More than half the population in parts of the world today, including in many Muslim-majority countries, is under the age of 25, said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in a speech in Doha. They deserve the chance to make their mark on the world and be a part of positive change.
President Barack Obama's administration believes that "education and innovation are the currency of this century," said Secretary Clinton. So, the U.S. is working with Muslim communities on expanding educational opportunities, supporting entrepreneurs through programs such as the Global Technology and Innovation Fund, and promoting advances and exchanges in science and technology, she said:
"Our goal is to identify excellent ideas and successful projects in Muslim communities and then invest in them, help to scale them up, and to connect innovators and entrepreneurs, so that they can support and enhance each other's work."
The U.S. will support these ambitions through a number of programs. The planned Global Technology and Innovation Fund, to be launched this spring, will provide capital to small and medium-sized businesses throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. In April, President Obama will host a two-day Summit on Entrepreneurship, which will bring together innovators, entrepreneurs and business people from 50 countries and their American business counterparts.
The U.S. is working with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio, and partnering with a number of individual countries to create economic opportunity, fight hunger, poverty, and disease. Through a number of its agencies, the U.S. sponsors various exchange programs. And so, Arab and American engineering students work together on NASA missions, while special Science Envoys travel the world to promote similar exchanges. And because, as Secretary Clinton said, "while talent is universal, opportunity is not," the U.S. has also increased funding for educational exchange programs for students in many Muslim majority countries.
"These [examples] demonstrate our commitment, but our scale of success depends upon whether we can work closely with other governments, particularly governments willing to invest to build sustainable economies that are based not only on natural resources, but on the energy and ingenuity of the people," said Secretary of State Clinton.
"True and lasting security takes root in places where people have the opportunity to find jobs, to be educated, to raise healthy families, and benefit from the scientific and technological breakthroughs that have transformed the way we live in the 21st century."