[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/11/art.obama.entrepreneurship.jpg]Amy Wilkinson
Special to CNN
The Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship late last month marked a turning point in U.S. foreign policy. Did you hear about this summit? Likely not, as headlines focused on the oil spill, the bomb scare in Times Square and the Supreme Court nomination. And with the U.S. unemployment rate at nearly 10 percent, promoting prosperity abroad is difficult for the White House to tout at home.
Still, President Obama pledged in Cairo, Egypt, last June to build a new beginning with Muslim nations, and entrepreneurship provides an innovative new tool.
Obama was keeping his promise to deepen partnerships between the United States and the Muslim world when he invited 275 entrepreneurs from Muslim-majority countries to participate in the Washington summit. Selected delegates came from more than 50 countries, including Iraq, India, Indonesia and Kazakhstan.
The gathering marked an important shift in foreign policy. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who spoke at the event's conclusion, said "the summit reflects the new approach to foreign policy that President Obama described last year at Cairo University, one that we have been putting into practice through partnerships based on shared values, mutual respect and mutual responsibility."
In the past, U.S. engagement with the Muslim world has focused primarily on defeating al Qaeda, ending the war in Iraq and deterring Iran's nuclear ambitions.
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