Clinton Endorses Partnerships at First Global Impact Economy Forum
April 26, 2012 – Public-private partnership is an important vehicle for advancing the world’s economies, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday on the first day of the Global Impact Economy Forum, taking place at both the State Department and Georgetown.
“We know that working with the private sector can bolster both [the State Department’s] foreign policy interest and our development efforts,” Clinton said. “But we hope the private sector knows that working with government and civil society also offers value.”
The two-day forum is bringing together more than 350 high-level investors, business executives, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, academic and U.S. government leaders to explore how the federal government can facilitate innovative business approaches and sustainable investments here and abroad.
The second day of events, featuring keynote addresses by Gen. Wesley Clark and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, will be hosted by Georgetown’s Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI) and take place at the university’s McDonough School of Business.
Other topics being explored at the forum include ways in which the U.S. government can reduce the risks of doing business in emerging economies and increase overseas economic engagement, which the State Department says improves the people’s lives in developing nations while supporting the American business expansion overseas.
“The State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Department of Commerce, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and many other of our own institutions are working together with international and multilateral institutions and trying to crack the code on removing the obstacles that limit growth,” Clinton said. “We know we need partnerships and innovative alliances.”
Force for Good
Clinton isn’t the only one who thinks the private sector should play a stronger part in solving America’s financial problems.
“I think entrepreneurs should look at some of the social problems in the world,” said Richard Branson, a British entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Group.
Branson made the comment at the forum in an interview with Matthew Bishop, U.S. business editor and the New York bureau chief for The Economist.
“[They should] not just think of themselves as money-making machines looking after their shareholder’s quarter results, but become a force for good,” Branson said.
Branson is the author of Screw Business As Usual (Portfolio, 2011), in which he argues it is time to turn a purely profit-oriented mode of capitalism into one that also focuses on caring for people.
Other Influential Speakers
Also speaking later in the day Thursday were Georgetown alumna Melanne Verveer (I’66, G’69), U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women's issues, USAID Chief Innovation Officer Maura O’Neill and actor and activist Maria Bello.
To view a schedule of Friday’s events at Georgetown University, please visit the McDonough School of Business’s website.