Partners for a New Beginning Launches Steering Committee, Commitments

Posted by Farah Pandith
September 22, 2010

About the Author: Farah Pandith is the Special Representative to Muslim Communities.

In response to President Obama's Cairo speech in June 2009, prominent Americans from the private sector have joined with the State Department to form Partners for a New Beginning (PNB). Led by Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Vice-Chairs Walter Isaacson (CEO, Aspen Institute) and Muhtar Kent (Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO), PNB brings together a dozen eminent Americans to engage Muslim communities globally on the basis of mutual interest, mutual respect, and mutual responsibility. This morning in New York, Partners for a New Beginning inaugurated its full Steering Committee. The members are:

• Mr. Tarek Abdel-Meguid, Founding Partner, Perella Weinberg Partners
• Ms. Cathleen Black, President, Hearst Magazines
• Ms. Jean Case, Chief Executive Officer, The Case Foundation
• Mr. John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems, Inc.
• Mr. Kenneth Cohen, Chairman, ExxonMobil Foundation; VP of Public Affairs, Exxon Mobil Corporation
• Dr. Helene Gayle, President and CEO, CARE USA
• Mr. Stephen Heintz, President, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
• Mr. Andrew Liveris, Chairman, and CEO, The Dow Chemical Company
• Mr. John Mack, Chairman, Morgan Stanley
• Mr. Paul Otellini, President and CEO, Intel Corporation
• Dr. Eboo Patel, Founder and President, Interfaith Youth Core
• Dr. Ruth Simmons, President, Brown University

These leaders will be developing new partnerships to deepen U.S. ties with Muslim communities around the world in four key areas -- economic opportunity, science and technology, education, and exchange -- by using their expertise, relationships, and access to resources to build public-private partnerships and private-private partnerships.

This morning at the Clinton Global Initiative, PNB announced commitments to improve the lives of up to 500,000 people by providing increased access to finance, improved business capacity and development services, greater educational opportunities for students and teachers, enhanced physical and virtual exchange programs, and new science and technology solutions across the PNB priority geographical areas of Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan and West Bank/Gaza.

Backed by the full support of the Secretary, PNB is exactly the kind of innovative, cross-sector, collaborative partnership that the United States is known for, and we are excited to work in partnership with some of America's most eminent leaders to fulfill the promise of a new beginning and translate it into positive benefits on the ground. As Secretary Clinton said when she first announced PNB on April 27th, “I think that this is one of those occasions in the diplomatic history of our country that we will look back on and say that that made a difference...This is a key element of our national strategy, and I am very grateful to the leadership of this effort and all who will participate in it.”

Please watch the welcome remarks from the Secretary to the PNB Steering Committee, and if you are interested, please reach out to us to get involved, because we are eager to work with any new partners interested in joining the effort. To connect with PNB leadership, you can reach Rob Lalka in the Office of Global Partnership Initiatives (S/GPI) via e-mail.



John M.
Florida, USA
September 22, 2010

John W. M. in Florida writes:

Open letter to President Barack Obama.

Mr. President: Hillary Clinton was exactly right when she called the Mexican Drug Cartel's organized violence an insurgency. The only problem I have with this label is that it should be called a North American uprising and dealt with by a combined front including the U.S. and Canadian governments - Mexico can not solve this problem alone! When one considers that 90% of the drug demand and the weapons being used by these thugs comes from the U.S., it is the ultimate hypocrisy for the U.S. to call it a Mexican problem.

This uprising must be put down immediately because the stability of the entire Mexican government hangs in the balance. Since a lawless Mexico poses a much greater threat to U.S. security than Al Qaeda ever did, we should immediately withdraw all our troops from Iraq and Afgahanistan and reposition them on our southern border. This action should, of course, be coordinated in advance with the Mexican and Canadian governments. Under no scenario should this action be taken as an act of war against the Mexican government; but, it should be made clear that if our troops are in 'hot pursuit' of members of the drug cartels, we will cross the border and deal with these criminals as the enemy combatants that they are, i.e., shoot on sight.

In addition to a frontal assault, we should immediately open up a joint dialogue inside the U.S. government to discuss emergency measures to legalize recreational drugs so it can be controlled, regulated and obviously taxed. We of all countries should know that prohibition does not work! In fact all it really does is give rise to organized crime with the attendant violence that goes hand-in-hand with it!

The White House should cease it's internal bickering with the Pentagon and congress and spear-head this campaign of drug sanity. Speaking of campaigns, this problem should be escalated to the level of a campaign issue for all political parties - we must get real on this issue before anarchy reigns in Mexico and the south western U.S.

Since Arizona is right on the firing line for this struggle, I would expect to hear a lot from senator John McCain among others in congress; let's see some real leadership from our elected officials on this crisis, right now!

Finally, Mr president, due to the urgency of this problem, every politico in Washington D.C., from you down to the lowliest clerk should consider this terrible problem as an golden opportunity to address several of our worst national issues at the same time: The wars in the Middle East; the drug war at home; illegal immigration; and yes economic problems here at home and the horrible carnage we are just now beginning to witness. And, by-the-way, Sir, if you put Hillary Clinton on the ticket in 2012, I promise to vote Democratic for the first time in my life!

I will be writing more about this crisis on my website "" so please everyone join the discussion.

United States
September 22, 2010

O.C. in the U.S.A. writes:

Dear Mrs. Clinton,
I also agree about the Mexican insurgency issue. Today while riding on my local bus line in Los Angeles I'm pretty sure I overheard one high schooler say to the other, "There's a riot going on?" As if rioting has replaced a visit to the local Saturday night cinema of my generation. There are massive hordes of people entering into the country untracked. Someone is fomenting civil disobedience in High schoolers. This is a worrisome trend because I live in L.A. the heart of the former flashpoint of the Los Angeles riots. There is an insurgency being foisted upon our nation. I don't think its just at our back door anymore. I think its in our nation's living room.


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