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The Obama Foundation Democracy Forum


October 7, 2022
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Watch highlights from our first-ever Democracy Forum. You can read President Obama's full remarks here Opens in a new tab .

Event Updates

At the first-ever Obama Foundation Democracy Forum in New York City on November 17, 2022, President Obama delivered remarks on how we can preserve and strengthen democracy around the world. He then joined leaders Doussouba Konaté, Natalia Herbst, Landisang Kotaro, and Nick Antipov to hear their perspectives and the work they're doing to expand democracy.

President Obama stands behind a podium as he speaks at the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum. The president wears a black suit and white collared shirt. In the background is a blue, green, and yellow gradient graphic that reads, “Democracy Forum.”

“I believe those of us who believe in democracy have to acknowledge the anxieties and frustrations that rapid economic, cultural and demographic changes have brought. We have to find a language, a story, of how we can affirm the best of traditional values, create a space for our differences, while insisting that our politics and governmental institutions uphold the over-arching principles of equality for all people.” —President Obama ,

A man with light skin with warm undertones sits in a comfy grey chair in front of a huge sunset gradient of the Obama Foundation logo. He has tossled black wavy hair, a taper cut, a standard beard and mustache, and nose and ear circular piercings. He is wearing a bugandy collared jacket, with a beige turtle neck. He is holding a mic and saying something.

“I am longing for democracy in Belarus. I’m continuously helping my community and LGBT+ activists to empower themselves and build their capacity to continue [their activism].” —Nick Antipov, Belarus, Europe Leader 2020

A photo of President Obama and a woman sitting in a grey comfy chairs on a stage. They sit infornt of a sky blue colored wall that has a portion of the Obama Foundation logo showing on the left. President Obama has a classic black suit, white button up, black socks, and black shoes on. The woman has light-medium skin tone, long brown hair, a green jacket, with a black jumpsuit underneath. She is holding a microphone down by her thigh while laughing with President Obama. Presidnet Obama is lightly laughing preparing to speak into his mic.

“An unintended effect of democracy has been an experience of civic engagement. Civic engagement represents a way of activism, self assertion, and reassures values in underserved communities. This means that inequality is not only affecting opportunities, but also how young people experience democracy and its institutions.” —Natalia Herbst, Argentina, Columbia University Scholar

A woman with deep skin tone and long wavy hair talks into a mic. She is sitting in a comfortable grey chair. She is wearing a yellow jacket dress with patterns running down the sleeves.

“The youth is expecting a generation of leaders that will step up, work with integrity, and make sure people have access to basic needs," Konaté said. "We have to change our community, our region, and our continent, nobody will do it for us.” —Doussouba Konaté, Mali, Africa Leader

A man with deep skin stands at a podium on stage giving a speech. In the background are blue curtains and a blue wall with the Obama Foundation logo. The man is wearing a dark blue suit, white button up, yellow tie, and black shoes. Infront of the podium is a sign that reads "Obama Foundation Democracy Forum."

Gift Ostallos introduced President Obama

Today, Gift Ostallos, the national deputy spokesperson for the Citizens Coalition for Change, introduced President Obama at the Obama Foundation’s first-ever Democracy Forum. Read more

Two men sit on a grey carpet stage sitting in comfertable grey chairs. The man on the left has light skin and is bald on the top with greyish brown hair on the sides. He is wearing a suit with a white button up, black shoes, and no tie. He is engaging in a conversation with the man on the right. This man has medium-deep skin, slick black hair, a dark blue suit, white button up, spotted yellow tie, and black shoes. Coming from behind his ear is a small microphone.

Panel: Toward a More Inclusive Capitalism

“If you want to have a multi-racial, multi-ethnic democracy, people need to feel that their work has dignity and they have opportunity, economically. If you don’t have that, you’ll have despair, resentment, malaise and polarization.” —Rep. Ro Khanna, House of Representatives (D-California)

A middle aged man with medium-deep skin who has fairly short slick black hair. He has a navy suit on, with a white button up underneath. He has a mic coming behind his right ear and is giving a speech. In the background is a light blue and dark blue gradient with a Obama Foundation logo off to the left side.

Lightning Talk: Climate-Proofing Democracy

“If we want to strengthen and climate-proof democracy, we must tear down barriers for the involvement of capable young leaders in decision-making. The ultimate outcome of the climate crisis is the complete collapse of our governance systems, propelled by food and water wars. The ultimate outcome of the climate crisis is the collapse of democracy itself.” –Juan Carlos Monterrey Gómez, UChicago Scholar

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“Democracy is about understanding and exercising the right to take action, to be heard, and to change the conditions of your existence.” –Peggy Shepard, WE ACT for Economic Justice

A middle aged man with light skin with warm under under tones, short slick black hair stands giving a speech. He has a mic attached coming behind his right ear. He has a polo shirt with waves, an apple watch on his left wrist, a black belt on, and grey pants. The background is a blurred light blue wall.

“We are taking Hope to Action to end the interruption in our sustainable existence. We take lessons from our ancient past, innovate in the present, and navigate forward to a sustainable future.” –Dr. Austin J. Shelton, Director, University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant

A group of four people sitting down on gray chairs with small microphones  
connected to their ears, appear to be engaging in a meeting together. The
 Obama Foundation logo appears on a blue background in white text.

Panel: Pluralism, Identity, and Democracy

“History is used to understand our worst failings in the past in order to successfully navigate around them in the present and the future.” –Jelani Cobb, Professor of Journalism, Columbia University.

A older man with light skin, black and grey short straight hair coming partly over his forehead, glasses, and a mic coming around his right ear stands on a black stage giving a speech. He is wearing a navy blue suit, with a white button up underneath, brown belt, a blue tie with a brick texture pattern, and brown shows. He has a satisfied smile on his face as during his speech. Behind him is a light blue and dark blue gradient with the Obama foundation logo blurred in the background.

Lightning Talk: Lessons from New York and Chicago

“Effective government focuses our attention on the government's capacity to solve problems that the public expects them to solve. It concerns whether the government actually delivers on the promises it makes, whether it materially attends to the problems put before it.” –Will Howell, Founder and director of the University of Chicago Center for Effective Government

A man with a deep skin tone has a small brown mic connected to his ear. He 
wears a gray and red striped suit with a white buttoned shirt underneath. The 
background is solid light blue.

“A functional democracy requires informed citizens to think, decide, participate, and have faith in the system. But when injustice and inequity in the system predictably produces winners and losers—often by race, and zip code—people lose hope and democracy is weakened.” –Dr. Anael Alston, Assistant Commissioner, NY State Department of Education

Susan Sabano smiles next to a cocktail table and in front of a painting of an African woman with a harp in hand, orange head wrap and a gold and white patterned garb. Sabano has a deep skin tone and is wearing a pink and gray floral patterned dress.

Adversity to Advocacy

Meet Obama Foundation Leader Susan Sabano, and learn more about her fight for people living with cerebral palsy in Uganda.

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Lightning Talk: Youth and the Future of Democracy

“When we measure the health of democracy, I am going to ask all of us to not only consider are we able to vote, do we have access to accurate information, are we able to disagree without demonizing the other side, but to also ask are we building a multi-racial democracy that will better the lives of young Latinx people; that will protect young trans people, and that will provide opportunities for young white workers who find themselves trapped in the gig economy." –Cathy Cohen, Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago

This Picture shows a lady with a medium-deep skin tone and dark shoulder 
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Lightning Talk: Dismantling Hate in the Digital Age

“Human relationships have the power to stop violence. So if we are going to stand any chance at dismantling hate, we can’t simply moderate the problem away. Let’s exploit what makes the internet so powerful, its ability to foster human connections across divides.” –Vidhya Ramalingam, CEO Moonshot, Obama Europe Leader

A diptych shows Vidhya Ramalingam looking to camera on the left, and the right shows Bjorn looking to camera on the left with his arms crossed wearing a patterned fisherman's sweater.

Democracy in Action

Meet two Obama Leaders who are working together to interrupt violent extremism.

A group of four people sitting down on gray chairs with small microphones  
connected to their ears, appear to be engaging in a meeting together.
The Obama Foundation logo appears on two screens on a blue background
 in white text.

Panel: Tackling Disinformation, Protecting Democracy

“The role of the journalist is to verify information, provide a critical source of information to ensure that once a politician, someone else in power, or a regular person on the street says something we can say this is true or this is not true." –Nikole Hannah-Jones, Howard University

If we want to strengthen democracy, we also have to think about the economy. Ahead of the Democracy Forum, we sat down with Austan Goolsbee, former Chairman of Council of Economic Advisors for President Obama and current University of Chicago economics professor, to talk about what inclusive capitalism means and why it’s important for building healthy, sustainable democracies.

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12:35PM ET | Welcome Obama Foundation leadership, alongside partners Columbia University and University of Chicago, welcome guests to the Forum.


  • Lee C. Bollinger, President, Columbia University

  • Dr. Paul Alivisatos, President, University of Chicago

  • Valerie Jarrett, CEO, Obama Foundation

12:45PM ET | Panel: Tackling Disinformation, Protecting Democracy


  • Renee DiResta, Stanford Internet Observatory (moderator)

  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, Howard University

  • Anil Dash, CEO, Glitch

  • Zeynep Tufekci, Craig Newmark Professor of Journalism and Director of the Craig Newmark Center for Journalism Ethics and Security

  • Leni Robredo, 14th Vice President of the Philippines

1:45PM ET | Lightning Talk: Dismantling Hate in the Digital Age


1:50PM ET | Lightning Talk: Youth and the Future of Democracy


  • Cathy Cohen, Professor of Political Science, UChicago

1:55PM ET | Lightning Talk: Lessons from New York and Chicago


  • Will Howell, Founder and director of UofC Center for Effective Government, UChicago

  • Dr. Anael Alston, Assistant Commissioner, NY State Dept of Education

2:25PM ET | Fireside Chat: Embracing a Culture of Democracy

A conversation on the benefits of a democratic culture, and the importance of demonstrating democracy’s value again and again.


  • Ben Rhodes, Former Deputy National Security Advisor, Obama Administration

  • Alex Soros, Deputy Chair, Open Society Foundations

2:35PM ET | Panel: Pluralism, Identity, and Democracy

With polarization increasing in democracies across the globe, how can leaders across sectors work to advance a sense of belonging, resiliency, and connection among disparate groups within communities and nations? As societies become more diverse, what are the tools, resources, and policies that can help us break through the limitations of identity politics and build a unifying political identity rooted in our common values?


  • Jelani Cobb, Professor of Journalism, Columbia University

  • Tabata Amaral, representative, lower house, National Congress of Brazil

  • Jana Kobzova, foreign policy advisor to Slovak President Zuzana Caputova

    (Due to the missile strike in Poland this week, Jana Kobzova, Foreign Policy Adviser to the President of Slovakia Zuzana Čaputová, is no longer able to participate in the program.)

  • Yascha Mounk, writer and academic

  • Ben Rhodes, moderator

3:30PM ET | Lightning Talks: Democracy and Climate Change


  • Juan Carlos Monterrey Gómez UChicago Scholar (Panama)

  • Peggy Shepard, We Act for Economic Justice (Harlem)

  • Dr. Austin J. Shelton, Director, University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant and Steering Committee Co-Chair of Guam Green Growth

4:15PM ET | Panel: Toward a More Inclusive Capitalism

A conversation on the resources and approaches at hand to build more inclusive economies—making sure every person from every walk of life has a fair shot and can participate fully in their democracy.


  • Austan Goolsbee, Professor, University of Chicago (moderator)

  • Rep. Ro Khanna, House of Representatives (D-California)

  • Dr. Dambisa Moyo, author, “Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy is Failing To Deliver Economic Growth – And How to Fix It”

  • Mariana Mazzucato, Professor UCL, and author of Mission Economy: a moonshot guide to changing capitalism

5:10PM ET | President Obama in Conversation with Obama Foundation Leaders

President Obama gives remarks on the state of democracy around the world and the importance of a new generation of leaders to safeguard institutions and build a more sustainable future. He then joins a conversation with emerging Obama Foundation leaders from across the globe.


Dr. Paul Alivisato smiles as he looks at the camera. He has a light skin tone, gray hair, and rectangular glasses. He is wearing a black suit with a purple tie.

Dr. Paul Alivisatos

14th President, University of Chicago

A celebrated chemist and accomplished administrator, Paul Alivisatos became the 14th president of the University of Chicago on September 1, 2021. As President of the University, Alivisatos serves as Chair of the Board of Governors of Argonne National Laboratory and Chair of the Board of Directors of Fermi Research Alliance LLC, the operator of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He is also the John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Chemistry, the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, and the College. Alivisatos previously served as the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost (EVCP) of the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to his role as EVCP, Alivisatos was the Samsung Distinguished Professor of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, founding Director of the Kavli Energy Nanoscience Institute, and from 2009-2016 served as Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). A member of Berkeley’s faculty from 1988-2021, he held professorships in the departments of chemistry and materials science, and served in several administrative roles, including Vice Chancellor for Research.

Dr. Anael Alston smiles at the camera. He has a medium deep skin tone and a low haircut. He is wearing a gray pinstripe suit with a burgundy tie.

Dr. Anael Alston

Assistant Commissioner, Office of Access, Equity, and Community Engagement in the New York State Education Department

Born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn, Dr. Anael Alston “Dr. A” is currently the Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Access, Equity, and Community Engagement in the New York State Education Department. In this capacity, he informs educational policy across the state and administers nearly $200 million dollars to help support students across New York State from pre-Kindergarten through college. This includes oversight and management of the historic New York State My Brother’s Keeper movement to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color created by President Obama. Under his watch, with a talented team, hundreds of thousands of young men of color are given opportunities, insights, strategies, and support to improve their school and life outcomes.

Tabata Amaral smiles big at the camera. She has a medium skin tone and shoulder length brown hair. She is wearing a burgundy lipstick and a white collared blouse.

Tabata Amaral

Brazilian Congresswoman

Tabata Amaral grew up in Vila Missionária, on the outskirts of São Paulo. During high school, she represented Brazil in five international science Olympics. She graduated in Political Science and Astrophysics from Harvard University, with a full scholarship. She is an activist for education and cofounder of VOA! Project and the movements Mapa Educação, Acredito, and Vamos Juntas. In 2018, when she was 24 years old, she ran for a seat at the Brazilian House of Representatives. She was the sixth most voted person in São Paulo and the second most voted woman in Brazil. In her first year in office, she received the Congress in Focus Award for best representative in the House. She was also elected one of the 100 young leaders who are changing the world by Time Magazine and one of the 100 most influential women in the world by the BBC. In 2022, Tabata Amaral was reelected with 337,873 votes, becoming the most voted progressive woman in Brazil.

Head profile photo of a man with light skin, medium length, yet short in volume, straight brown hair. He has a normal beard and mustache, nose loop earing, and earing on his left ear. His face is framed by a white border that forms a circle.

Nick Antipov

Co-Founder of MAKEOUT

Nick is the Co-Founder of MAKEOUT, an antidiscrimination project empowering the LGBTQ community in Belarus, and co-founder of ICanHelp.Host, a solidarity platform to provide free accommodation within Europe and beyond for Ukrainians who fled the war. He fled Belarus because his life and personal safety were at risk there. As a political exile in Berlin, Nick continues to assist and strengthen LGBTQ activists in cities across Belarus. Nick is passionate about empowering communities that face discrimination and believes in their creative potential to change the world.

President Lee C. Bollinger smiles at the camera with his hands folded. He has short gray hair and a light skin tone. He is wearing a light blue dress shirt and navy tie.

President Lee C. Bollinger

19th President, Columbia University

President Lee C. Bollinger became Columbia University’s 19th president in 2002 and is the longest serving Ivy League president. Under his leadership, Columbia is redefining what it means to be a great research university in the 21st century, distinguished by comprehensive academic excellence, an innovative and sustainable approach to global engagement, two of the largest capital campaigns in the history of higher education, and the institution’s most ambitious campus expansion in over a century.

Jelani Cobb smiles to camera. He has a deep skin tone and sports a regal bald hairstyle. He is wearing a black suit with a camel colored sweater.

Jelani Cobb

Dean of the Columbia Journalism School

Jelani Cobb joined the Columbia Journalism School faculty in 2016. He has contributed to The New Yorker since 2012, and became a staff writer in 2015. He is the recipient of the 2015 Sidney Hillman Award for Opinion and Analysis writing and writes frequently about race, politics, history and culture. He was most recently an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Africana Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut where he specialized in post-Civil War African American history, 20th century American politics and the history of the Cold War.

Cathy Cohen clasps both hands under her chin as she smiles into the camera. She has a medium deep skin tone and is wearing black glasses and a black turtleneck.

Cathy Cohen

Authour, Mary Winton Green Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago

Cathy J. Cohen is the David and Mary Winton Green Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago. She formerly served in numerous administrative positions, including chair of the Department of Political Science, director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture and deputy provost for Graduate Education at the University of Chicago.

Anil Dash has a closed-lip grin. He has a medium dark skin tone and a short salt and pepper hair and beard. He is wearing a white polka dot collared shirt.

Anil Dash

Head of Glitch and VP of Developer Experience at Fastly

Anil Dash leads the team behind Glitch, the friendly developer community where coders have collaborated to create and share millions of web apps, serving as CEO of Glitch until its acquisition by Fastly. Honored by the Webby Awards with its lifetime achievement award in 2022, Dash is recognized as a leading advocate for more humane, inclusive and ethical technology through his work as an entrepreneur, activist and writer.

Renee DiResta smiles at the camera. She has a medium skin tone and shoulder length brunette hair. She is wearing a black top with a clear beaded necklace.

Renee DiResta

Technical Research Manager at Stanford Internet Observatory

Renée DiResta is the technical research manager at Stanford Internet Observatory, a cross-disciplinary program of research, teaching and policy engagement for the study of abuse in current information technologies. Renee investigates the spread of narratives across social and media networks, with an interest in understanding how platform algorithms and affordances intersect with user behavior and factional crowd dynamics. She studies how actors leverage the information ecosystem to exert influence, from domestic activists promoting health misinformation and conspiracy theories, to the full-spectrum information operations executed by state actors.

Juan Carlos Monterrey Gómez smiles at the camera. He is of medium skin tone and has short black hair. He is wearing a blue multicolored plaid shirt.

Juan Carlos Monterrey Gomez

Director of Geoversity’s School for Biocultural Leadership

Juan Carlos is the Director of Geoversity’s School for Biocultural Leadership and served as vice chair for the implementation of the UN Climate Convention for 2022. He previously served as lead climate negotiator for Panama, chair of the Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC) and co-coordinator of the ambition agenda for AILAC and the Cartagena Dialogue. At COP26, he led the youngest delegation in history to represent a country at the UN Climate Negotiations. His work is informed by his upbringing in El Pájaro de Pesé, a rural community in Panama’s Dry Corridor. He is the founder of Climate Resilient, a policy think tank based in the Dominican Republic, and has vast experience on climate transparency, carbon markets and nature-based solutions.

Monterrey Gómez co-authored the executive decrees that established the national carbon market of Panama and the national low-emissions development and climate transparency program. He was a core member of the teams tasked with the development of the 2016 Panamanian Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and its 2020 update. At 22, Juan Carlos was the youngest deputy head of a country delegation in 2015 during negotiations of the Paris Agreement. He is a member of the inaugural class of Obama Foundation Scholars and currently coordinates a World Bank technical assistance to support the implementation of the national carbon market in Panama.

Austan Goolsbee smiles big at the camera. He has a light skin tone and thin brown hair. He is wearing a black suit, blue collared shirt and a red tie.

Austan Goolsbee

Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics, University of Chicago

Austan D. Goolsbee is the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago. He previously served in Washington as the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and a member of President Obama’s cabinet. His research has earned him recognition as a Fulbright Scholar and an Alfred P. Sloan fellow. In prior years he was named one of the 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum, and one of the six “Gurus of the Future” by the Financial Times. His ability to explain economics clearly has made Goolsbee popular in the media. Jon Stewart describes him as “Eliot Ness meets Milton Friedman” and he has twice been named as a “star” professor by BusinessWeek’s “Guide to the Best Business Schools.” Goolsbee serves on the Economic Advisory Panel to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and has previously served on the Panel of Economic Advisors to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. Census Advisory Commission and as a special consultant for Internet Policy to the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. He joined Chicago Booth in 1995.

Nikole Hannah-Jones holds a closed-lip smile. She has a medium skin tone and bright red curly hair. She is wearing a black and white top.

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Investigative Reporter

Nikole Hannah-Jones is the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project and a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine. She has spent her career investigating racial inequality and injustice, and her reporting has earned her the MacArthur Fellowship, known as the Genius grant, a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards and the National Magazine Award three times. Hannah-Jones also earned the John Chancellor Award for Distinguished Journalism and was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists and the Newswomen’s Club of New York. In 2020 she was inducted into the Society of American Historians and in 2021, into the North Carolina Media Hall of Fame. Nikole was named as one of the Most Influential People in 2021 by Time Magazine. In 2016, Hannah-Jones co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, which seeks to increase the number of reporters and editors of color. She holds a Master of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina and earned her Bachelor of Arts in History and African-American studies from the University of Notre Dame. Hannah-Jones is the Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University, where she has founded the Center for Journalism & Democracy.

Natalia Herbst smiles at the camera. She has long black hair and a light skin tone. She is wearing tortoise glasses and pink lipstick.

Natalia Herbst

Strategy Advisor at the Government of the City of Buenos Aires

Natalia Herbst is an Obama Scholar alumni who has over 10 years of experience in government at the local and national levels. She currently serves as Strategy Advisor at the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a focus on innovations for civic engagement and democracy. Her previous work focused on developing youth-centered public policy focused on social inclusion, sexual and reproductive health and rights, culture and employability, and environmental sustainability so that young people are empowered to define their own goals and reach their full potential, impacting over 1.5 million youth across the country. She served as a Senior Advisor on youth engagement to the Minister of Public Space and Urban Hygiene of the City of Buenos Aires, as National Director for Community Organizations at the National Youth Institute of Argentina, as an international consultant at Making All Voices Count, and as an advisor on diversity and inclusion policies at the Secretary of Citizen Development under the Deputy Chief of Government in Buenos Aires. Natalia received her bachelor’s degree in international studies from Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, her master’s degree in development studies from IDS-University of Sussex, and was a 2019-2020 Obama Foundation Scholar at Columbia University. She is also a JICA and Fulbright alumna.

Will Howell has a closed-lip grin. He has a light skin tone and short brown hair. He is wearing a blue suit and plaid blue tie.

Will Howell

Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics, University of Chicago

William Howell is the Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, a professor in the Department of Political Science and the College, and the director of the Center for Effective Government. He has written widely on separation-of-powers issues and American political institutions, especially the presidency. He currently is working on research projects on Obama’s education initiatives, distributive politics, and the normative foundations of executive power. Howell is the author, most recently, of Presidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 2020).

Valerie Jarrett has a soft, closed-lip smile. She has a light skin tone and short reddish brown hair. She is wearing red glasses and red lipstick.

Valerie Jarrett

Chief Executive Officer, The Barack Obama Foundation

Valerie Jarrett is Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of the Barack Obama Foundation. She is also a Senior Distinguished Fellow at The University of Chicago Law School. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling book Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward, published in April 2019. She serves as Board Chairman of Civic Nation and Co-Chair of The United State of Women. Jarrett serves on the boards of Walgreens Boot Alliance, Inc., Ralph Lauren Corporation, Lyft, Inc., Sweetgreen, Ariel Investments, The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Sesame Street Workshop and the Economic Club of Chicago. Jarrett also serves on the Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women Advisory Board member.

A man with a medium skin tone and short brown hair is smiling toward the camera with the American
flag behind him.

Representative Ro Khanna

U.S. Representative, California’s 17th congressional district

Representative Ro Khanna is a leading voice in the House working to democratize the digital economy, bring advanced manufacturing jobs to factory towns, and advance U.S. leadership on climate, human rights, and diplomacy around the world. Khanna proudly represents California’s 17th Congressional District, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, and is serving in his third term. He sits on the House Agriculture, Armed Services, and Oversight and Reform committees, where he chairs the Environmental Subcommittee. Khanna is also the Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus; serves as an Assistant Whip for the Democratic Caucus and is the Democratic Vice Chair of the House Caucus on India and Indian Americans.

In a black and white photo, Jana Kobzova smiles at the camera. She has short dark brown hair and a light skin tone.

Jana Kobzova

Foreign Policy Adviser to the President of Slovakia Zuzana Čaputová

Jana Kobzova is a foreign policy adviser to the President of Slovakia Zuzana Čaputová. Until summer 2019, she worked as the policy director at Rasmussen Global, where she oversaw international policy and advocacy projects and advised the Transatlantic Commission on Elections Integrity, a high-level group of political leaders founded to address foreign interference in democratic processes. She also worked for the Brussels-based European Endowment for Democracy, where she developed and oversaw the EED grant making in Eastern Europe with a focus on Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus. Prior to that, Kobzova was a policy fellow and coordinator of the Wider Europe programme at the London office of the European Council on Foreign Relations think-tank, writing analyses and managing ECFR advocacy efforts on Eastern Europe. Before that, she led the Belarus democratization programme at the Pontis Foundation in Slovakia. She has co-authored several books and reports on EU policy-making, Eastern Europe and democratization processes in the region.

Doussouba Konaté has a closed-lip smile. She has a deep skin tone and black individual braids. She is wearing a blue top and silver necklace.

Doussouba Konaté

Head of the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning department at Accountability Lab Mali

As the Country Director at Accountability Lab Mali, Doussouba Konaté is catalyzing a new generation of active citizens and responsible leaders to develop and implement positive ideas for integrity. Mali has faced a multidimensional crisis since the 2012 coup d’état and so this work is timeous and important. The weakness of the government has allowed the occupation of terrorists and rebel groups in Northern Mali. In this kind of context, it is extremely important to return to the local populations who have been impacted by this conflict, to elevate their voices and support them in contributing to the national dialogue. Accountability Lab’s Civic Action Teams program works to strengthen community dialogue and feedback processes to ensure accountability in development cycles. Accountability Lab works with communities to co-create solutions to different challenges including misinformation, youth development concerns and peace efforts. Community bulletins and other advocacy work then informs decision-making at different levels to create policies that are better adapted to the needs of the population. Konaté is an Obama Foundation Leader and Feedback Labs Fellow.

Landisang Kotaro smiles big at the camera. She has a medium skin tone and curly brown hair. She is wearing a blazer with a black and white striped top. On her neck is an orange and yellow beaded necklace.

Landisang Kotaro

Chief of Staff, Office of the President of the Republic of Palau

Landisang Kotaro is the chief of staff at the Office of the President of the Republic of Palau. She is the youngest and first female to serve in this role. Prior to her work at the Office of the President, Landisang worked as a senior legal researcher and committee advisor at the House of Delegates of Palau. There, she worked closely with state governments to help them strengthen their organizational structures, grow civic engagement in policy debate, and ensure adequate representation of interests and concerns of constituents. She also served as a United Nations representative for Palau in matters relating to the ocean and law of the sea. She is passionate about steering Palau through the challenges of being a new democracy, and she is committed to being a part of continued change.

Mariana Mazzucato has a closed-lip smile. She has a light skin tone and short brown hair. She is wearing a blue top and an orange beaded necklace.

Mariana Mazzucato

Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value, University College London

Mariana Mazzucato (PhD) is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), where she is Founding Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP). She is winner of international prizes including the Grande Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana in 2021, Italy’s highest civilian honour, the 2020 John von Neumann Award, the 2019 All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values, and 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. She was named as one of the ‘3 most important thinkers about innovation’ by The New Republic, one of the 50 most creative people in business in 2020 by Fast Company, and one of the 25 leaders shaping the future of capitalism by WIRED. She is the author of three highly-acclaimed books: The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths (2013), The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy (2018) and most recently Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism (2021). She advises policymakers around the world on innovation-led inclusive and sustainable growth. Her current roles include being Chair of the World Health Organization’s Economic Council on Health for All and a member of the South African President’s Economic Advisory Council, the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisors, and the United Nations High-level Advisory Board (HLAB) on Economic and Social Affairs, among others.

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Yascha Mounk


Yascha Mounk is a writer and academic known for his work on the crisis of democracy and the defense of philosophically liberal values. Born in Germany to Polish parents, Yascha received his BA in History from Trinity College Cambridge and his PhD in Government from Harvard University. He is an Associate Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University, where he holds appointments in both the School of Advanced International Studies and the SNF Agora Institute.

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Dr. Dambisa Moyo

Economist, Author

Baroness Moyo of Knightsbridge sits in the House of Lords of the United Kingdom. She is a principal of Versaca Investments – a family office focused on growth investing globally. She also serves on a number of global corporate boards including: 3M Corporation, Chevron, and Conde Nast, as well as, the Oxford University Endowment investment committee. Her areas of interest are capital allocation, risk, and ESG matters. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from Oxford University and a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Dambisa was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, and is the recipient of the Friedrich von Hayek Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also named to Oprah Winfrey’s O’s First-Ever Power List (2009). Dambisa has published in the Financial Times, WSJ Barrons, and Harvard Business review, has traveled to over 70 countries during her career speaking at conferences including the World Economic Forum in Davos, Bilderberg, TED, World Bank. Dambisa is the author of five (5) bestselling books on the global macroeconomy and geopolitics, namely: How Boards Work And How They Can Work Better in a Chaotic World (2021); Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth and How to Fix It (2018); Winner Take All: China’s race for Resources and What it Means for the World (2012); How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly and the Stark Choices Ahead (2011); and Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa (2009).

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Vidhya Ramalingam

Founder and CEO of Moonshot

Vidhya Ramalingam is Founder and CEO of Moonshot, a company working to end online harms using evidence, ethics and human rights. Under her leadership, Moonshot has pioneered new partnerships with tech companies to respond to hate and violent extremism on their platforms, online intervention programs to pull individuals out of violent movements, and the use of automated messaging to disrupt hate groups online. In 2022, Moonshot was named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. Vidhya is also recognized internationally for her role leading policy responses to white supremacist extremism and terrorism. Following the 2011 attacks in Norway, she led the European Union’s first inter-governmental initiative on white supremacist terrorism and extremism, initiated by the Governments of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands, and launched by the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs. She regularly advises Big Tech and Heads of State on tackling white supremacy online, including recently the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Norway. She regularly testifies before the U.S. Congress and Canadian Parliament on the global threat posed by white supremacist terrorism. Vidhya currently serves on the Board of Life After Hate, an organization set up by former white supremacists to help individuals leave hate groups and in 2020, she was named an Obama Leader by the Obama Foundation.

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Ben Rhodes

Writer, Political Commentator, and National Security Analyst

Ben Rhodes is a writer, political commentator, and national security analyst. He is currently a contributor for NBC News and MSNBC; co-host of Pod Save the World; a senior advisor to former President Barack Obama; and chair of National Security Action, which he co-founded with Jake Sullivan in 2018. From 2009-2017, Ben served as a Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. In that capacity, he participated in all of President Obama’s key decisions, and oversaw the President’s national security communications, speechwriting, and public diplomacy. He led the secret negotiations with the Cuban government that resulted in the effort to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba, and supported the negotiations to conclude the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran.

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Leni Robredo

14th Vice President of the Philippines

Leni Robredo was the 14th Vice President of the Philippines, serving from 2016 to 2022. During her term, she reinvented the Office of the Vice President from a purely ceremonial one into an advocacy centered office, instituting poverty alleviation programs all over the country, focusing on programs on education, health, nutrition and food security, rural development, women empowerment and housing and resettlement. She was able to do this by focusing on the value of collaboration, private-public partnerships and capacity building of the different stakeholders. The kind of leadership she has long believed in – ethical, empowering, efficient and inclusive – was further highlighted during the pandemic when the Office of the Vice President, under her helm, was in the forefront of Covid Response Operations.

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Dr. Austin J. Shelton

Director, University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant and Steering Committee Co-Chair of Guam Green Growth

Dr. Austin J. Shelton is a marine and environmental scientist, serving as an associate professor and the director of the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant. Shelton is an Obama Leader Asia Pacific and one of 50 Under 40: Emerging Leaders in the Government of Guam. Shelton is working to revive island ecosystems and advance the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. He is the steering committee co-chair of Guam Green Growth (G3), the island’s most comprehensive public-private partnership ever created to achieve a sustainable and prosperous future. Shelton is a native of Guam who grew up observing environmental degradation and was inspired to become a marine and environmental scientist. He now conducts research to revive island ecosystems and builds STEM capacity in Pacific Islander communities through the coordination of student research experiences and science fairs. Shelton earned a B.S. degree in marine biology from Hawaiʻi Pacific University and both an M.S. and Ph.D. in zoology with a specialization in marine biology from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

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Peggy Shepard

Co-founder and Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice

Peggy Shepard is co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice and has a long history of organizing and engaging Northern Manhattan residents in community-based planning and campaigns to address environmental protection and environmental health policy locally and nationally. She has successfully combined grassroots organizing, environmental advocacy, and environmental health community-based participatory research to become a national leader in advancing environmental policy and the perspective of environmental justice in urban communities — to ensure that the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment extends to all.

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Gift Ostallos Siziba

Citizens Coalition for Change

Gift Ostallos Siziba is the national deputy spokesperson for the Citizens Coalition for Change, a Zimbabwean political party founded in January 2022. He is passionate about educating young people about key national issues so they remain informed politically and ideologically. Gift believes that the call for justice and equality is at the center of community mobilization and is inspired by movements that unite communities around a clear program of action, such as #BlackLivesMatter and #ZimbabweLivesMatter. He is currently leading the #OneMil.

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Alex Soros

Deputy Chair of the Open Society Foundations

Alex Soros is the deputy chair of the Open Society Foundations. He is the founding chair of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, and sits on the boards of Bard College, the Center for Jewish History, Central European University, the European Council on Foreign Relations, and International Crisis Group. Soros’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the New York Daily News, Reuters, and Politico, among other publications. Soros graduated from New York University in 2009 with a BA in history and received his PhD in 2018 from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and the Humanities at Bard College, an honorary fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Central European University in Budapest, and a visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.

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