Aspen Institute Statement on Palestinian Information Communications Technology Capacity Building Initiative

December 17, 2010

Contact: Vanessa Zuabi
Associate Director, Middle East Programs
The Aspen Institute

Washington, DC, December 17, 2010 –– On behalf of the leadership and members of the Partners for a New Beginning and the US-Palestinian Partnership, the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Programs commends our partners at the US Department of State, USAID, Cisco, Intel Corporation, Google, Hewlett Packard, Medcor and Foundation on the launch of the Palestinian Information Communications Technology Capacity Building Initiative (PITI). US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the launch of the initiative today, which will help expand US investment in Palestinian companies and promote new information communications technology (ICT) business partnerships in the region in order to encourage economic growth, development and job creation for Palestinians.

Partners for a New Beginning (PNB) and the US Palestinian Partnership (UPP) are both public-private partnerships housed at the Aspen Institute. PITI partners Cisco and Intel Corporation are both PNB Steering Committee Members. PNB and UPP strongly believe in the role of economic opportunity as a vehicle to support a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and are proud to be a part of the Palestinian effort to build the institutions necessary for a future state, including a thriving private sector that promotes entrepreneurship, economic opportunity and prosperity for the Palestinian people.

We recognize and applaud the tremendous efforts of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the Palestinian private sector to promote investment and business development in the West Bank. We also applaud the efforts of PNB and UPP partners Lorraine Harriton and Randa Masri, whose leadership was instrumental in the creation of PITI.

The US-Palestinian Partnership has championed scores of meaningful private sector investments in the West Bank like PITI. One recent investment, which will benefit PITI and merits special acknowledgment, is the Middle East Venture Capital Fund (MEVCF). MEVCF will invest in entrepreneurial companies in the Internet, mobile and software sectors that are growing out of the substantial community of software and telecom engineers and other entrepreneurs in Ramallah and throughout the West Bank. Fund managers Yadin Kauffman and Saed Nashef as well as UPP co-chair and MEVCF investor Jean Case have worked diligently for the past few years to build an investment tool that will significantly impact selected companies while igniting the Palestinian technology sector as a whole.

About PITI
Modeled on Cisco’s successful business partnerships in Palestine, PITI seeks to strengthen the Palestinian private sector by encouraging broader economic growth, development, and job creation for Palestinians.

About Partners for a New Beginning
Partners for a New Beginning (PNB) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization established to harness private sector and civil society resources to advance the vision President Obama laid out in his Cairo speech in June 2009 of renewed engagement with Muslims around the world based on mutual respect and responsibility. PNB consists of independent citizens who are working in close partnership and consultation with the US Department of State in Washington and US Embassies abroad.  Toni Verstandig serves as the Executive Director of Middle East Programs at the Aspen Institute, which acts as the PNB Secretariat, facilitating the public-private partnerships and private-private partnerships that will help fulfill the President’s Cairo vision. For more information, visit

About the US-Palestinian Partnership
Launched in 2007 by the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and US business leaders, the US-Palestinian Partnership (UPP) focuses on creating economic opportunity for the Palestinian people and helping prepare Palestinian youth for the responsibilities of citizenship and good governance. UPP was launched to facilitate progress toward a two-state solution, wherein Israel and Palestine can live side by side, in peace, security and prosperity. By demonstrating a willingness to work with responsible Palestinian leaders and institutions, this partnership aims to increase support for a Palestinian leadership committed to peace and willing to negotiate the political compromises required to reach this important goal.

UPP is administered by the Aspen Institute and led by a group of key business, philanthropy and diplomacy executives in the United States, including partnership chair, Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute and honorary chair, former secretary of state, Madeline Albright.


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