Obama Foundation announces programming for youth and civic leaders

By TONIA HILL
Staff Writer

The Barack Obama Foundation announced, Thursday, Sept. 13, a wave of programming for the season for young people and civic leaders.

When former President Barack Obama unveiled concept design plans for the future Obama Presidential Center (OPC) in May, he stated that he wants the OPC to serve as an institution for the next generation so that they can “take up the torch and lead the process” for change in their communities.

He added that he wants the OPC to be a premiere world institution to train young people in leadership so that they can make a difference in their communities and the world.

The OPC, according to the foundation will be more than a building or a museum it “will be a living, working center for engagement — an ongoing project for the community and world to shape what it means to be an active citizen in the 21st century,” said the foundation previously.

Programming announced today includes The Obama Foundation Summit, Obama Foundation Fellowship, Obama Foundation Training Days, and the integration of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance into the Obama Foundation later this year.

“When President Obama left public office in January, he asked people to believe—not in his ability to bring about change, but in their own,” said David Simas, Chief Executive Officer at the Obama Foundation in a written statement. “Over the last nine months, the foundation has been soliciting input from people in Chicago, all over the country, and around the world to learn about what’s working in your communities and to identify barriers to civic participation.”

The initiatives announced today reflect the input from those conversations. From leaders who are already making an impact, to people who are interested in becoming more involved, but don’t know where to start, our goal is to make our programs accessible to anyone, anywhere, with any background or level of experience.”

On Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, the Obama Foundation will welcome civic leaders from the city, the U.S. and the world to join the former president and Michelle Obama.

The two day-event will be held in Chicago and provide an opportunity for attendees to exchange ideas, explore solutions, and experience civic art, technology, and music from around the world.

The foundation’s fellowship “seeks to support and elevate outstanding civic innovators from around the world in order to amplify the impact of their remarkable work and to inspire a powerful wave of civic innovation,” said the foundation in a written release.

The two-year non-residential fellowship offers hands on training, resources and leadership development. Fellows will participate in four multi-day gatherings to collaborate and connect with potential partners and resources.

Next month, the foundation will start training days, or one-day experiences in places across the country.

The purpose is to “teach young people how to put “civics” into action, use their own story as a powerful tool for change, and become more active in shaping their communities,” said the foundation in a written release.

Each training day will include 150 young participants, ages 18 to 24. The first training day will take place in Chicago on Oct. 14 with additional training in Boston, Mass. and Tempe, Ariz. in November.

Obama launched my Brother’s Keeper in 2014, and it addresses opportunity gaps facing boys and men of color. In 2015, the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBKA) was launched to scale and sustain the mission, said the foundation.

My Brother’s Keeper Alliance will become an initiative of the Obama Foundation. Under the foundation, MBKA will focus on building safe and supportive communities for boys and men of color.

Applications for the inaugural fellowship class are open at Obama.org/Fellowships.

t.hill@hpherald.com