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Cablegate: Ambassador Hosts Iftar Dinner

VZCZCXRO7480
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #4182 2760458
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 030458Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3239
INFO RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS MANILA 004182

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON ENRG EPET PGOV EAID RP
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR HOSTS IFTAR DINNER

1. Summary. Over 100 Muslim youth, religious leaders, and high
ranking government officials attended the Ambassador's Iftar dinner
on September 27. A poster display of USG projects in Mindanao and
festive fabric loaned by a Muslim attendee were well received. Many
guests traveled from Mindanao for the event. Hosting them in
Manila, in addition to our frequent interactions in Mindanao,
cemented relationships with the Ambassador and Country Team. End
Summary.

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Muslim Internship Program
--------------------------

2. Among Iftar guests were over 30 Muslim young professionals from
Mindanao, who were in Manila as part of USAID-sponsored
Congressional Internship Program for Young Muslim Leaders (CIPYML).
Participants enthusiastically shared stories of their work on
legislation and policy formation at the House of Representatives.
Several interns said the work has broadened their understanding of
national issues, governance processes, and the country's democratic
values.

-----------------------------------------
Government Officials and Religious Leaders
-----------------------------------------

3. The Ambassador and other Embassy officials' frequent trips to
Mindanao were a topic of conversation amongst guests. Prominent
Muslim leaders from Mindanao noted that the visits were a clear sign
to the communities that the USG pays attention and cares about what
happens in Mindanao. Others mentioned that it is important to
encourage both peace and prosperity in the ARMM. Datu Paglas, a
highly successful plantation operator in Central Mindanao with a
long history of cooperation with USAID programs, suggested that
USAID invest in a rubber plantation in the island of Basilan, a
former terrorist safehaven, to solidify peace and prosperity.
(Note: USAID has supported and continues to support a broad range
of successful activities aimed at developing the agri-business
sector in Mindanao, primarily through work with producer and
marketing associations. Basilan has benefited from support in this
area.)

4. Executive Secretary Ermita commended the Ambassador's initiative
in reaching out to the Muslim interns and young professionals. He
noted that older generations had already chosen a point of view, but
future leaders were more flexible.

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COMMENT
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5. The diversity of the guests made the Iftar dinner a success -
leaders of varying ages from Muslim, Christian, and Jewish community
attended. The setting also provided an opportunity to display
pictures of USG assistance projects, take an informal poll on
feelings the success of aid, and ask about ideas for future
projects.

Kenney

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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