World

Obama: Back in spotlight

Former US president Barack Obama is focusing his energy on training young leaders. He is devoting time to work with young people so that they can take up the baton to change the world.

Obama held his presidential farewell speech on January 11 in Chicago, and on April 24 – his first public appearance after leaving office, he discussed civic engagement.

Lamenting the state of modern politics, Obama refrained from criticizing his Republican successor Donald Trump. “I am the first to acknowledge that I did not set the world on fire,” he told youthful activists at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts.

His audience but naturally was mainly college students with whom he discussed a key priority for his time after the White House—helping to inspire and prepare the next generation of civic leaders.

“I’m spending a lot of time thinking: What is the most important thing I can do for my next job?” Obama said. “And what I’m convinced of is that although there are all kinds of issues I care about and all kinds of issues I intend to work on, the single-most important thing I can do is to help, in any way I can, prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and take their own crack at changing the world.”

Mark Peters, News Director and Social Sciences Specialist at the University Communications said, Obama’s 90-minute discussion didn’t touch on current events. Instead, he spent most of the time asking questions of the young people, while talking about his own climb from community organizer to US president.

“I have been encouraged everywhere I go in the United States—but also everywhere around the world—to see how sharp and astute and tolerant and thoughtful and entrepreneurial our young people are,” Obama said. Chicago Sun Times reported that Obama appeared more relaxed, and he was nostalgic.