Press Release: PITAPOLICY Consulting & Blog
Collaborating with Community for Commerce: First C-3 Summit a Success
New York~“Inequality, employment opportunity, and sustainability” sum up the three interdependent global factors that challenge US-Arab trade relations, according to former U.S. President Bill Clinton at the first annual C-3 Summit held in the Museum of Natural History. Clinton delivered the keynote address “Embracing our Common Humanity” to a group of industry trade representatives, small business owners, and attorneys looking to expand U.S.-Arab trade relations. To this end, C-3 stands for Community, Collaboration, and Commerce and drove the two day agenda, which ended at the Union Ivy League Club in Manhattan.
PITAPOLICY overheard fellow attendees’ reasons to attend C-3, which pretty much echoed our own:
1) Network with potential partners
2) Walk away with best practices in cross cultural diplomacy
3) Demystify the Islamic Finance industry in order to better leverage opportunities
The C-3 Summit’s diverse sponsors reflected the two-day panel discussions regarding government, the business, and the third sector’s range of non-profits, like, the Arab Empowerment Initiative, (Al-Mubadarah), which PITAPOLICY Consulting is listed as a Creative Partner. Sponsors also included: William J. Clinton Foundation; the Arab Bankers Association; National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce; the Government of Bermuda; Baker Botts, LLC; Noozz.com; Xenel; Marsten Webb International; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Building on C-3 Summit’s motto, and Clinton’s observations, former ambassadors, like Ambassador Theodore Kattouf and Chase Untermeyer, delivered country specific recipes for economic development in Lebanon and Qatar, while noting the political climate. (Ambassador Theodore Kattouf heads AMIDEAST.) Often times, big picture thinking and macro-economics does not match up to the expectations of foreign investors, and result in “groupthink.” So summit day one tried to prepare for business through the cultural lens with panels like:
- Facilitating Financial Services, Investments and Trade with the Middle East and how the U.S. Might Profit
~How to Get to a Deal, Make it Happen and Make it a Collaborative Success
~How to Develop a U.S. -Arab Global Effort to Curb Chronic Diseases Based on a Multibillion Dollar Collaborative Effort
~Islamic Finance is Booming and What You Need to Know to be Part of It
The C-3 organizers arranged a special, private screening of the IMAX film “Arabia”.
On summit day two: Media savvy leaders pushed back on political culture. In particular, Reza Aslan, BoomGen Studios and Andrea Fiano, Editor-In-Chief of Global Finance Magazine, commented on how many changes regarding content development and audience target are exemplified in the Middle East & North Africa region–not just the growing youth component. “Identify narratives that are local,” Aslan advised since there are “low barriers to entry” in the gaming sector, which relies on content development.
The half of the day provided an opportunity for social enterprises and venture capitalists to insert some promising examples of leading by mentorship and example. Specifically, Endeavor, Egypt based Sawari Ventures & the Jordan-based Oasis 500 chimed in with narratives that contrasted with the previous day’s focus on the countries from the Arabian Gulf. CEO and co-Founder of Endeavor, Linda Rottenberg, noted how the tech industry might need a thirty year time horizon to truly take root and establish a regional hub. Meanwhile, Oasis 500 Founder, Dr. Ussama Fayyed, added to Rottenberg’s hybrid of optimistic-realism (or realistic optimism) with “I don’t believe in creating jobs, I believe in creating companies and entrepreneurs.”
All these discussions were interrupted with commercials. By “commercials”, PITAPOLICY means the unfortunate updates regarding the embassy attacks that started Tuesday in Egypt and Libya, followed by more in Tunisia and beyond. The message behind these news updates did not fall flat on each of the panelists. As Ahmed El Alfi, Founder of Sawari Ventures reflected, “When people have a job, they are less willing and are too busy to be protesting outside an embassy. ”
Perhaps the message for next year’s theme will be: invest not just for financial gain, but for peace of mind. Or, more specifically: why trade would alleviate unemployment, which could mitigate against anti-American sentiment, which continually emphasizes the political risk, which ultimately, reminds me that if all politics is local, then maybe all economics are local too. And until there’s local involvement, which produces local opportunity, then Clinton’s warning of sustainability might be delayed by another generation. PITAPOLICY is pleased to see that the C-3 Summit has incorporated Clinton’s message for planning next year. Looking forward to C-3 Summit collaborating on the local level in Doha in 2013!