President Hosts Summit on Entrepreneurship

By Hanley, Delinda C. | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 2010 | Go to article overview

President Hosts Summit on Entrepreneurship


Hanley, Delinda C., Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


IN HIS June 4, 2009 speech at Egypt's Cairo University, President Barack Obama called for "a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world." During that speech Obama made a promise: "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 April 26 and 27, 2010, more than 250 entrepreneurs from more than 40 countries on five continents came to that promised summit, held in Washington, DC. Many, including Reem Bsaiso, CEO of World Links in Amman, Jordan, participated in six days of non-stop events, before and after the two-day summit. At a Capitol Hill event Bsaiso attended on April 29, co-hosted by America-Mideast Educational and Training Services (AMIDEAST) and the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute, AMIDEAST's president, Ambassador Theodore Kattouf, said that, to his knowledge, no U.S. president and secretary of state have each addressed a single summit twice!

The American mainstream media mostly ignored the summit, but it was attended by media outlets from around the world which featured stories about the role entrepreneurship can play in addressing common challenges and building partnerships.

More than 150 business leaders attended an April 30 luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel co-hosted by the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) and the American Lebanese Chamber of Commerce (AmCham Lebanon). NUSACC president and CEO David Hamod introduced some of the delegates, who briefly described their work.

Lebanon's Ambassador to the United States Antoine Chedid told guests that his country has weathered the recent economic storm. "Lebanon, like the legendary phoenix, has emerged from the ashes and is steadily regaining its former vitality," he declared. "The private sector has played an active role in this process, especially the banking system, which has proved to be safe and sound. …

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