Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visits Pakistan

October 22 2011

Had the pleasure of meeting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton during her recent visit to Islamabad, Pakistan.  Below is an extract of a question I asked her during a select Town Hall gathering, as well as a picture of us together.

Townterview with Moeed Pirzada of Pakistan TV

MR. PIRZADA: There’s a question here, I think. There’s a lady who has a mike here. Yes.

QUESTION: Hello. I’m Tara Uzra Dawood. I’m a JD from Harvard Law School as well as president of the Dawood Global Foundation and LadiesFund.

The question I have is: Because we have awards for women entrepreneurs, networking opportunities and training for women entrepreneurs, we’ve indentified incredible talent in Pakistan, and those are the headlines I would like to see and we’d like to see internationally. Furthermore, with virtual businesses and technology, could you perhaps share your opinions and guide us how we can get Pakistani women or Pakistani entrepreneurs and American entrepreneurs working hand in hand in entrepreneurship rather than in isolation? Thank you.

MR. PIRZADA: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that is music to my ears, because one of our principal programs in the State Department the last two-plus years has been to promote global entrepreneurship around the world, with an emphasis on women and with an emphasis on Muslim majority countries, because we think entrepreneurship, small business, medium-sized business development is key to economic growth and prosperity, and that parts of the world that have not been growing and providing inclusive prosperity over the last decade are now poised in part because of technology to do so.

Therefore, we have held entrepreneurship summits in Egypt, in Indonesia, in Washington. The next one is in Turkey. And we want to be sure – we’ve had Pakistani participants, and we want to be sure that the two messages of what it takes to promote entrepreneurship, because there are still legal and regulatory barriers. There are difficulties in many countries in starting businesses and growing businesses. We want to identify those, work with governments, work with business to try to eliminate them, and we also want to mentor. So we have websites, we have programs where we’re bringing entrepreneurs – in particular, women entrepreneurs – to work with counterparts.

So we want to do all of that, and we view Pakistan as a place with such potential. Pakistan is a country of small businesses, and there’s so much more that could be done and that can be linked to the global economy. And so therefore, we will redouble our efforts to reach out to Pakistani entrepreneurs and make sure that as many as possible are connected into what we’re doing globally.

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