Obama To Deliver High-Profile Speech At Mandela Event In South Africa

Obama To Deliver High-Profile Speech At Mandela Event In South Africa

Former U.S. President Barack Obama has been relatively low-key since leaving the White House, doing a few speaking engagements and seemingly using his time away from office to wind down.

At an upcoming speech in South Africa, Obama might have a platform to highlight some of the failings of the current administration. Obama will make a high-profile address in July to mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. In 2013, Obama flew to South Africa to speak at Mandela’s funeral. About 4,000 people are expected to attend in July.

While Obama probably will not call out President Donald Trump, his speech might address “an enhanced sense of tribalism in the world,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, Obama’s former speechwriter, in a Quartz interview. “Our unifying theory is that the best way to promote inclusive and democratic societies is by empowering young people in civil society,” said Rhodes, who still acts as an advisor to Obama.

The upcoming Obama speech is paired with a five-day conference, with the theme,  “Renewing the Mandela Legacy & Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World.” Obama’s speech is expected to focus on working across ideological lines and resisting oppression and inequality, Quartz reported.

The speech will occur during a conference of young African leaders that will include workshops and training. There will also be a town hall with Obama. The event follows the announcement of the inaugural of the year-long Obama Foundation Fellows, a group of diverse young people who are working to improve their communities around the world. The Obama Foundation said it had “received 10,000 applications for the 200 available slots in the program,” CNN reported.

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The fellowship opportunity is part of Obama’s continuous effort, which he began while in office,  to cultivate young leaders through leadership training programs and town halls. “During his last trip to Africa as President, Obama convened a meeting with young people in Nairobi to discuss social issues and leadership strategies. He held similar events in South America and Asia,” CNN reported.
Obama has not retired from public view. He has continued to travel the world–both for pleasure and for work — to promote peace and cooperation. He appeared alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel last summer and held a roundtable for young people in Singapore. He’s also met with the leaders of France, China and Canada, CNN reported.

And, Obama likes to get involved with local young leaders wherever he goes, often holding town halls events. He held town halls in South America and Asia.

Past speakers for the Mandela celebration have included Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’ first female head of state, and former President Bill Clinton.