‘The single most important thing I can do is to help in any way I can prepare the next generation of leadership’
Since stepping down as president, Barack Obama has kept a low profile, jetting off to the Virgin Islands with Michelle the day after Trump’s inauguration for some much-deserved rest and relaxation.
Photos emerged of Barack Obama on holiday, letting loose after eight years as president, looking younger and happier than ever, sporting a backwards cap, shades and flipflops.While in the Virgin Islands, Obama bonded with Richard Branson, learning to foilboard together and probably spending the rest of their time laughing at the Donald Trump quotes emerging each day from America.
It seems that holiday time is finally over now though, with Obama making his first post-presidential public appearance yesterday, leading a panel discussion at the University of Chicago.
Giving his first speech since Trump took over as president, Obama announced to the crowd of students that his new job was a project that is very close to his heart, getting the next generation involved in politics.
‘The single most important thing I can do is to help in any way I can prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton, and to take their own crack at changing the world,’ he announced to the crowd.
‘Statistics show that people are less likely to be involved in their community than they used to be’, Obama explained, calling for change. ‘They are not involved in common projects. We have become a more individualistic society.’
Encouraging the students to persevere through failure, Obama explained, ‘with respect to failure – it’s terrible. But sometimes it’s necessary.’ He continued: ‘If you are trying to change something, if you are going to try something hard, if you’re putting yourself out there in some way, there are going to be times where you screw up or you don’t succeed, or there are times where you do everything right and you still don’t succeed. I think the most important thing – and this is a bit of a cliche – is to have resilience. And examine: what did I do not to succeed? How can I do better?’
‘There’s a reason why I’m always optimistic, even when things aren’t necessarily going the way I want, and that is because of young people like this,’ Obama said of the people he was sitting alongside on the panel. ‘The one thing that I’m absolutely convinced of is that, yes, we confront a whole range of challenges, all those problems are serious, they’re daunting, but they’re not insoluble.’