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Democracy Forum 2023

The 2023 Democracy Forum gathers experts, leaders, and young people for a day-long event focused on safeguarding democracy and exploring the impact of generative AI, deep fakes, misinformation, and social media's impact on mental well-being.

Alondra Nelson, a Black woman with a deep skin tone speaks on a panel alongside  Anna Makanju, Hany Farid, Raquel Vazquez Llorente, and Terah Lyons. All speakers are a range of light to deep skin tones and they sit on a stage. A screen behind them reads, “Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.”

About the 2023 Democracy Forum

As President Obama always says, the story of America is a story of progress, rooted in the great gift of our democracy—but we can’t afford to take either for granted. Both progress and our democracy itself are fragile. They depend on our constant engagement. And for all the true progress we have made together, there’s so much more we need to do to build an economy that’s fairer, a society that’s more just, a union that’s more perfect, and a democracy that not only weathers challenging times, but reflects changing ones. That’s why we’re bringing together leaders at this year's Forum who are focused on cultivating a healthier discourse, building a more inclusive economy, reinvigorating institutions to encourage active citizenship, and promoting democratic culture around the world.

Today, technology is poised to fundamentally transform how we work, communicate, and connect in American society—and once again, our democracy hangs in the balance. At this year's Democracy Forum, President Obama will join activists, thought leaders, and changemakers to discuss the challenges that innovations like AI pose to economic and social inclusion, and what we can do about it. After all, when it comes to our democratic future, there’s no sideline to sit on.

Highlights

President Obama stands behind a podium at the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum. The front of the podium reads, “Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.” A screen in the background says the same.

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President Obama stands behind a podium and speaks to an audience. A screen behind him reads, “Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.” He is wearing a black suit without a tie.

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President Obama stands behind a podium and speaks to an audience. Two clear teleprompters are in front of him. A screen behind him reads, “Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.” He is wearing a black suit without a tie.

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A Black woman with a deep skin tone stands in front of a board and writes on a sticker. She is wearing glasses and has curly brown locs. Her sticker reads, “collective resisting.”

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Three women with a range of light to medium skin tones sit in a crowd with their hand over their heart. Two of the women have their eyes closed. Others are out of focus in the background.

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A Black man with a deep skin tone stands in front of a sign that reads, “How can we strengthen trust in institutions?” He is speaking to a woman with a deep skin tone and no hair. She is wearing a blue blazer. He is wearing a white dashiki and multi-colored kufi.

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Jeremy Watson, a Black man with a light skin tone and no hair, stands center stage and speaks to a crowd. Behind him, sitting, are three other Black men with a range of light to medium skin tones. An Obama Foundation rising sun logo is in the background.

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Nancy Gibbs, a woman with a light skin tone, sits center stage alongside John Palfrey, a man with a light skin tone,  Sonal Shah, a woman with a medium skin tone, Darryl Holliday, a Black man with a deep skin tone and locs, and Judy Woodruff, a woman with a light skin tone and short brown hair. The screen behind them reads, “Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.”

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 DeMario Phipps-Smith, a Black man with a medium skin tone stands next to Peter Adams, a man with a light skin tone on a stage. The screen behind them reads, “Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.”

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Mandy Teefey, a woman with a light skin tone and short blonde hair speaks on a panel alongside Regina Hall, a Black woman with a medium skin tone. The screen behind them reads, “Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.”

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Regina Hall, a Black woman with a medium skin tone, moderates a panel alongside Mandy Teefey, a woman with a light skin tone and short blonde hair, Alex Smith, a man with a light skin tone and and Shani Tran, A Black woman with blue tipped braids. The screen behind them reads, “Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.”

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Chicago Mayor, Brandon Johnson, a Black man with a deep skin tone, stands behind a podium as he speaks to an audience. The front of the podium reads, “Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.”

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Valerie Jarrett, a Black woman with a light skin tone, stands behind a podium as she speaks to an audience. The front of the podium reads, “Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.”

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Democracy Forum host Baratunde Thurston, a Black man with a deep skin tone, stands on stage at the 2023 Obama Foundation Democracy Forum. He is wearing a gray suit.

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Valerie Jarrett sits on a panel alongside Maryland governor Wes Moore, a Black man with a medium skin tone and no hair, and Ian Bassin, a man with a light skin tone. The screen behind them reads, “Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.”

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uan Carlos Monterrey, a man with black hair and a medium skin tone, looks on attentively as he listens to speakers at the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.

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A Black woman with a deep skin tone smiles away from the camera. She is wearing a red sequin top and a hat that reads, “Obama, change we can believe in.”

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John Palfrey, a man with a light skin tone and thin brown hair sits on a panel at the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum. A sign behind him reads, “press forward.”

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Ellen Alberding, a woman with a light skin tone and short gray hair, holds a microphone to her mouth as she sits on a stage. The background is blue. She is wearing a burgundy jacket and glasses.

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Suzanne Nossel, a woman with a light skin tone and curly brown hair holds a microphone to her mouth as she sits on a stage. The background is blue. She is wearing a blue dress and glasses.

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Dance troupe, Black Girls Dance performs at the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum. Three dancers stretch their arms as they lean backward. They are wearing white leotards. The Obama Foundation rising sun logo is in the background.

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Alondra Nelson, a Black woman with a deep skin tone speaks on a panel alongside  Anna Makanju, Hany Farid, Raquel Vazquez Llorente, and Terah Lyons. All speakers are a range of light to deep skin tones and they sit on a stage. A screen behind them reads, “Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.”

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Brian Deese speaks on a panel alongside Mary Kay Henry, Chiedo Nwankwor, and Betsey Stevenson. All speakers are a range of light to deep skin tones and they sit on a stage. A screen behind them reads, “Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.

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Aleena Agarwal, an indian woman with a medium skin tone and short black hair stands behind a podium with two clear teleprompters in front of her. The front of the podium reads, “Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.” A screen in the background says the same.

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President Obama’s Remarks

Read President Obama’s Remarks at the 2023 Democracy Forum

Learn More

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Speakers

Agenda

President Obama stands on stage wearing a dark suit and a white button down. He claps towards his right gesturing to four young people with various skin tones wearing business attire. They are also clapping and smiling while gesturing toward President Obama. Behind them, gray wing-backed chairs and a blue and green backdrop with the Obama rising sun logo.

Take a look back at the 2022 Democracy Forum

At the first-ever Obama Foundation Democracy Forum in New York City, President Obama delivered remarks on how we can preserve and strengthen democracy around the world. He then joined global leaders and changemakers to hear their perspectives and learn the work they're doing to expand democracy.

See the highlights

Sponsors

A graphic compilation of logos representing, from left to right, top to bottom: The Parker Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Knight Foundation, and Sachs Family Foundation. Between each logo is a diamond-shaped bullet point.