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Obama hosts Muslim-focused entrepreneurship summit

By the CNN Wire Staff
President Obama extended the offer for the summit in a speech in Cairo, Egypt, last summer.
President Obama extended the offer for the summit in a speech in Cairo, Egypt, last summer.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Purpose of two-day summit is to improve relations with the Muslim world
  • Participants from more than 40 countries on five continents have been invited
  • President Obama extended offer for summit during a June speech in Cairo, Egypt
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(CNN) -- Delivering on a promise he made nearly a year ago, President Obama will host a two-day entrepreneurship summit beginning Monday designed to improve relations with the Muslim world.

"It represents an opportunity to highlight and support business and social entrepreneurship in Muslim-majority countries, including their minority populations, and Muslim communities around the world," a statement from the summit's website said.

"Through this summit, the United States seeks both to join existing efforts and inspire new efforts to promote entrepreneurship and innovation."

The summit will include remarks by the president and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and closing comments from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Participants from more than 40 countries on five continents have been invited to participate, according to the White House. "The summit will highlight the role entrepreneurship can play in addressing common challenges while building partnerships that will lead to greater opportunity abroad and at home," it said.

The president extended the offer for the summit to Muslims around the world while in Cairo, Egypt, in June. In a speech, Obama stressed the importance of "education and innovation" in lands where "there remains underinvestment in these areas." He called for "a new corps of business volunteers to partner with counterparts in Muslim-majority countries"

The June address was billed as a fence-mending mission between the United States and Islam, and in it the president urged the Cairo audience and those viewing the speech worldwide to enter a new, productive and peaceful chapter in their relationship.

"I know there are many -- Muslim and non-Muslim -- who question whether we can forge this new beginning," Obama said then.

He added: "It is easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward, to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share."