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Obama makes good on his Cairo promise - 2010-04-26

Monday, 2010, April 26
Muchiri Muchoki

“…I will host a Summit on Entrepreneurship this year to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world…”

If anyone would wish to know the exact form that President Barack Obama’s policy will take at the end of his regime, the preview is crystal clearly cast against his June 4, 2009 speech at Cairo.

His speech addressed major sources of tension between the US and the Muslim World; ranging from violent extremism, the situation between Israelis, Palestinians and the Arab world, nations rights and responsibilities with regards to Nuclear issues and issues of Democracy.

Obama also took his time to address the issues of Religious freedom, Women’s rights and Economic development and opportunity.

This effort to establish cohesion between the United States of America and the Muslim world was correctly branded as ‘a new beginning’ between the United States and Muslims around the world. And according to his own words “one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition.”

Now here is the good part: Obama now seems to be keenly making a follow up on these issues that he raised.

On April 12 to 13, 2010, President Obama held an unprecedented Nuclear Security Summit that brought together leaders from 47 around the world.

And now 13 days later, he will be at it again. This time round hosting an entrepreneurial summit that seems to underscore his commitment to what he mentioned in Cairo as ‘economic development and opportunity.

“The idea of entrepreneurship summit is to bring together entrepreneurs and also business people, foundations; it’s almost like a match making service in a way,” said William Fitzgerald, State Department’s Deputy Secretary for African Affairs.

Fitzgerald pointed out, while addressing Kenyan and Cameroonian journalists via Direct Video Conferencing at these two countries’ American Embassies - that the summit aims at creating a networking opportunity amongst the expected 250 participants from around 50 countries that have sizable Muslim populations.

Kenya will be represented by four participants. Mr Yusuf H. Keshavjee of White Rose Drycleaners, Ms Rehema Dida Jaldesa of Yashar Distributors, Mr Salim Amin of Camerapix Limited as well as Mohamed Amin Foundation Ms Nuria Sheikh Farah of Gargaar Kenya.

These participants will have an opportunity of interacting with big names like the co-founder of Google, the co-founder of Yahoo and the co-founder of Facebook.

The delegates will also participate in presentations aimed at advancing entrepreneurship through technology and innovation, access to capital, and mentoring as well as fostering youth entrepreneurship.

Obviously, this summit is the first of its kind and its outcome is bound to be interesting to say the least. “We’ll have to see what comes of it. We need to access after it’s all said and done. I think we are forecasting a very positive outcome; again the idea is to let the governments out of the room and let entrepreneurs in the United States and from other counties network,” Says Fitzgerald.

And as the summit kick starts, President Obama’s Cairo’s words will be reverberating at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington DC; that Islam is a part of America. And that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all the humanity share common aspirations.

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