Michelle and I are thrilled to welcome you to Chicago for the Obama Foundation Summit.
Whether you’re an artist or entrepreneur, organizer or civil servant, you’re here because you’ve demonstrated the passion, optimism, and devotion we need to move the world forward. Over the next two days, you will join others from across the globe who have helped drive progress in their own communities. You’ll have the chance to teach one another, learn from one another, and maybe even come up with the new ideas we need to solve our most intractable challenges and build a better future.
We created this Summit for you—to share your ideas, sharpen your skills, formulate big plans, and create lasting relationships. And it’s just the beginning. The Obama Foundation will seek to inspire people everywhere to give back, get involved, and recognize that they, too, have the power to make a difference. And that mission depends on more than what you do this week—it depends on you taking what you learn this week back to your communities, and applying it over the dedicated work of a lifetime.
Progress, in America and around the world, has never followed a straight line—it zigs and zags. But always remember that each of us is only here thanks to the collective efforts of those who came before us—people who, despite lack of wealth or power or title, kept pushing forward, doing their part to bend the arc of history towards prosperity, equality, and justice.
That’s why you’re here. It’s your turn. That power is in your hands now.
I want this next chapter of our story to be even more impactful than the last—and the next two days are just the beginning.