Politics

Obama Foundation To Host First Global Summit

| by Alex Scarr
Former President Barack ObamaFormer President Barack Obama

The Obama Foundation announced it will host a series of talks and one-day training sessions to help promote ideas, civic engagement and planning for the future with young leaders from around the country.

Former President Barack Obama made the announcement via video on Sept. 13, also stating he would be creating a fellowship program to work alongside other facets of the foundation to help groom the next generation to "change the world," according to the Chicago Tribune.

"We're bringing together hundreds of leaders from all around the world for a hands-on exchange of ideas in my hometown," Obama said in the video. The city of Chicago is slated to be the host for the Obama Foundation's summit.  

"The summit will be a place to gather and learn from one another, and then go back to your communities to lead others in the hard work of change," he continued. "And it will also help guide our foundation as we continue to design programs that will connect and support the next generation of young leaders here in the United States and around the globe."

The summit is planned for the same city that will house Obama's presidential library and his presidential center, according to The Hill.

Obama said he and former first lady Michelle Obama hope the summit will open the door to "hear directly from the future leaders we want to cultivate," he said.

The two-day summit will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 1, reports WLS-TV, and will welcome hundreds of young leaders from around the country to "exchange ideas, explore creative solutions to common problems and experience civic art, technology and music from around the world," the former president said in the video statement.

"We're going to be focusing like a laser beam on this idea of active citizenship, to give people, organizations and communities the skills and the tools that they need to actively engage in positive change," said foundation CEO David Simas, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Local activists have complained they were not looped into the planning process, causing issues for the foundation as it helps prepare for the event. The community leaders have complained the Obama Foundation staffers have not attended local town halls and meetings and are not tuned into the concerns of the residents.

Obama has said he wants the foundation's focus to be the promotion of grassroots work done in the local communities. He commends organizers that have aimed to repair their neighborhoods "one block at a time."

Sources: Chicago Tribune, The Hill, WLS-TV / Featured Image: Obama White House Archives / Embedded Images: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons, Official White House Photo/Lawrence Jackson

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