Obama announces Chicago summit to gather civic leaders

Former President Barack Obama announced in a video Wednesday morning that civic leaders from around the world will meet next month in Chicago for the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit.

The two-day event will bring together hundreds of active citizens to exchange ideas and discuss innovative solutions to common problems, Obama said. It will also showcase art, technology and music from various countries and cultures.

“This leadership 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,” Obama said.

In the video announcement, Obama recalled that upon leaving office in January he reiterated something he asked of Americans when he was first elected president in 2008: to believe not in his ability to enact change but in their own. After launching the Obama Foundation, he continued, he read letters from young people and met with future leaders from around the world who have embraced their roles as active citizens.

Former President Barack Obama attends a discussion at the German Protestant Kirchentag in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, May 25, 2017. (Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

“One of the things you told us is how much you want to hear from one another, from folks who aren’t like you, who live in different places and are tackling unique challenges of their own,” he said.

According to Obama, this common desire was the impetus behind organizing the Obama Foundation Summit, which will be held on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

The foundation is accepting applications to attend the summit from young leaders who are passionate about social change, actively engaged in their communities and can bring diverse perspectives. In the coming months, the foundation, which plans to build the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side of Chicago, will announce more initiatives and opportunities for people to get involved in its mission.

“That mission is simple,” Obama said. “We want to inspire and empower people to change the world.”

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