Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to participate as a judge at SIFE World Cup 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
For those of you that aren't familiar with the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) competition, teams consisting of students on university campuses around the world apply business concepts to develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need.
Once a year, national champion SIFE teams from around world meet at the SIFE World Cup where they present the results of their community outreach projects to a prestigious group of international business leaders.
This year, teams representing nearly 40 countries and territories came to Kuala Lumpur to participate in the World Cup. After two days of intense competition, Germany won the trophy, with Zimbabwe as a close runner up, followed by Puerto Rico and Guatemala. And through this competition, the teams developed multiple projects that I am confident will do well financially and good socially. What a refreshing and energizing experience to observe and participate in this process.
A special note about the Texas State University, San Marcos team that carried the U.S. banner in Kuala Lumpur -- their enthusiasm was infectious. Along with U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia Paul Jones, I had the opportunity to meet with twenty members of the team, and we encouraged them to join the foreign service and to bring their entrepreneurial spirit with them. All Americans should be proud to be represented by these dynamos!
And these are just 20 of the more than 50,000 SIFE members around the globe who are exemplifying the innovation and sense of civic responsibility of the next generation of entrepreneurs and public servants. This is a very creative group, and the SIFE World Cup is an exceptional showcase of the impact that the efforts of young people are making around the world. We in the public sector need to welcome them into our sphere enthusiastically.
While Secretary Clinton was unable to join me in Kuala Lumpur, she did send a video message that was played during the closing of the World Cup. And when she announced that we are partnering with SIFE to host the 2012 World Cup in Washington, D.C., I am thrilled to report that this news was met with wild applause from the global audience!
Like SIFE, the State Department is firmly committed to empowering young people and our partnership illustrates the importance of student entrepreneurship as a foreign policy tool.
To the corporations, organizations, and individuals that play an essential role in advancing the work of SIFE, I look forward to working with you throughout the upcoming year. As Secretary Clinton said, "Your partnership is helping to improve lives, strengthen communities and develop socially responsible young business leaders."
And to all of the participants, I wish you the best of luck over the coming year, and look forward to seeing the fruits of your hard work and creative approaches next fall in Washington, D.C.
Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) is an international non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. SIFE World Cup 2012 will take place in Washington, D.C. from September 30 - October 2, 2012.