After a few months of staying out of the spotlight, former President Barack Obama planned to make his first public appearance at the University of Chicago. The 44th president was set to appear Monday with community and youth leaders in his first public remarks since Jan. 20 for a “conversation on community organizing and civic engagement.”
The event was scheduled to be held at the University’s Logan Center for the Arts and was not going to be political, according to reports. The appearance will focus on his commitment to young leaders, a center point of what the former president said he’d like to focus on after leaving office. Obama planned to touch upon how he was inspired to get into politics as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, Politico reported Friday.
“This event is part of President Obama’s post-presidency goal to encourage and support the next generation of leaders driven by strengthening communities around the country and the world,” the event program stated.
The former president’s namesake legacy, the Obama Foundation, released its vision in February, touching upon the importance of the next generation of leaders. Established in 2014, the Foundation planned to oversee the construction of the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side of Chicago, which would include the presidential library.
“The Obama Foundation is a working, living center for citizenship,” the Foundation said in a statement released in February. “Our goal is to develop the next generation of citizens, to shape what it means to be an engaged and active citizen in the 21st century.”
Before leaving office, Obama explained his commitment to helping young people.
“I’ll go back to doing the kinds of work that I was doing before, just trying to find ways to help people. Help young people get educations and help people get jobs and try to bring businesses into neighborhoods that don’t have enough businesses,” he told middle schoolers in 2015. “That’s the kind of work I really love to do.”