Contact: Mickey Bergman
Director, Middle East Programs
The Aspen Institute
PNB Welcomes Four New Partners
Washington, DC, Dec. 9, 2011 –– This past week, Partners for a New Beginning (PNB) – a locally-owned and locally-driven network that fosters partnerships which advance local priorities in communities throughout the Middle East, North Africa and beyond – announced the membership of four organizations.
Since PNB’s public launch at the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2010, the partnership has supported the establishment or expansion of over 70 projects, and has launched locally-owned, locally-driven chapters in Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, and Turkey. To broaden the capability and scope of this network, the Aspen Institute PNB Secretariat continues to engage a broad constituency of nearly 30 American partners, in addition to the PNB Steering Committee, who are interested in supporting and building upon PNB’s locally-driven agenda. In a speech in Istanbul this week, Vice President of the United States Joe Biden stated that all of these efforts demonstrate that “a promise made is a promise kept,” and as examples, he cited PNB programs including life skills training programs for Indonesia’s undergraduates, a safe gathering space for Egyptian activists to discuss reform, and telemedicine training for Pakistani health workers.
The PNB Global Chapters Meeting, hosted in Istanbul on December 2nd by the Turkish Union of Chamber and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), the PNB Local Chapter in Turkey, and TOBB President and PNB Local Chapter Chair, Mr. Rifat Hisarciklioglu, provided the perfect platform for welcoming Banking for a New Beginning, Creative Learning, Project Interfaith, and Project Encounter into the fold.
Headed by Christian H. Cooper, Banking for a New Beginning is a brand new initiative that aims to connect central banks in PNB target countries, as well as in other countries including Afghanistan, with similar financial institutions in the United States and Europe, in an effort to bridge communication and provide training and operational assistance where requested. The project will work specifically to facilitate information-sharing and best practices when it comes to supporting small and medium sized enterprises, developing sustainable and secure energy, advancing entrepreneurship, and supporting local infrastructure development. By working closely with the central banking authorities, local businesses, and American and European counterparts, Banking for a New Beginning will facilitate coordinated banking practices as a means of cultivating globally business-friendly environments.
PNB member Creative Learning recently launched the America’s Unofficial Ambassadors (AUA) initiative, a multifaceted effort to increase the number of Americans volunteering on a short-term basis in areas of human development throughout the Muslim World. The AUA initiative is raising awareness for this concept of building peace, improving access to viable opportunities through the publication and free distribution of the AUA Directory of Recommended Organizations, and increasing the number and impact of volunteers through direct service programs. AUA will encourage 1,000 American volunteers to commit to short-term volunteer service by the end of 2012 and to complete that service within the next five years. As part of the AUA initiative, the Mosaic Scholarship Program enables outstanding and under-represented Americans of all ages to volunteer with AUA Directory-listed organizations. With support from PNB, AUA wishes to leverage and expand this and other programs in countries such as Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Turkey, Pakistan, and the Palestinian Territories.
Project Interfaith, a non-profit organization based in Omaha, Nebraska, works to cultivate understanding, respect and relationships among people of all faiths, beliefs and cultures. Project Interfaith moves forward its mission by: offering original and inspiring face-to-face and online programs that educate and engage audiences on issues of faith, religion, identity, belief, and culture; advancing and safeguarding the fundamental rights and freedoms which enable a person to freely choose to practice or not practice a religion or belief system; ensuring access to reliable information and resources on religious & cultural diversity; and by promoting objective teaching and learning about religion and religious & cultural diversity in age-appropriate, academic ways in schools, workplaces, and communities.
Directed by Nick Billotti and Taufiq Rahim, Project Encounter embodies an effort to promote collaboration in civil society and the private sector between the West and the Middle East. The initiative will include various events involving cultural exchange and education, with the aim of promoting constructive interaction and establishing a global network of ambassadors of engagement.