Secretary Clinton delivered a major speech on November 3 in Marrakesh, Morocco at the Forum for the Future, an initiative of the countries of the Broader Middle East and North Africa region (BMENA), the G8 countries, and civil society and private sector groups. She reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to broad engagement with Muslim communities around the world and outlined concrete steps the United States is taking to follow up on the “New Beginning” that President Obama launched in Cairo. Secretary Clinton focused on partnerships to promote civil society, entrepreneurship and economic development, educational opportunity, scientific and technological collaboration, women’s empowerment, and interfaith cooperation.
Examples of these initiatives include:
Entrepreneurship and Job Creation
The United States will be a partner in advancing entrepreneurship, job creation and economic opportunity in Muslim communities by providing tools and investing in pioneering local stake-holders and programs. These partnerships will emphasize local ownership and lasting results. Projects include:
Science and Technology
- Convening an Entrepreneurship Summit in Washington, D.C. in early 2010 to bring together innovators and leaders in Muslim communities around the world and America’s business leaders to advance entrepreneurship and create economic opportunity.
- Supporting the launch of a Global Virtual Entrepreneurship Network to connect entrepreneurs with each other as well as a broad range of stake-holders, including investors, mentor networks and business support services, educational institutions, NGOs, and foundations before the next Forum for the Future.
- Fostering Multilateral Partnerships with efforts such as investments in the International Finance Corporation’s Private Enterprise Partnership (PEP-MENA II) and in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s program supporting of human capital development.
- Initiating Youth:Work, a five-year, $30 million USAID project to meet the needs of vulnerable youth in Jordan and their communities, in collaboration with the Government of Jordan, the private sector, and NGO partners.
- Launching a $76 million comprehensive, multi-sector initiative in Yemen to increase economic opportunities, improve delivery of social services, and enhance local governance and civic participation.
The United States will be a partner in laying the foundation of knowledge economies that will spur innovation, and will support societies in grappling with their greatest economic and environmental challenges. Initiatives include:
Education and Exchanges
- Establishing the U.S. Science Envoy Program in which three of America’s most prominent scientists, Dr Ahmed Zewail, Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Elias Zerhouni, will travel to countries in North Africa, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia to engage their counterparts, deepen and develop partnerships in all areas of science and technology, and foster meaningful collaboration to address common challenges and realized shared opportunities.
- Debuting the Global Technology and Innovation Fund through which the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will catalyze and facilitate private-sector investments in programs in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa in technology, education, telecom, media, business services and financial technology and green technologies.
The United States is committed to supporting education to prepare young people throughout the world to seize the opportunities of the 21st ce
ntury. Initiatives include:
- Contributing $45 million to the Government of Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC) to expand partnerships and exchanges, to support infrastructure upgrades and teacher training, and to increase access to education, especially for young people, women, and those living in vulnerable areas.
- Sponsoring the BMENA Community and Technical College Grants Program to create partnerships between U.S. community colleges and community and technical colleges in the BMENA region.
- Allocating $7.25 million for Higher-Ed Scholarships for underserved secondary school students in the BMENA region to attend American-accredited universities.
Civil Society 2.0
- Investing $12.5 million in USAID’s new Youth Education Project in Morocco to provide quality educational services for out-of-school youth and to develop policies and institutional networks to facilitate the delivery of education.
The United States is launching Civil Society 2.0, an initiative to empower grassroots civil society organizations around the world by helping them use digital technology. It will include:
- Deploying a team of experienced technologists to work with civil society organizations and provide training and support to build digital capacity.
- Funding new empowerment connection technologies with $5 million for pilot programs to bolster the new media and networking capabilities of civil society organizations, as well as online learning, in the Middle East and North Africa.
Empowering women and girls and expanding their opportunities to participate fully in all aspects of their societies, are core priorities of the United States. Efforts include:
Providing initial funding for the launch of the BMENA Regional Gender Institute, which will make grants, conduct research, promote scholarship related to gender issues and encourage active participation of diverse groups.
Allocating $2 million to fund Innovative Women’s Empowerment Programs that will strengthen women’s participation in all aspects of society and promote women’s equality in the Middle East and North Africa.
The United States has a longstanding history of openness and respect for all faiths, including Islam, and seeks to deepen mutual understanding and create new partnerships with Muslim communities around the world. The United States will partner with Muslim-majority host countries in different regions to hold biannual Inter-Faith Working Groups
that will bring together leaders across faith communities, government, civil society, and the private sector to create actionable plans for addressing common challenges affecting all of our communities.
Secretary Clinton also announced several major initiatives in Pakistan last week, including partnerships on energy
, law enforcement
, and assistance for internal refugees
. More information is available here: http://www.state.gov/secretary/trvl/2009/130992.htm