On President Obama’s 59th birthday, see how he has spent his time following his presidency inspiring the next generation of leaders. From Chicago to Amsterdam, these are some of our favorite Obama Foundation moments:
Guoda Lomanaite, Vilnius, Lithuania
It’s important to us—and to President Obama—that we take time to sit down with emerging leaders to better understand their needs as they carry forward the hard work of change in their respective fields. In September 2018, President Obama met with Guoda Lomanaite and ten other emerging leaders in a roundtable discussion in Amsterdam. As the Director of the Agency of International Youth Cooperation in Lithuania, Guoda is focused on engaging young people in cooperation programs throughout the European Union.
Aaron Parker, Chicago, Illinois
As an Obama Youth Jobs Corps Opens in a new tab participant, Aaron Parker took advantage of every opportunity presented to him including one-on-one mentoring, post-high school planning, and professional networking. He spent time learning from Obama Foundation team members across the organization, which to his surprise, included President Obama. In July 2019, in an unannounced visit, President Obama stopped by a meeting to answer questions and share a comforting reminder that Aaron still carries with him today: “You have to fail to be successful.”
The Obama Youth Jobs Corps was created in partnership with Urban Alliance. Opens in a new tab
Malachi Hernandez, Boston, Massachusetts
Noah McQueen, Atlanta, Georgia
Christian Champagne, Chicago, Illinois
Kendrick Eagle, Standing Rock, Sioux Nation
Five years after their first meeting, President Obama reconnected with My Brother’s Keeper youth leaders (pictured clockwise from the top) Malachi Hernandez, Noah McQueen, Christian Champagne, and Kendrick Eagle at MBK Rising! As these young men were entering adulthood, they discussed with the President the impact he and My Brother’s Keeper had had on their lives, and the responsibility they subsequently felt to mentor and lead boys and young men of color in their own communities.
Manuel Gutierrez Perez, María la Baja, Colombia
In May 2019, President Obama met with eleven emerging leaders, including Manuel Gutierrez Perez, for a roundtable discussion in Bogotá. Manuel has worked for over 10 years as a grassroots leader and is committed to community building in the Canal del Dique region in Colombia. Manuel is working hard to carry forward change with his work at the Neighborhood Action Board.
Greta Thunberg, Stockholm, Sweden
In September 2019, climate activist Greta Thunberg spent an afternoon meeting with President Obama, where they discussed her work and the potential young people have to change the world. Greta was 15 when she conducted her first climate protest, a humble act of activism that transformed into a global movement. Greta and her generation are making their voices heard, no matter their age, showing what’s possible when we put our trust in young leaders.
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