The US Department of State has entered into a partnership with Partners for a New Beginning (PNB) - a group of eminent Americans from a variety of sectors who will reach out systematically to private sector entities at the highest level to harness private sector resources and capabilities to advance the vision for a new beginning between the United States and Muslim communities around the world, as expressed in President Obama’s June 2009 Cairo speech.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright serves as the Chair of PNB. Walter Isaacson (President of The Aspen Institute) and Muhtar Kent (Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company) will serve as Vice-Chairs. PNB’s leadership will bring additional members on board over the course of the next month and build-out an approximately 15 person group. PNB will be an independent, self-administered group. The Aspen Institute will serve as its Secretariat. The Department of State will provide a small sum of funding to support this Secretariat. PNB will operate in close coordination and partnership with the Department of State.
The Partners for New Beginning will reach out to U.S. companies, Universities, laboratories, research centers, NGOs, Foundations, philanthropists and others to harness their resources, capabilities and expertise to complement USG New Beginning programs and partnerships. As such, PNB will be a vital capability in advancing the new beginning and in forging ties between people and institutions in the United States and in Muslim communities around the world.
Muhtar Kent (Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company) and Vice-Chairs Partners for New Beginning said: “On behalf of The Coca-Cola Company and the more than 700,000 Coca-Cola system employees around the world, I would like to thank the Honorable Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the opportunity to be part of this important initiative.
Global corporations have an important role to play in small business development, and in helping to create sustainable communities where they operate. We look forward to working closely with the Honorable former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as the Chair of “Partners for a New Beginning”, and with Vice Chair Walter Isaacson, President of The Aspen Institute, to foster further private sector engagement between U.S. and Muslim communities around the world”.
The Coca-Cola Company and its bottling partners do business in over 200 countries around the world. It is a local business everywhere it operates, and in each of those countries the Company follows local traditions and customs and generates economic value that stays in the local communities it serves, and its approach is an inclusive one.
This year, the Coca-Cola Company announced significant additional investments in countries like Malaysia ($302m) and Pakistan ($250m) where it has been present since 1936 and 1953 respectively. Across the Arab world alone, the bottling partners operate 54 manufacturing plants and employ 40,000 people, providing livelihoods for 500,000 families, and has invested more than $1 billion in the last few years. The Coca-Cola business is the third largest employer and fifth largest investor in the Palestine Authority Area, employing over 350 Palestinians and providing livelihoods for 5,000 families.
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