April 27, 2010

Washington, DC, April 27, 2010 –– The Aspen Institute is pleased to announce the launch of Partners for a New Beginning (PNB), a new partnership between the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Programs and the U.S. State Department. Partners for a New Beginning will be introduced at an event on April 27th, 2010 hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and joined by Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, and Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. This partnership will be chaired by former Secretary Madeleine Albright and vice-chaired by Walter Isaacson and Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. Read the transcript of the event on the State Department website.

President Obama stated in his June 4, 2009 speech in Cairo that it is time for “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and respect.” It is the Partners’ objective to lay the foundation for the President’s vision. Partners for a New Beginning will bring together a group of eminent U.S. persons from the private sectors and match them with similar groups from the Muslim world, focusing on Africa, Middle East and North Africa, South and Central Asia, and South East Asia.

“Partners for a New Beginning will make a real contribution to better ties between the United States and international Muslim communities by developing entrepreneurship, innovation, and human capacity,” said Secretary Albright. “The partnership will work to strengthen the bonds between the United States and citizens in Muslim-majority nations and will do so based on a philosophy of mutual understanding, mutual interests, and mutual respect.”

The four main areas of focus for PNB will include economic opportunity: advancing entrepreneurship, business support services, and increasing access to capital; science and technology: supporting local labs, universities, and other institutions that advance innovation; education: advancing access to educational tools and building human capacity to equip people for employment opportunities; exchange: advancing human connectedness, understanding, and people-to-people ties.

Public-private partnerships in these four sectors will build common goals that are critical for moving forward. Partners for New Beginnings will be housed under the Aspen Institute Middle East Programs.

The Middle East Programs’ focus on pragmatic economic and policy initiatives that advance prospects for peace, build trust, enhance innovation, and advance regional stability and economic development. Middle East Programs engages in dialogue, strategize, and develop new projects that will advance the prospects for enduring peace in the region, end the Arab-Israeli conflict, and bridge the US-Muslim divide. The Program develops targeted economic projects to benefit private entrepreneurs and moderate political leaders.

“The Aspen Institute’s Middle East Programs serves not only as a forum for dialogue, but successfully turns words into action. Middle East Programs’ achievement in facilitating public-private partnerships will push forward a new beginning for the United States and the Muslim world by building mutual interest and investment in entrepreneurship, science and technology, education, and cultural understanding,” said Walter Isaacson. “This PNB program will serve as yet another example, along with the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, of work the Aspen Institute is facilitating in emerging markets around the world.”

Learn more about what ANDE is doing throughout Muslim majority countries.

The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) is a global network of organizations that invest money and expertise to propel entrepreneurship in emerging markets. Officially launched in 2009, we are a member-driven organization housed within the Aspen Institute, an international non-profit that promotes enlightened leadership. Our members are the vanguard of a movement that is focused on small and growing businesses (SGBs) that create economic, environmental, and social benefits for developing countries. Ultimately, we seek to build sustainable prosperity in the developing world.

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has an international network of partners.

###