Africa and the Middle East

Global Alliances Program Partners with State Department to Launch Business Initiative

February 13, 2014  • Michael (Mickey) Bergman

The video above is of a Google Hangout session on the new public-private Partnership Opportunity Delegations (POD) Initiative, featuring US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Special Representative for Global Partnerships, Andrew O’Brien.

On Feb. 12th, Aspen Institute Global Alliances Program Executive Director Mickey Bergman joined US Secretary of State John Kerry’s Special Representative to the Global Partnership, Andrew O’Brien, for a public Google Hangout session, discussing the newly launched Partnership Opportunity Delegations, or PODs.

The PODs came to being following the successful Aspen Global Alliances Program’s entrepreneurship and investment delegation to Colombia last November.

“The Colombia experience set the table for PODs and what we’ll do throughout the year,” said O’Brien. “We think that the best ideas are created when different combinations of people from different institutions are put into a different atmosphere to meet, collaborate, and share solutions.”

Through these delegations, the Department of State, the Aspen Institute, and other like-minded partners will bring together government, private sector leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, and academics to form connections and open new markets in communities around the world. These delegations will help cultivate and enable opportunities for collaboration in communities of mutual interests as defined by local partners. 

“Businesses, investors, and entrepreneurs have much to gain from a prosperous, stable world,” said Bergman. “Yet their engagement with many emerging communities is impaired by high barriers to entry for small and medium enterprises, and the lack of interest by large multinational corporations to engage small and medium markets. As a result, many emerging communities are left without the benefits of commercial and business engagement.

“PODs enhance business, entrepreneurship, and investments by lowering the barriers to engagement with local communities on several levels. By collaborating with the Department of State, PODs provide access to opportunities otherwise not available to small and medium businesses, entrepreneurs, and investors. Yet, by being private sector led, PODs allows its constituents independence from political constraints.”

The Global Alliances Program’s work is rooted in the conviction that business-to-business and people-to-people partnerships enhance, stabilize, and deepen relations between communities.

Plans for a Myanmar POD on April 28th, and a Colombia II Delegation in May 2014, both led by Aspen’s Global Alliances Program, were announced during the discussion.

Additional PODs being planned for 2014 include Rwanda in the summer and Peru in the fall. 

Michael “Mickey” Bergman is the executive director of the Aspen Institute Global Alliances Program.