Obama to beam message to Irish Muslim entrepreneurs
25 April 2010 By John Burke, Public Affairs Correspondent
US president Barack Obama will address Irish-Muslim businesspeople and community leaders during a two-day entrepreneurship event this week.
Obama’s message on the benefits and opportunities of enterprise will be broadcast over the internet from Washington to a gathering in Dublin of Irish Muslims from the worlds of trade, investments and markets.
During the presidential entrepreneurship summit, the president will speak about developing closer links between the Muslim community and providing the capability and funds to develop new business and co-operative networks.
The US embassy in Ireland is hosting the Muslim business people and community leaders at Boston College on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin on Tuesday. Other Muslim leaders across the globe will also participate in Obama’s entrepreneurship summit.
The idea for the event, which will bring together Muslims with an interest in developing close business links, dates back to an address Obama gave last year in Cairo. He announced a vision for a new beginning that would ‘‘deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs’’ in Muslim communities around the world.
The Irish event begins on Tuesday at 12.30pm at Boston College, where the US embassy will stage a meet-and-greet, lunch and a discussion on Obama’s ‘Cairo objectives’ and his initial address to the global conference, which starts tomorrow.
After the discussion, the Irish participants will plug into a live online broadcast of the summit, where ‘‘the important discussion will be on entrepreneurship and enabling business’’, according to the US embassy’s director of public affairs, Karyn Posner-Mullen.
Among the community leaders taking part in the Dublin leg of the summit are Mubarak Habib, who owns Maasail and Adventures, a travel agency that runs tours to Kenya.
It offers a visit to the village of Kogelo, where Obama’s father was born and raised. The other participants include Manan Hameed, whose family are connected to the Madina Asian Food Company, and Hyat Syed of the Kohinoor Company, a Dublin-based food company.
The themes of Obama’s summit are identifying entrepreneurs, developing training and education programmes, university partnerships and mentorships, developing networks to foster innovative programmes, and funding entrepreneurship projects.
Obama has said that the aim of the summit is to convene leading entrepreneurs from Muslim communities around the world and start ‘‘new conversations exploring how to rise above current challenges’’.
They will share resources and lessons learned from the US public and private sectors, and forge relationships with US public and private bodies and overseas partners to develop innovative solutions to commonlyshared problems.
In the final stages of the process, the US hopes to develop and sustain the entrepreneurship networks generated through the summit.
That will involve supporting locally-run annual regional conferences to which Ireland’s Muslim community would also contribute.
Interested parties can plug directly into the Obama summit next week and hear the president’s address by logging on at www.entrepreneurship.gov/summit.