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Obama Foundation Announces Speakers for Upcoming Summit

October 23, 2019 at 11:02 AM CDT

Summit will bring together leaders from the Foundation’s programming around the world

Speakers will include President and Mrs. Obama, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, actors Billy Porter and Yara Shahidi, writer and director Lulu Wang; civil rights leader Dolores Huerta; and Foundation Program Leaders

CHICAGO, IL -- Today the Obama Foundation announced additional speakers for its third Obama Foundation Summit, which will be held at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago on October 28-29. The Summit will convene leaders from across the Foundation’s programs: Obama Foundation Fellows, Scholars, Africa Leaders, Community Leadership Corps members, and representatives of the Girls Opportunity Alliance and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance communities.

The theme of this year’s Summit is “Places Reveal Our Purpose.” The Summit will showcase the Foundation’s vision for the Obama Presidential Center and how it connects to a growing global network of leaders, rooted in the community-focused and community-organizing legacy of Chicago and embodied by President and Mrs. Obama.

“We’re hosting the Summit in our backyard, Chicago, the place the Obamas’ story began and the future home of the Obama Presidential Center and Museum,” said CEO David Simas. “By anchoring the Summit in the power of place, the Foundation will uplift the idea that a person’s community shapes their purpose and guides them to do meaningful and impactful work.”

In the morning session, Mrs. Obama and her brother, Craig Robinson, will be interviewed by journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson about how their upbringing in Chicago and the values their parents instilled in them have grounded their perspective on leadership and community.

In the afternoon session, President Obama will be interviewed by actress Yara Shahidi about how people around the world can bring about positive change in their communities.

Some of the speakers and special guests who will be at the Summit include:

  • President Barack Obama

  • First Lady Michelle Obama

  • Craig Robinson, basketball coach, executive and broadcaster

  • Ava DuVernay, writer, producer, director, and film distributor (Selma, 13th, A Wrinkle in Time, When They See Us)

  • Billy Porter, actor (Pose)

  • Yara Shahidi, actress (Black-ish, Grown-ish)

  • Lulu Wang, writer and director (The Farewell, Posthumous)

  • Isabel Wilkerson, journalist and author

  • Dolores Huerta, civil rights leader

  • Sarah Smarsh, journalist and author

  • Mavis Staples, musician

  • Jeff Tweedy, musician

  • Jaboukie Young-White, comedian and correspondent (The Daily Show with Trevor Noah)

  • Diallo Riddle, writer, producer (Marlon, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, South Side)

  • Bashir Salahuddin, actor, writer, comedian (GLOW, South Side)

  • Theaster Gates, artist

  • Obama Foundation Africa Leaders, Scholars, Fellows, and Community Leadership Corps participants, including Samira Koujok, Oscar Sanchez, and Simidele Adeagbo

  • Members of the Foundations’ Girls Opportunity Alliance and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance

Mainstage sessions will run at the following times and will be open to pre-credentialed media and available to watch via livestream at

  • Tuesday, October 29: 10:00 AM- 11:45 AM CT

  • Tuesday, October 29: 3:15 PM - 5:15 PM CT

Please direct all questions to [email protected].