Friday 15 November 2019

All the key moments from Barack Obama's first public event since his presidency

By Prudence Wade

He sat down with a panel of students at the University of Chicago.

In his first official public event since leaving the White House, Barack Obama donned a suit to sit down with a student panel at the University of Chicago, where his presidential library is planned.

Here’s everything you missed from the talk.

On the current state of politics in America

With a signature wisecrack, Obama sat down with the words: “So, what’s been going on while I’ve been gone?”

However, he didn’t mention his successor or detail his thoughts on current events as his successor Donald Trump approaches his 100-day mark in office.

On young people

Obama was in conversation with six young civic leaders from the local area, and throughout the event he emphasised that young people are the future.

He said he hopes that the presidential library (planned near the edge of the Chicago campus) will serve as a place for young people to become more civically engaged.

Obama said that young people are critical to resolving the nation’s most daunting problems, which include economic inequality, climate change and a skewed criminal justice system.

On the internet

He advised young people to be careful with what they post online – he joked that he might not have become president if everything he did in high school was easily searchable online.

He added: “I think the best thing you can do is to own your life, and your mistakes, and the changes you go through.”

On what he’s doing next

Obama said: “The most important thing I can do is help prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton, and to take their own crack at changing the world.”

Obama also mentioned that he was currently writing a book.

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