Barack Obama Talks Youth Civic Engagement In First Post-Presidency Public Appearance

Photo credit: Joshua Lott/ New York Times

Obama is back! Today, the 44th U.S. President, Barack Obama returned to the city where he started his political career to make his first post-presidency public appearance - Chicago. Obama sat down with six young leaders at the University of Chicago to discuss youth civic engagement and political involvement. During the 80-minute forum, Obama also reflected on what he learned from Chicago when he was a community organizer on the city's South Side.  

"This community taught me that ordinary people, when working together, can do extraordinary things," Obama said. "This community taught me that everybody has a story to tell that is important." 

While Obama's story led him all the way to the White House as the first African American President of the United States, his civic engagement and political involvement will not stop there. Post-presidency, Obama hopes to nurture future political leaders, sharing: "I'm spending a lot of time thinking about what is the most important thing I can do for my next job. The single most important thing I can do is to help in any way I can to prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and to take their own crack at changing the world."

As Obama encouraged young people to get and stay politically involved, he concluded his first public remarks, since leaving office in January, with these words: "I have to say that there's a reason why I'm always optimistic when things look like they're sometimes not going the way I want. And that is because of young people like this." 

The event was ticketed and opened to only students in the Chicago area. In the coming weeks, Obama is set to hold more high-profile events. We're excited to see the 44th U.S. President continuously use his platform to inspire the next generation. 


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