Only a few months into President Barack Obama's presidency, he went to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslim communities and call for new partnerships based on local priorities. In April of last year, President Obama fulfilled a key promise in that speech by hosting a global forum to discuss a topic that people around the world told us needed greater focus: entrepreneurship. The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship brought together investors, foundations, and business leaders to deepen ties and build relationships. And at that historic gathering, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Secretary of State Albright announced the creation of Partners for a New Beginning (PNB), a flagship public-private alliance that has fostered American investments based on local priorities in nine different countries over the past year.
Vice President Joe Biden and I just left this year's Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Istanbul, which was hosted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Vice President spoke about entrepreneurship's power in his remarks on December 3, noting that "the single, most valuable resource on the planet is not what's in the ground, but what's in our minds." He stressed the importance for our governments to adequately address creating environments for innovation: "fostering entrepreneurship is not just about crafting the right economic policy or developing the best educational curriculum. It's about creating a free political climate in which ideas and innovation can flourish." The most entrepreneurial countries in the world are the most prosperous and this summit is one more step toward adding more countries to that list.
At the same time, I also attended the meeting of all of the PNB local chapters, an inspiring gathering of global leaders who have developed over 70 projects in their communities. Secretary Clinton is proud to support this effort, and in the midst of so much uncertainty and turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, I think we're really onto something. We've developed a unique and powerful model that is based on locally-driven partnerships. By focusing on mutual interests, we can create opportunities that didn't exist before and foster greater impact through our investments.
I say this because I believe that we are experiencing a renaissance in entrepreneurial spirit.
I have been proud of the support that our team at the Global Partnership Initiative has provided to this entire effort. Our work has been all about empowering individuals, creating opportunities, and unlocking talent. And I was thrilled by one of our newest efforts, which was announced by Vice President Biden in his speech here in Turkey: we will be partnering with Global Entrepreneurship Week to make the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Summit hosted by the UAE the signature event of the world's largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth, and expand human welfare.
We hope to accomplish a great deal in 2012, and I can't wait to report back from the summit next year.