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2018: Our Year


December 13, 2018

When we look back at 2018, we see all of you: emerging leaders who are embarking on journeys of change throughout the world; supporters who are helping us bring the Obama Presidential Center to life; and the millions of people who are following along, inspired to build a brighter future in their own communities. Take a look at our year in review, then tell us how you're committing to make your community a better place in 2019.

Our Year

President and Mrs. Obama joined their predecessors on the walls of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Get to know the artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald and watch highlights from the historic moment.

February 12, 2018

Watch: Unveiling of President and Mrs. Obama’s Portraits at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

Artists Kehinde Wiley of Brooklyn, New York, and Amy Sherald of Baltimore, Maryland, were selected to paint President Obama and Mrs. Obama respectively, becoming… More

We're creating a cultural destination in Jackson Park and an economic engine for the South Side and City of Chicago. See where we are now.

A young man learns how to tie a tie at the My Brother's Keeper Alliance Youth Opportunity Summit in Newark, New Jersey.

February 27, 2018

MBK Alliance Hosts Opportunity Summit in Newark, NJ

More than 500 Newark youth, including boys and young men of color, had the opportunity to interact and interview with employers, be hired on-the-spot, and other career training resources.

Our Community Commitments

We’re committed to ensuring that the community that has given so much to the Obamas benefits directly from the Obama Presidential Center. Check out the commitments and keep up with our progress+

March 17, 2018

President Obama’s Visit to Singapore

On Monday, March 19, President Obama met with a small group of emerging leaders from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries* to hear about… More

On Friday, March 23rd, President Obama met with a group of 20 Maori women from the Wahine Toa (Women Leaders) network in New Zealand.

MLK50: Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To honor the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s death, President Obama and Congressman John Lewis participated in a My Brother’s Keeper Alliance roundtable with students from Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Washington, D.C. President Obama, Congressman Lewis, and the students discussed Dr. King’s legacy and how his mission remains relevant in today’s world.

Barack Obama, dressed in a dark suit jacket, is turned away from the camera using his left hand to point to a painting on the wall in a hallway. Four young black men dressed in dark suit jackets and brown pants surround him on his right looking at the painting.

April 2, 2018

MLK50: Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

To honor the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s death, President Obama and Congressman John Lewis hosted a My Brother’s Keeper Alliance round table with students from Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Washington, D.C. See more from the day+

April 16, 2018

Announcing: The Inaugural Class of Obama Foundation Fellows

20,000 applications. 191 countries. 20 Fellows. Meet the class+

Conference attendees listen to one another's stories during the Obama Foundation Community Leadership Training Day in Oklahoma City on October 6, 2018

Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corps Kicks Off in Phoenix, Columbia, and Chicago

The Community Leadership Corps is a six-month program that brings together young people in Phoenix, AZ; Columbia, SC; and Chicago, IL to learn how to take on the biggest challenges they see in their local communities.  Explore the program+

A painting on a brown paper bag of a  smiling young girl with a light medium skin tone, long black hair, and braces. Beside it is another painting on a brown paper bag of a smiling young boy with a light medium skin tone and glasses holding a bunny

Happy Father's Day from the Obama Foundation! To celebrate dads across the country and around the world, we featured the heartwarming story of the lunch bag art Lynell Jinks draws for his children, Zelina and Izaac, to inspire them to reach their fullest potential. See the full story

Patterned square with a round Obama Foundation logo in the center that reads Leaders: Africa Johannesburg

See highlights from the Leaders: Africa convening in Johannesburg, South Africa right here.

July 18, 2018

President Obama Town Hall with Africa Leaders

President Obama joined the 200 Africa Leaders for a Town Hall that continued the conversation about what it means to be a global citizen and make an impact — and how the Obama Foundation can support their efforts.

Artist, actor, and activist Common talks to a man with a deep skin tone at a prison.

MBK Alliance Online Town Halls

Over the course of the year, MBK Alliance hosted online Town Halls to bring MBK Community Leaders around the country together to ask questions and to learn best practices from one another. Special guests included award-winning American hip-hop recording artist Common, Trayvon Martin Foundation founder and Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton, and former Secretary of Education and MBK Alliance Advisory Council Member Arne Duncan.

From Hope to History

We're launching a story collection archive to preserve your memories from 2008.

August 4, 2018

Share your memories from the 2008 election

From audio recordings, photos, and more, people from all over the world shared their memories from the 2008 election. Share yours now+

Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corps Bootcamps in Phoenix, Columbia, and Chicago

Halfway through the six-month program, Community Leadership Corps members gathered yet again—and brought two new friends with them—for in-person trainings and to provide updates on their community projects. Learn more about the program+

President Barack Obama talks with the inaugural class of Obama Scholars during their program kickoff retreat in Chicago, IL on Tuesday August 28, 2018

August 26, 2018

Scholars Orientation in Chicago

Obama Foundation Scholars from University of Chicago and Columbia University spent a week together with Foundation staff in Chicago for special programming, including a tour of the South Side of Chicago. See more+

See highlights from the Obama Foundation Scholars orientation in Chicago last month, and hear what President Obama has to say about the Scholars and the journey they’re embarking on at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and Columbia University.

President Obama stopped by the Obama Foundation office on the South Side of Chicago to talk about the future Obama Presidential Center with Chicagoans who have been involved in the process to bring the world-class museum to Jackson Park, and to thank them for their tireless efforts.

Participants pose for a portrait during the Obama Foundation Community Leadership Training Day in Oklahoma City on October 6, 2018.

Obama Foundation Community Leadership Training Days in Oakland, Dallas, and Oklahoma City

In one-and-a-half days, young people between the ages of 18 and 25 were exposed to the skills they’ll need to change their communities for the better. Get to know some of the young people who were in the room+

President Obama meets with 11 young leaders from around Europe to learn more about their work and to discuss how the Obama Foundation can help get young people engaged in their communities. Meet the young leaders.

Get involved with the Global Girls Alliance now. Learn more+

October 23, 2018

Stewarding President Obama’s Legacy in the Digital Age

An American presidency has a remarkably complex historical legacy. Every presidency is both public and personal and holds different meaning for different individuals… More

October 31, 2018

Chicago City Council Votes on Use Agreement

The Chicago City Council voted 48-0 to approve agreements between the City of Chicago and the Obama Foundation related to the Obama Presidential Center and Museum, the last step in the City’s approval process related to the Center. Read the full story+

“I see myself in these young people.”
- President Obama on the youth MBK Alliance communities impact every day
Young boys studying at NACA Inspired Schools

November 15, 2018

MBK Alliance Announces Community Competition Winners

Nineteen communities across the United States that are making steady progress to substantially improve the lives of boys and young men of color were selected as MBK Community Competition winners. Get to know the communities+

Though we may come from different backgrounds and hold different beliefs, we are all bound by a shared desire to build a better future for our communities.

November 15, 2018

Obama Foundation Programs Come Together in Chicago for Summit

From an MBK Alliance community gathering to the Community Leadership Corps Capstone event, to Fellows grabbing dinner with Scholars, program participants from across the country and around the world traveled to Chicago for our second Obama Foundation Summit. See highlights from the Summit+

The Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corps program is designed to empower and train young leaders to create the world they want to live in by working to address an issue in their community. After six months of trainings, boot camps, community building and more, program members from Chicago, Phoenix, and Dallas came together to celebrate and reflect on the work they accomplished over the course of the program at a capstone event in Chicago.

In this picture, President Obama wearing a black suit and gray shirt poses beside
a man with a light skin tone wearing a black suit and a white shirt, while smiling
 at the camera.

We asked Summit attendees to take portraits with each other and to share how they're building a better future. See the stories.

“There are few endeavors that are worthwhile that you can do by yourself.”
- President Obama at the Obama Foundation Summit