The Presidential Summit On Entrepreneurship


(Photo Credit: Khawaja’s Photostream)
Following the 47-nation nuclear security summit in Washington the week before last, the Obama administration is playing host to a much different series of meetings this week as part of its Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship – an effort to deepen ties among business leaders, foundations, and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim-majority countries.
I think this is an excellent initiative – and one that has the potential to broaden the United States’ relationships with Muslim-majority countries with which we have traditionally enjoyed narrowly-focused bilateral relations focused primarily on security and energy.
Supporting entrepreneurship is particularly important in the Middle East as a way to help facilitate trade and closer ties among the countries of that region.
Here is a snippet from President Obama’s remarks at the summit yesterday, explaining the rationale behind the conference:

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 it’s 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 there’s 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.

Obama’s full remarks can be read here.
It is also noteworthy that Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter with Deulcom International’s CEO Baybars Altuntas offering to host a similar summit in Istanbul next year – an invitation that President Obama has accepted.
These kinds of initiatives are important and represent an opportunity to engage with Muslim-majority societies in a non-confrontational, non-zero-sum way that can lead to quantifiable results.
— Ben Katcher


6 comments on “The Presidential Summit On Entrepreneurship

  1. Jerry says:

    The summit is another move by President Obama to promote constructive engagement of the U.S. in international affairs.
    It clearly has the “potential to broaden the United States’ relationships with Muslim-majority countries.” As the U.S. winds down its military activities in Iraq and then Afganistan, the summit expresses and shapes future American intentions with respect to the Muslim world directly without needing intervening interpretations.
    With the next summit set for Turkey, the summits, also, help establish a context within which Muslims can evaluate the U.S. relationship with Israel. No longer should they see this relationship as an exclusionary partnership in any manner. The door is open to any Muslim nation with shared interests to form an alliance with the U.S.


  2. nadine says:

    Wigwag, they are probably too busy giving the seminar on the right way to discretely offer to make the President’s brother-in-law a sleeping partner of your firm to insure that that regulators don’t swoop down, find you in violation of health & safety rules, and fine you out of business.
    Come to think of it, they should give this seminar for American entrepreneurs too. Did you know that every handyman, plumber and painter in America now needs Federal training and Federal certification? No kidding.


  3. WigWag says:

    A Note to President Obama.
    In light of the economic calamity overtaking Europe including the potential collapse of the European currency precipitated by the crisis in Greece, would it be possible for you to arrange a series of seminars on entrepreneurship for the Europeans?
    I understand that you might be reluctant to do so. Perhaps you are as annoyed at our European friends as millions of Americans are. With all their ranting and raving about American decline, how ironic it is that their great enterprise, economic integration, seems to be coming apart at the seams. I am sure you see the irony in the fact that it is now apparent that it’s Europe, not the United States that is continuing down the road to inexorable decline.
    But please sir, don’t be too hard on the Europeans. They would really appreciate the assistance; they need all the help they can get.
    One more thing; things are a little tight right now for the Europeans. If you do run seminars on entrepreneurship for them, would it be possible to waive the entrance fee?


  4. Jerry says:

    Oh, hell no, here goes that old hopie thing again.
    Finally, the U.S. is entering the 21st century with the rest of the world.
    Interestingly, Professor Obama is reaching out to the next generation; a wise policy to reinvigorate.
    Yes, the world can!


  5. nadine says:

    Obama is more likely to make American entrepreneurship look like that of Muslim countries than the other way around. Like most Muslim leaders, by ‘entrepreneurship’ he means crony capitalism with the government in control and getting a huge piece of the action.


  6. WigWag says:

    “It is also noteworthy that Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter with Deulcom International’s CEO Baybars Altuntas offering to host a similar summit in Istanbul next year – an invitation that President Obama has accepted.” (Ben Katcher)
    Erdogan has had a good week. After all, yet again Obama broke his promise and refused to call the Armenian Genocide by its real name.


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