Ina Fried

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Obama Gives a Shout-Out to MEET, the Israeli-Palestinian Youth Tech Project

When we heard about a project that pairs Israeli and Palestinian teens to learn about tech and business, we were immediately intrigued.

After learning more, we made MEET (Middle East Empowerment Through Technology) one of the original Global Voices at the D: Dive Into Mobile event scheduled for last fall.

Well, MEET has reached the attention of President Obama, who referenced the program Thursday while in Israel encouraging greater cooperation.

“That is the kind of relationship that Israel should have — and could have — with every country in the world. Already, we see how that innovation could reshape this region,” Obama said. “One program here in Jerusalem brings together young Israelis and Palestinians to learn vital skills in technology and business.”

Responded Noa Epstein, the co-CEO of MEET, in an email to AllThingsD, “We are proud and honored to have MEET’s work recognized by President Obama and are strengthened by his commitment to creating a better future for Palestinians and Israelis through empowering and connecting young change makers from both sides through the common language of innovation, technology and entrepreneurship.”

MEET pairs Israeli and Palestinian high school students together over several summers and during the school year to learn about technology and ultimately create their own endeavor.

The group’s big appearance on the D stage got washed out by Hurricane Sandy, but the MEET folks (who like us were stuck in Manhattan) sat down for an interview.

And, by the way, if you are looking for more inspiration, President Obama, we’ll have a new crop of Global Voices at our rescheduled Dive Into Mobile event April 15-16 in New York.

Here’s the video of Obama mentioning MEET.

And here’s our interview with the organizers and two MEET participants from last fall.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik