AAP staff report
Washington, D.C. (April 27, 2010) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Former Secretary Madeleine Albright on Monday announced a new partnership between the Department of State and Partners for a New Beginning – a new group of eminent Americans who will reach out to the private sector and work in close coordination with the Department of State to advance programs between the United States and Muslim communities.
The announcement, which was made in the Treaty Room at the Department of State, will have Albright serving as the Chairwoman of the independent, self-administered group, with the Aspen Institute serving as its Secretariat.
Aspen Institute President Walter Isaacson and Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company Muhtar Kent will serve as Vice-Chairs.
Clinton said the occasions would be remembered in diplomatic history as an initiative that made a difference. She said the effort started one year ago at Cairo University, where President Barack Obama called for a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world – one based on mutual interests and mutual respect, shared values, and shared responsibility.
She said that since that famous speech, the administration and the State Department has made it a priority to put that vision into practice through its policies and our partnerships with governments, and also with the private sector, civil society, citizens worldwide.
“We really believe that person-to-person diplomacy in today’s world is as important as what we do in official meetings in national capitals across the globe,” said Clinton. “It can’t be achieved, though, just by our government asserting it.
“It can only be achieved by the kind of public-private partnerships that the United States is uniquely known for and which we are unveiling today: people and groups working across sectors, industries; working together with persistence and creativity to fulfill that promise of a new beginning and translate it into positive benefits,” she added.
Clinton said the Partners for a New Beginning brings together eminent Americans who have answered the President’s call to outreach Muslim communities around the world, helping them to engage resources, capabilities, and expertise of the U.S. private sector. She said this is the key element of this national strategy to reach Muslim majority communities.
Barclay Resler, a Coca Cola executive, will serve as vice president for government relations. Clinton said the company is unparalleled as a private sector corporation working on HIV/AIDS in Africa and for its ability to transport life-saving drugs through is massive facility and transportation network.
Secretary Albright described the PNB as an innovative variation on the theme of public-private partnerships that she hopes will make a major contribution to translating words into action in developing the ties between the United States and the international Muslim communities.
Albright said Obama’s Cairo speech emphasized the principles of justice and progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings as a central to a new beginning – a central point. She said that taken together, the projects go much further in strengthening the bonds between the United States and the citizens of Muslim-majority nations.
“And I think he recognized the need for a sustained effort to listen to each other, to learn from each other, to respect one another, and to seek common ground,” said Albright. “And the partnership really does build on these pillars to advance the President’s vision by focusing on these elements of economic opportunity and entrepreneurship, innovation in science and technology, education, and people-to-people exchanges.