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On Tuesday, the first African American President and First Lady of the United States, Barack and Michelle Obama, returned to their hometown of Chicago to kick off the Obama Foundation’s inaugural two-day leadership summit for the next generation of leaders.
About 500 civic leaders from all over the world gathered at Marriott Marquis McCormick Place, where they spent the day listening to notable speakers and discussing the world’s most “pressing problems.” On day two, attendees will discuss solutions to those problems.
“We need you to move the world forward,” Obama said to the attendees in a welcome statement. “I want this next chapter to be even more impactful than the last — and the next two days are just the beginning.”
Tuesday’s speakers included Prince Harry and President of Ariel Investments, Mellody Hobson; they had discussion about the importance of philanthropy and youth engagement. Michelle Obama, legendary activist Dolores Huerta, musician Common, playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda, and founder of the Dovetail Project, Sheldon Smith, are among Wednesday’s speakers.
“Bringing about change is not just ‘eat your peas,’” Obama said. “There should be some joy in it. It shouldn’t just be a burden. What an amazing gift, an extraordinary privilege to be able to make the world better. To work with others and be able to look back … and say that child has an education because of the work I did, that person has health care, because of the steps I took, that group of people that didn’t have a voice now has a voice.”
Before the Obamas kicked off the summit, Michelle Obama and Prince Harry surprised a group of about 20 students at Hyde Park Academy, a high school located on the south side of Chicago.
“The warm and wide-ranging conversation, lasting over an hour, covered how the Obama Presidential Center will showcase the South Side of Chicago for a global audience, the importance of young people staying inspired and hopeful, and the transformative power of students using their voices to change the world,” said Michelle Obama’s communications director, Caroline Adler Morales.
Photo credit: Christopher Dilts/The Obama Foundation
The 44th U.S. president is set to deliver the summit’s closing remarks at 5pm. A community event featuring a performance by Chance the Rapper will follow the closing the session.
You can watch the Obama Foundation Summit live here.