the single most important thing to understand about economic growth over the long run: Economic growth springs from better recipes, not just from more cooking.
The static strategies of accumulation, whether pursued by Russia in the 40s and 50s, or whether pursued by Japan in the 1980s, work for a time, but eventually run out of gas. The path to permanent and continuing change is the path of better recipes, the path of innovation, the path of the breakthroughs organizational, intellectual, or technological that can transform societies.
The work of entrepreneurs.
In the nineteenth century, the technologies that reverberated across the U.S. economy included the transcontinental railroad, the telegraph, and the steam engine.
In the 20th century, those technologies were the automobile, the jet plane, and over the last generation, everything associated with the personal computer and information technology.
All of that was driven by entrepreneurs.
Indeed, a culture of entrepreneurship has been central to the economic success of the United States. We are, perhaps, the only place in the world where you can raise your first $100 million before you buy your first suit, if you have a sufficiently good idea.
So, too, entrepreneurship will play an important role in the renaissance of China, India, and the rest of the developing world.
What transforms villages is whether they have an entrepreneur or whether they dont. In the wake of such creative effort, entrepreneurs create jobs and spur economic activity.
I would suggest that entrepreneurship drives economic growth in three critical ways.
First, it fosters competition and dynamism in a world economy whose shape is rapidly changing.
It used to be that a countrys success could be judged by the size of its skyscrapers and steel plants. And yet at the turn of the 21st century, Microsoft had a greater market capitalization, a greater market value than the entire American steel, auto, and aerospace sector combined. And that was before people had heard of a start-up company called Google.
We think of Wal-Mart and it is an enormous retailer. But compare that with eBay and its online marketplace of 85 million active buyers and sellers.
Joseph Schumpeter, the economist whose name is practically synonymous with the creative destruction of innovation, observed that there is no such thing as a dynamic equilibrium. Competition breeds more competition. Entrepreneurship breeds more entrepreneurship. And change can come quickly.
In understanding why the business landscape is profoundly different than it once was, consider this:
In 1960, it took twenty years for a third of the Fortune 500 companies to turn over. Today, it takes just four years for similar turnover.
Second, entrepreneurship facilitates the incorporation of the new technologies that fuel economic growth. I was reminded of this many years ago, now, in the mid-1990s, when as Deputy Secretary I visited Cote dIvoire. We did something that government officials too frequently do. We journeyed several hours away from the capital to a small town in Cote dIvoire where I was to have the privilege of turning on a water well which had been a USAID project that would provide for clean water for that village.
The village was across a small lagoon and eight or ten of us were on a boat that a few people were paddling to get across that lagoon. We had gotten there, done our thing. We were on our way back and as we were on the boat someone stuck a cell phone in my face and said, Secretary Rubin needs to talk to you. All I could think about was how different that was than any world that I live in. Here we were, three hours away from the capital city of a desperately poor country in or near a village that was getting clean water for the first time, and I was able to be talking to Washington with a perfect connection and nobody was thinking very much of it.
That was about information technology.
As youd expect, that was about the private sector, and, yes, that was about entrepreneurship.
4.6 billion people today have access to mobile phones. Nearly two thirds of the people on the planet. To take just one example, in 1995, Vietnam had one phone for every 100 people. Today it has 33, and two thirds of them were mobile phone.
And its been estimated that a 10% increase in wireless penetration in emerging economies can result in a half-a-percent increase in the GDP.
These examples are pervasive. You will hear them throughout your conference and I am not going to try to describe them in detail. But if you ask what will make a difference over the long-run, it is disruptive technology of the kind that entrepreneurship brings.
A final thought. Entrepreneurship provides opportunity and it supports freedom. If you look at some of the greatest entrepreneurs in our country, people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, they dropped out of college.
One study claimed that an amazingly high fraction of entrepreneurs more than ten times as high of executives in large companies had had some kind of learning disability when they were children.
But the opportunity to break out, to break the mold, had changed their lives and it had changed the lives of others.
George Bernard Shaw once observed, The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, Shaw concluded, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
And so it is with entrepreneurs.
Social scientists have debated for two centuries and no doubt will debate for several more the complex relationships between free markets and free societies. Im not going to resolve those issues here today. But I would suggest to you this: Free societies are the best breeding grounds for entrepreneurs.
An important test of the freedom in a society is whether it enables Shaws unreasonable man to try to change the world.
Are its consumers open to using new products in new waves?
Is its financial system willing to take a chance on someone with a compelling vision but a short track record?
Do its institutions enable people to bet their future on a dream?
If we in the United States have been successful over the last century, our ability to do these things relatively well is no small part of the reason. And if it is true that free societies create entrepreneurs, it is also true that a strong entrepreneurial class makes a society freer.
They provide choices for consumers.
They provide options for those seeking jobs.
They provide perspectives in the public sphere that do not come from the public sector.
They provide for independence from large, hierarchical organizations.
Through the competition, they check the power of large businesses and large governments that would otherwise be unchecked.
President Obama observed last night that throughout history the market has been the most powerful force the world has ever known for creating opportunity and lifting people out of poverty.
When history is written 300 years from now the story of our times is likely to be one of unprecedented economic transformation. But it will be a story whose running theme, what entrepreneurs do, is what many of you live and what we all know very well.
Thank you very much.
Statement by the Press Secretary on A New Beginning: Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship
WHITEHOUSE.gov ^ | March 5, 2010 | n/a
Posted on March 5, 2010 9:47:38 PM PST by Cindy
Note: The following text is a quote:
Home Briefing Room Statements & Releases
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 05, 2010
Statement by the Press Secretary on A New Beginning: Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship
President Obama, together with the Department of State and the Department of Commerce, will host the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., on April 26 and 27. Participants from over 40 countries on 5 continents have been invited to participate. The Summit will highlight the role entrepreneurship can play in addressing common challenges while building partnerships that will lead to greater opportunity abroad and at home.
At his June 4, 2009, speech in Cairo, President Obama announced that the U.S. Government would host a Summit on Entrepreneurship to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations, and entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.
"Were advancing global health, including our partnership with the Organization of the Islamic Conference, to eradicate polio. This is just one part of our broader engagement with the OIC, led by my Special Envoy, Rashad Hussain, who joins us here tonight. Wheres Rashad?"
ON THE INTERNET:
Are you f’g nuts?
I do appreciate all the effort that went into that.
JPOST.com: "MAJOR MUSLIM GROUP SETS UP HUMAN RIGHTS DIVISION" by Rachelle Kliger/The Media Line [Note: OIC] (SNIPPET: "The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has announced it is setting up a special division that will deal with human rights." SNIPPET: "The OIC spans 57 countries over four continents, making it the second-largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations.") (April 23, 2010, 03:48)
MIDDLE EAST ONLINE: Geneva - "UN RIGHTS BODY PASSES ISLAMOPHOBIA RESOLUTION" (SNIPPET: "...Putting forward the resolution on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Pakistan's ambassador Zamir Akram said that the specific references to Islam, the only religion mentioned in the text...") (March 25, 2010)
INVESTIGATIVE PROJECT.org - For The Record - blog: "HOW ARE THESE NOT CONSIDERED LIES?" (SNIPPET: "It turns out Rashad Hussain, the new White House envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, does remember...") (February 20, 2010, 10:17 am)
WHITEHOUSE.gov: Washington - "President Obama Announces Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference" (SNIPPET: "President Obama said, "I'm proud to announce today that I am appointing my Special Envoy to the OIC--Rashad Hussain. As an accomplished lawyer and a close and trusted member of my White House staff, Rashad has played a key role in developing the partnerships I called for in Cairo. And as a hafiz of the Qur'an, he is a respected member of the American Muslim community, and I thank him for carrying forward this important work.") (February 13, 2010)
CREEPING SHARIA - blog (AP): Geneva - "MUSLIM COUNTRIES COULD GET ISLAMIC SHARIA BLASPHEMY LAW PASSED AT UN" (SNIPPET: "The countries that form the 56-member Organization of the Islamic Conference are currently lobbying...") (November 19, 2009, 4:47 pm)
Google.com - Hosted News (AP): Geneva - "AP EXCLUSIVE: MUSLIM COUNTRIES SEEK BLASPHEMY BAN" by Frank Jordans (SNIPPET: "Failure to agree on a treaty would boost extremists in the Arab world, said Jazairy, a former envoy to Washington now considered a key player in the U.N.'s human rights forum. "If we keep hitting this glass wall and say there's nothing you can do about Islamophobia -- you can do something about anti-Semitism but Islamophobia is out of bounds -- you give an ideal platform for recruitment of suicide bombers," he said.") (November 19, 2009, 4 hrs ago)
WASHINGTON TIMES.com: "A DEMAND FOR 'RESPECT' Islamic Conference fosters drive for Shariah" -Commentary by Deborah Weiss (SNIPPET: "The OIC comprises 57 states with Muslim majorities, and is expected to expand to 60 states. It is the second-largest nongovernmental organization, surpassed only by the United Nations. It is without exception the most powerful Muslim organization in the world, often voting as a bloc on international issues. In his claim to power, Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Insanoglu enjoys expansive authority to speak on behalf of the OIC, conferred to him by the OIC charter. He boasts of speaking as the voice of the Muslim world, representing 1.5 billion Muslims. "We have an edge on all Islamic movements, and enjoy respect from all of them" he noted.") (October 30, 2009)
INTELLIGENCE and TERRORISM INFORMATION CENTER: "Palestinian, Iranian and International reactions to the Human Rights Council's decision to endorse the findings of the Goldstone Report (Update No. 1)" (October 18, 2009)
CS MONITOR.com: "ISLAMIC COUNTRIES PUSH A GLOBAL 'BLASPHEMY' LAW" (SNIPPET: "Symbolism no longer satisfies the sponsor of these resolutions - the Organization of the Islamic Council. Under the leadership of Pakistan, the 57-nation OIC wants to give the religious antidefamation idea legal teeth by making it part of an international convention, or legally binding treaty. Members of the UN Human Rights Council are passionately debating that idea in Geneva this week. The United States under Barack Obama recently joined the UNHRC, maligned for years as the mouthpiece for countries that are themselves flagrant human rights abusers.") (October 27, 2009)
WHITEHOUSE.gov: Washington, DC - Remarks of President and Barack Obama: "RAMADAN MESSAGE" (SNIPPET: "We are also moving forward in partnering with the OIC and OIC member states to eradicate polio...") (August 21, 2009)
CNS NEWS.com: "BOYCOTT-HIT RACISM CONFERENCE GETS UNDERWAY" by Patrick Goodenough (SNIPPET: "Ahead of the 2009 gathering, a difficult and drawn-out preparatory process has been dominated by a OIC-instigated focus on Israel and attempts by the Islamic bloc to limit criticism of Islam -- or what it calls "defamation of religion."") (April 20, 2009)
FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE.com: "THE UN's JIHAD AGAINST FREE SPEECH" by Robert Spencer (April 3, 2009)
JIHAD WATCH.org (AFP): "ORGANIZATION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE (OIC) SLAMS WARRANT FOR SUDAN'S BESHIR" (March 28, 2009)
CNS NEWS.com: "OBAMA EXPECTED TO ENGAGE IN FENCE-MENDING WITH ISLAMIC NATIONS AT MEETING IN TURKEY" by Patrick Goodenough (SNIPPET: "Some critics see in the AoC's attempts to shape media coverage parallels with a "defamation of religion" campaign long promoted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the bloc of Islamic states at the U.N.") (March 27, 2009)
JIHAD WATCH.com (AP): Geneva - "UN PASSES RESOLUTION CALLING FOR CRIMINALIZATION OF CRITICISM OF ISLAM" (March 26, 2009)
AMERICAN THINKER.com: "ISLAMIC STATES PUSH TO CRIMINALIZE 'DEFAMATION OF ISLAM'" by Peter C. Glover (SNIPPET: "Though the 57 nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a bloc which also dominates UN's Human Rights Council, have been lobbying for the move since 1999...") (March 25, 2009)
JIHAD WATCH.org: "UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: SILENCING CRITICS OF MUSLIM ANTISEMITISM" (March 15, 2009)
JIHAD WATCH.org (WorldNetDaily.com, March 4, 2009): "UN MAY MAKE BAN ON CRITICIZING ISLAM MANDATORY, MAKING IT A CRIMINAL OFFENSE IN THE U.S." (Note: CNN Video included.) (March 5, 2009)
FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE.com: "SAVED FROM DURBAN II" by Joseph Klein (March 2, 2009)
JIHAD WATCH.org (NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, February 26, 2009): "WHY IS THE U.S. STILL ENTERTAINING DURBAN II?" (SNIPPET: "For one, Obama is making new friends. The administration's decision last week to participate in planning meetings for Durban II was very well received by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)") (February 27, 2009)
CNS NEWS.com: "OIC WELCOMES U.S. SHIFT ON DURBAN II; DENIES ANTI-SEMITIC INTENT" by Patrick Goodenough (February 24, 2009)
CNS NEWS.com: "OBAMA'S POLICY SHIFT ON DURBAN RACISM CONFERENCE DRAWS CONCERN, CRITICISM" by Patrick Goodenough (SNIPPET: "Arguing that "Islamophobia" is a "contemporary form of racism," the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is using Durban II to further its campaign to have religious "defamation" outlawed -- a drive which critics say is designed to prevent criticism of Islam and practices associated with it.") (February 16, 2009)
FRONTPAGE MAGAZINEcom: "A UN VICE FOR ISLAM'S CRITICS" by Nat Hentoff (February 9, 2009)
CNS NEWS.com: "ADDRESS 'ROOT CAUSES' OF TERRORISM, MUSLIM ENVOYS URGE OBAMA" by Patrick Goodenough (February 5, 2009)
JIHAD WATCH.org (WASHINGTON TIMES, February 2, 2009): "They don't want to limit free speech, they just want to kill it" (February 3, 2009)
JIHAD WATCH.org (AFP): "OBAMA COZIES UP TO THE PRINCIPAL ENEMY OF FREE SPEECH IN THE WORLD TODAY" (February 1, 2009)
THE MEMRI BLOG.org ("Source: Shahab News, Iran, January 19, 2009"): "IRANIAN MAJLIS DISCUSSES BILL TO ESTABLISH 'ISLAMIC WORLD ARMY'" (SNIPPET: "It was proposed that this army would be part of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.") (Posted January 22, 2009)
JIHAD WATCH.org: "ISESCO (OIC) propagates Dialogue & Judeophobia in two books -- even quoting Nazi forgeries about Benjamin Franklin -- while celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the UN-Geneva" (January 16, 2009)
JIHAD WATCH.org: "THE OIC CALLS ON THE MEDIA TO SUPPRESS THE TRUTH" (December 20, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org (REUTERS): "OIC CHIEF: "Attempts to equate Islam with terrorism should be stopped. Stereotyping and demonization of Muslims should be combated"" (December 20, 2008)
COUNTERTERRORISM BLOG.org: "OIC's 'DEFAMATION' DECLARATION COULD BE USED BY JIHADI TERROR NETWORKS" by Walid Phares (December 19, 2008)
FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE.com: "DON'T CALL IT ISLAMOPHOBIA" by Joel J. Sprayregen (December 10, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org: "HATE AND BIAS" (December 5, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org (ORGANISATION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE, December 2, 2008): "Islam a religion of peace -- daily headlines notwithstanding!" (December 4, 2008)
ATLAS SHRUGS - blog: "NUTS! UN'S DEATH KNELL FOR FREE SPEECH" (November 25, 2008)
CNS NEWS.com: "'DEFAMATION' OF ISLAM RESOLUTION TO SET TO PASS, BUT LOSING GROUND" by Patrick Goodenough (November 25, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org (WEA, November 15, 2008): "INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC ORGANIZATION ATTEMPTS TO CRIMINALIZE CRITICISM OF ISLAM AT THE UN" (November 20, 2008)
FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE.com: "JIHAD AGAINST FREE SPEECH" by Deborah Weiss (November 6, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org (TODAYS ZAMAN): "OIC CHIEF: ISLAMOPHOBIA IS A NEW FORM OF RACISM, EXCEPT IT'S EVEN WORSE THAN RACISM" (October 31, 2008)
FOX NEWS.com: "U.N. ANTI-BLASPHEMY RESOLUTION CURTAILS FREE SPEECH, CRITICS SAY" by Jennifer Lawinski (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "Religious groups and free-speech advocates are banding together to fight a United Nations resolution they say is being used to spread Sharia law to the Western world and to intimidate anyone who criticizes Islam.") (October 3, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org (BERNAMA.com, September 25, 2008): New York - "MALAYSIA PROPOSES CONVENTION ON ISLAMOPHOBIA IN U.S." (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "Malaysia has proposed that a large-scale international convention sponsored by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) be held as early as next year to tackle the anti-Islam movement...") (September 28, 2008)
WASHINGTON TIMES.com (UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND RED TEAM - UNCLASSIFIED): "FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN JIHAD ANALYSIS: DEBUNKING THE MYTH OF OFFENSIVE WORDS" (August 21, 2008)
ACLJ.org: "PETITION OPPOSING THE ORGANIZATION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE"
WorldNetDaily.com: "U.N. SCHEME TO MAKE CHRISTIANS CRIMINALS Sharia-following Islamic nations demanding anti-'defamation' law" by Bob Unruh (July 10, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org (REUTERS): Amman - "JORDAN CHARGES GEERT WILDERS WITH 'BLASPHEMY AND CONTEMPT OF MUSLIMS'; OIC 'DEEPLY ANNOYED' AT DUTCH DECISION NOT TO PROSECUTE HIM" (July 1, 2008)
HUMAN EVENTS.com: "GEORGE ORWELL MEETS THE OIC" by Robert Spencer (June 25, 2008)
FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE.com: "FREE SPEECH DIES AT THE UN" by Robert Spencer (June 25, 2008)
COUNTERTERRORISM BLOG.org: "JIHAD AGAINST FREEDOM OF SPEECH AT THE UNITED NATIONS" by Jeffrey Imm (June 19, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org (REUTERS): "OIC: LACK OF PUNISHMENT FOR CARTOONS WILL LEAD TO MORE 'ISLAMOPHOBIA'" (June 24, 2008)
TRUTHUSA.com: "A Look at More Than Cartoons"
JIHAD WATCH.org: "OIC: COMBATING 'ISLAMOPHOBIA' TOP PRIORITY, WORKING WITH WESTERN GOVERNMENTS TO RESTRICT FREE SPEECH" (June 23, 2008)
CNS NEWS.com: "ISLAMIC NATIONS EYE UN SECURITY COUNCIL SEATS" by Patrick Goodenough (June 23, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org: "ITALIAN PM AND MUSLIM CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY TARGETS OF JIHADIST DEATH THREATS; ISLAMIC CONFERENCE DECRIES 'ISLAMOPHOBIA'" (June 18, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org (KUWAIT NEWS AGENCY): "'INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIC CONFERENCE ON INTER-FAITH DIALOGUE' CALLS FOR ACTION AGAINST 'CULTURE OF HATRED AMONG NATIONS'" (June 8, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org (TODAY'S ZAMAN): "OIC TO DECLARE A 'MEMORIAL DAY' FOR MASSACRES AGAINST MUSLIMS" (May 17, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org (TODAYS ZAMAN.com): "ISLAMIC NATIONALS LAUNCH 'ISLAMOPHOBIA OBSERVATORY'" (May10, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org (ISLAMIC REPUBLIC NEWS AGENCY): "OIC CONDEMNS FITNA 'IN THE STRONGEST TERMS'" (March 29, 2008)
WTOP NEWS.com (AP): Geneva - "UN OKs ISLAMIC TEXT AGAINST DEFAMATION" (March 27, 2008, 11:40 pm)
HOT AIR.com - blog: "NEW JIHAD WATCH: DEFAME ISLAM, GET SUED" (March 24, 2008)
Video - Link
ASSIST NEWS SERVICE: "OIC: ELIMINATING 'DEFAMATION' OF ISLAM - an examination of the Organisation of Islamic Conference's Observatory Report on Islamophobia" by Elizabeth Kendal (March 24, 2008)
CNS NEWS.com: "OIC DENOUNCES TERROR, BUT FIGHTING 'OCCUPATION' STILL EXEMPTED" by Patrick Goodenough (March 18, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org (AFP): Dakar - "INDONESIAN PRESIDENT: "ISLAM HAS BEEN UNJUSTLY ASSOCIATED WITH VIOLENCE'" (March 15, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org: "FITZGERALD: THE OIC's REBRANDING GAME" (March 15, 2008)
JIHAD WATCH.org: "OIC: 'COMBATING ISLAMOPHOBIA IS AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACED BY THE MUSLIM WORLD'" (SNIPPET: "Well, Jihad Watch can offer a handy five-point plan for countering 'Islamophobia'...") (March 12, 2008)
CNS NEWS.com: "STATE DEPT INTRODUCES NEW ENVOY TO MUSLIM NATIONS" by Susan Jones (March 10, 2008)
COUNTERTERRORISM BLOG.org: "JIHAD, ISLAMISM, AND U.S. ENVOY TO OIC" by Jeffrey Imm (February 29, 2008)
WHITEHOUSE.gov - news release: Oval Office - "PRESIDENT BUSH MEETS WITH SPECIAL ENVOY TO THE ORGANIZATION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE" (February 27, 2008, 2:01 pm EST) (Note: This url has expired.)
THE BRIEFING ROOM
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 4, 2009
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON A NEW BEGINNING
1:10 P.M. (Local)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you very much. Good afternoon. I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning; and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypts advancement. And together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. Im grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. And Im also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: Assalaamu alaykum. (Applause.)
We meet at a time of great tension between the United States and Muslims around the world tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of coexistence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.
Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. All this has bred more fear and more mistrust.
So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. And this cycle of suspicion and discord must end.
Ive come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. I know theres been a lot of publicity about this speech, but no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust, nor can I answer in the time that I have this afternoon all the complex questions that brought us to this point. But I am convinced that in order to move forward, we must say openly to each other the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors. There must be a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground. As the Holy Koran tells us, Be conscious of God and speak always the truth. (Applause.) That is what I will try to do today to speak the truth as best I can, humbled by the task before us, and firm in my belief that the interests we share as human beings are far more powerful than the forces that drive us apart.
Now part of this conviction is rooted in my own experience. Im a Christian, but my father came from a Kenyan family that includes generations of Muslims. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and at the fall of dusk. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith.
As a student of history, I also know civilizations debt to Islam. It was Islam at places like Al-Azhar that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europes Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities (applause) it was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed. Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation. And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality. (Applause.)
I also know that Islam has always been a part of Americas story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco. In signing the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796, our second President, John Adams, wrote, The United States has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Muslims. And since our founding, American Muslims have enriched the United States. They have fought in our wars, they have served in our government, they have stood for civil rights, they have started businesses, they have taught at our universities, theyve excelled in our sports arenas, theyve won Nobel Prizes, built our tallest building, and lit the Olympic Torch. And when the first Muslim American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson kept in his personal library. (Applause.)
So I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isnt. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear. (Applause.)
But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. (Applause.) Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire. The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words within our borders, and around the world. We are shaped by every culture, drawn from every end of the Earth, and dedicated to a simple concept: E pluribus unum Out of many, one.
Now, much has been made of the fact that an African American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. (Applause.) But my personal story is not so unique. The dream of opportunity for all people has not come true for everyone in America, but its promise exists for all who come to our shores and that includes nearly 7 million American Muslims in our country today who, by the way, enjoy incomes and educational levels that are higher than the American average. (Applause.)
Moreover, freedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice ones religion. That is why there is a mosque in every state in our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. Thats why the United States government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab and to punish those who would deny it. (Applause.)
So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. These things we share. This is the hope of all humanity.
Of course, recognizing our common humanity is only the beginning of our task. Words alone cannot meet the needs of our people. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.
For we have learned from recent experience that when a financial system weakens in one country, prosperity is hurt everywhere. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk. When one nation pursues a nuclear weapon, the risk of nuclear attack rises for all nations. When violent extremists operate in one stretch of mountains, people are endangered across an ocean. When innocents in Bosnia and Darfur are slaughtered, that is a stain on our collective conscience. (Applause.) That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.
And this is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes and, yes, religions subjugating one another in pursuit of their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners to it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; our progress must be shared. (Applause.)
Now, that does not mean we should ignore sources of tension. Indeed, it suggests the opposite: We must face these tensions squarely. And so in that spirit, let me speak as clearly and as plainly as I can about some specific issues that I believe we must finally confront together.
The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms.
In Ankara, I made clear that America is not and never will be at war with Islam. (Applause.) We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as President to protect the American people.
The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates Americas goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice; we went because of necessity. Im aware that theres still some who would question or even justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.
Now, make no mistake: We do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We see no military we seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and now Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.
And thats why were partnering with a coalition of 46 countries. And despite the costs involved, Americas commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths but more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam. The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as it is as if he has killed all mankind. (Applause.) And the Holy Koran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. (Applause.) The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism it is an important part of promoting peace.
Now, we also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thats why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those whove been displaced. Thats why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend on.
Let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. (Applause.) Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be.
Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future and to leave Iraq to Iraqis. And I have made it clear to the Iraqi people (applause) I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraqs sovereignty is its own. And thats why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August. That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraqs democratically elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all of our troops from Iraq by 2012. (Applause.) We will help Iraq train its security forces and develop its economy. But we will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.
And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter or forget our principles. Nine-eleven was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our traditions and our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year. (Applause.)
So America will defend itself, respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law. And we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.
The second major source of tension that we need to discuss is the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world.
Americas strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied.
Around the world, the Jewish people were persecuted for centuries, and anti-Semitism in Europe culminated in an unprecedented Holocaust. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich. Six million Jews were killed more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, it is ignorant, and it is hateful. Threatening Israel with destruction or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.
On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people Muslims and Christians have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years theyve endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations large and small that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own. (Applause.)
For decades then, there has been a stalemate: two peoples with legitimate aspirations, each with a painful history that makes compromise elusive. Its easy to point fingers for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought about by Israels founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond. But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security. (Applause.)
That is in Israels interest, Palestines interest, Americas interest, and the worlds interest. And that is why I intend to personally pursue this outcome with all the patience and dedication that the task requires. (Applause.) The obligations the obligations that the parties have agreed to under the road map are clear. For peace to come, it is time for them and all of us to live up to our responsibilities.
Palestinians must abandon violence. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and it does not succeed. For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights. It was a peaceful and determined insistence upon the ideals at the center of Americas founding. This same story can be told by people from South Africa to South Asia; from Eastern Europe to Indonesia. Its a story with a simple truth: that violence is a dead end. It is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children, or to blow up old women on a bus. Thats not how moral authority is claimed; thats how it is surrendered.
Now is the time for Palestinians to focus on what they can build. The Palestinian Authority must develop its capacity to govern, with institutions that serve the needs of its people. Hamas does have support among some Palestinians, but they also have to recognize they have responsibilities. To play a role in fulfilling Palestinian aspirations, to unify the Palestinian people, Hamas must put an end to violence, recognize past agreements, recognize Israels right to exist.
At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israels right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestines. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. (Applause.) This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop. (Applause.)
And Israel must also live up to its obligation to ensure that Palestinians can live and work and develop their society. Just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israels security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be a critical part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.
And finally, the Arab states must recognize that the Arab Peace Initiative was an important beginning, but not the end of their responsibilities. The Arab-Israeli conflict should no longer be used to distract the people of Arab nations from other problems. Instead, it must be a cause for action to help the Palestinian people develop the institutions that will sustain their state, to recognize Israels legitimacy, and to choose progress over a self-defeating focus on the past.
America will align our policies with those who pursue peace, and we will say in public what we say in private to Israelis and Palestinians and Arabs. (Applause.) We cannot impose peace. But privately, many Muslims recognize that Israel will not go away. Likewise, many Israelis recognize the need for a Palestinian state. It is time for us to act on what everyone knows to be true.
Too many tears have been shed. Too much blood has been shed. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of the three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra (applause) as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, peace be upon them, joined in prayer. (Applause.)
The third source of tension is our shared interest in the rights and responsibilities of nations on nuclear weapons.
This issue has been a source of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by its opposition to my country, and there is in fact a tumultuous history between us. In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has played a role in acts of hostage-taking and violence against U.S. troops and civilians. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, Ive made it clear to Irans leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question now is not what Iran is against, but rather what future it wants to build.
I recognize it will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude, and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about Americas interests. Its about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.
I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nation holds nuclear weapons. And thats why I strongly reaffirmed Americas commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. (Applause.) And any nation including Iran should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And Im hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.
The fourth issue that I will address is democracy. (Applause.)
I know I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other.
That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone, just as we would not presume to pick the outcome of a peaceful election. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesnt steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. These are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere. (Applause.)
Now, there is no straight line to realize this promise. But this much is clear: Governments that protect these rights are ultimately more stable, successful and secure. Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them. And we will welcome all elected, peaceful governments provided they govern with respect for all their people.
This last point is important because there are some who advocate for democracy only when theyre out of power; once in power, they are ruthless in suppressing the rights of others. (Applause.) So no matter where it takes hold, government of the people and by the people sets a single standard for all who would hold power: You must maintain your power through consent, not coercion; you must respect the rights of minorities, and participate with a spirit of tolerance and compromise; you must place the interests of your people and the legitimate workings of the political process above your party. Without these ingredients, elections alone do not make true democracy.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Barack Obama, we love you!
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom.
Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind and the heart and the soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but its being challenged in many different ways.
Among some Muslims, theres a disturbing tendency to measure ones own faith by the rejection of somebody elses faith. The richness of religious diversity must be upheld whether it is for Maronites in Lebanon or the Copts in Egypt. (Applause.) And if we are being honest, fault lines must be closed among Muslims, as well, as the divisions between Sunni and Shia have led to tragic violence, particularly in Iraq.
Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together. We must always examine the ways in which we protect it. For instance, in the United States, rules on charitable giving have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation. Thats why Im committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.
Likewise, it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practicing religion as they see fit for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear. We cant disguise hostility towards any religion behind the pretence of liberalism.
In fact, faith should bring us together. And thats why were forging service projects in America to bring together Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Thats why we welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullahs interfaith dialogue and Turkeys leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations. Around the world, we can turn dialogue into interfaith service, so bridges between peoples lead to action whether it is combating malaria in Africa, or providing relief after a natural disaster.
The sixth issue the sixth issue that I want to address is womens rights. (Applause.) I know - I know and you can tell from this audience, that there is a healthy debate about this issue. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality. (Applause.) And it is no coincidence that countries where women are well educated are far more likely to be prosperous.
Now, let me be clear: Issues of womens equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam. In Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, weve seen Muslim-majority countries elect a woman to lead. Meanwhile, the struggle for womens equality continues in many aspects of American life, and in countries around the world.
I am convinced that our daughters can contribute just as much to society as our sons. (Applause.) Our common prosperity will be advanced by allowing all humanity men and women to reach their full potential. I do not believe that women must make the same choices as men in order to be equal, and I respect those women who choose to live their lives in traditional roles. But it should be their choice. And that is why the United States will partner with any Muslim-majority country to support expanded literacy for girls, and to help young women pursue employment through micro-financing that helps people live their dreams. (Applause.)
Finally, I want to discuss economic development and opportunity.
I know that for many, the face of globalization is contradictory. The Internet and television can bring knowledge and information, but also offensive sexuality and mindless violence into the home. Trade can bring new wealth and opportunities, but also huge disruptions and change in communities. In all nations including America this change can bring fear. Fear that because of modernity we lose control over our economic choices, our politics, and most importantly our identities those things we most cherish about our communities, our families, our traditions, and our faith.
But I also know that human progress cannot be denied. There need not be contradictions between development and tradition. Countries like Japan and South Korea grew their economies enormously while maintaining distinct cultures. The same is true for the astonishing progress within Muslim-majority countries from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai. In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.
And this is important because no development strategy can be based only upon what comes out of the ground, nor can it be sustained while young people are out of work. Many Gulf states have enjoyed great wealth as a consequence of oil, and some are beginning to focus it on broader development. But all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century (applause) and in too many Muslim communities, there remains underinvestment in these areas. Im emphasizing such investment within my own country. And while America in the past has focused on oil and gas when it comes to this part of the world, we now seek a broader engagement.
On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America. (Applause.) At the same time, we will encourage more Americans to study in Muslim communities. And we will match promising Muslim students with internships in America; invest in online learning for teachers and children around the world; and create a new online network, so a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo.
On economic development, we will create a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries. And I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.
On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create more jobs. Well open centers of scientific excellence in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and appoint new science envoys to collaborate on programs that develop new sources of energy, create green jobs, digitize records, clean water, grow new crops. Today Im announcing a new global effort with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And we will also expand partnerships with Muslim communities to promote child and maternal health.
All these things must be done in partnership. Americans are ready to join with citizens and governments; community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.
The issues that I have described will not be easy to address. But we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of the world that we seek a world where extremists no longer threaten our people, and American troops have come home; a world where Israelis and Palestinians are each secure in a state of their own, and nuclear energy is used for peaceful purposes; a world where governments serve their citizens, and the rights of all Gods children are respected. Those are mutual interests. That is the world we seek. But we can only achieve it together.
I know there are many Muslim and non-Muslim who question whether we can forge this new beginning. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress. Some suggest that it isnt worth the effort that we are fated to disagree, and civilizations are doomed to clash. Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur. Theres so much fear, so much mistrust that has built up over the years. But if we choose to be bound by the past, we will never move forward. And I want to particularly say this to young people of every faith, in every country you, more than anyone, have the ability to reimagine the world, to remake this world.
All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort a sustained effort to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings.
Its easier to start wars than to end them. Its easier to blame others than to look inward. Its easier to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path. Theres one rule that lies at the heart of every religion that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. (Applause.) This truth transcends nations and peoples a belief that isnt new; that isnt black or white or brown; that isnt Christian or Muslim or Jew. Its a belief that pulsed in the cradle of civilization, and that still beats in the hearts of billions around the world. Its a faith in other people, and its what brought me here today.
We have the power to make the world we seek, but only if we have the courage to make a new beginning, keeping in mind what has been written.
The Holy Koran tells us: O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another.
The Talmud tells us: The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace.
The Holy Bible tells us: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Applause.)
The people of the world can live together in peace. We know that is Gods vision. Now that must be our work here on Earth.
Thank you. And may Gods peace be upon you. Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)
2:05 P.M. (Local)
Oh, I get it, jihadists are just “Muslim entrepreneurs.” That’s downright American!
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