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SAT-7: Opening Remarks

SAT-7: Opening Remark
March 27, 2007
Becky Norton Dunlop

Many thanks for joining us here at The Heritage Foundation today.

As many of you already know, The Heritage Foundation is a policy institution that advocates the principles of individual freedom, free enterprise, limited government, a strong national defense, and traditional values. We are not associated with any political party here in the United States and we work with organizations across the world that work toward one or more of these principles.

In my position as Vice President of External Relations for The Heritage Foundation, I have the opportunity to meet and learn about many projects that have found a unique niche in advancing the ideas of freedom.

And, it is always my pleasure to host one of them at The Heritage Foundation.

Inherent in our understanding of traditional values are the ideas of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and a free and open media. Today, we have the privilege of welcoming to The Heritage Foundation platform an organization which is working in a unique way to advance ideas and principles to people who live in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Now, why are this event and this organization important in the larger context of public policy?

Well, partly because most Americans really have no concept of the way in which people in the Middle East live their lives. For instance, we have lots and lots of cable television companies and channels and also a large number of satellite dishes. In the Middle East, almost everyone has a satellite dish and a television set. It is a remarkable phenomenon...and that people are able to have this technology is a good thing: It offers them a window on the world.

For the most part, Americans have little understanding of the diverse nature of the countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa. There are great cities and remote villages...like in the US. And, within the diverse population, there is growing opportunity for a greater pluralism; or to put it another way, a greater opportunity for the millions of people to learn about other faiths and religions that abound in our world today. SAT-7 participates in this by bringing news and information about Christianity and its principles for living.

But, in addition to these messages of faith, the concepts and principles that underlie sound marriage--an area where Heritage has done some groundbreaking research--, parenting, education, issues of unique concern to women, and key elements of civil society are also communicated through this unique medium we will hear about today.

All in all, we in the United States need more knowledge and understanding about the Middle East and Northern Africa and we need to bear witness to the fact that there are growing opportunities for windows on that area of the world and communications to the people of that area.

So, today, I welcome the leadership of SAT-7 to The Heritage Foundation. SAT-7 provides original programming in Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish languages via satellite television into millions of homes and families in the Middle East. Their love and respect for their audiences will be apparent in their presentations.

Debbie Brink is the Executive Director of SAT-7's U.S. operations. She has spent her entire professional career in leadership positions of organizations committing to serving others through broadcasting and education. Please welcome Debbie Brink and the panel whom she will be introducing to you individually.