Mrs. Obama Announces the 2019 Obama Foundation Summit by Sharing the Place that Shaped Her

Mrs. Obama sent out the message below to our email list to announce the 2019 Summit and reveal its theme: places reveal our purpose. Read about the place that shaped Mrs. Obama, then tell us about the place that shaped you. Submit your response below and you might be featured on obama.org! We can’t wait to hear from you.


When I think back to some of the earliest days of my childhood, I remember moments like this—my brother Craig and I, smiling outside on the South Side of Chicago. It was there, in a diverse and changing neighborhood, that I began a journey that took me to settings I never could have imagined at that age. It’s the place that made me who I am.

I’m thinking about my neighborhood because in a few weeks, Barack and I will be joining changemakers from the South Side and around the world for our third Obama Foundation Summit. It’ll take place October 28 and 29th, and we’ll be livestreaming it on obama.org.

We’ll hear stories from authors and artists, luminaries and leaders, about how the places they’ve been have made them the people they’ve become. And you’ll hear how Chicago influenced both Barack and me—and how we hope the Obama Presidential Center will help shape the journeys of others.

And this year the theme is a special one for me: Places reveal our purpose.

Looking back at photos like these, I’m struck by how much of the South Side I still carry with me today. It was the place where Craig and I developed our competitive edge, boxing in the kitchen and playing in the neighborhood parks. It’s where we rode bikes down the street and spent summers hanging out with friends of all backgrounds—before white flight took hold and began to reshape our community. And it was there, on the second floor of a modest brick bungalow, that I saw my parents raise their children with integrity, dignity, and purpose—values that I carry with me every day.

That’s how my neighborhood shaped the person who I am today. But we want to hear your stories, too. Show us a place that shaped you. And tell us how that place gives you purpose.

We’ll feature submissions on obama.org and at the Summit, so that guests can witness the stories of folks like you who help support the Obama Foundation and make our work possible.

Tune in to the Summit on October 29 on obama.org, and don’t forget to share your story with us.