Obama Foundation Town Hall Europe

(audience applauding and cheering) – Good afternoon My name is Aminata Toure We are all here today to talk about our future and the future of Europe As young people, we control our destiny While there are many challenges and opportunities ahead, we know that our generation owns the solutions our world needs I learned early on that representation matters I grew up in a refugee camp here in Germany listening to politicians making decisions for an entire population without knowing how it feels to be impacted by these circumstances and laws I would ask myself how will our voices be represented? Could someone like me even run for office? What encouraged me was that there was someone on the other side of the Atlantic who was starting a movement He was inspiring people from all backgrounds to take part in the political system He was a role model who told me that if I wanted to shape the future, I couldn’t let someone else speak for me Politics is something that we all own It’s for everyone So I decided to run Two years ago at the age of 24 I became the youngest and the first black member of my state government the Schleswig-Holstein Parliament It took hard work, the support of family and friends and believing that my opinions had value and that I could make a difference Most people in politics are older than me, some double my age They often don’t see policy issues the same way our generation does Outside the halls of Parliament, I’m surrounded by peers who care deeply about our shared future We’re finding new solutions to climate change, promoting equal rights for all, and advancing economic opportunity through new industries It’s not just in Germany Young people across Europe and the world are connecting, taking action, and making change It’s our generation’s collective passion that makes me feel strong and confident The future is bright but only if we encourage each other and fight for it together Today I’m excited to welcome to Berlin someone who has inspired people all over the world to make their voices be heard and get involved He gave me courage when there was no one that looked like me running for office in my state And through his work with the Obama Foundation, he is still bringing together young people who are determined to make a positive difference and is helping us have our voices heard on the main stage It is an honor for me to introduce the 44th president of the United States, President Barack Obama (audience applauding and cheering) – Thank you Very kind Thank you Thank you so much Hey! Thank you so much Thank you (speaking in a foreign language) Berlin! (audience chattering) It is good to be back in the heart of Europe It’s been over 10 years since I spoke to a slightly larger crowd (audience laughing) in front of the Victory Column when I was running for president I had a little less gray hair then (audience chuckling) And since then I’ve been back to Germany, I think at least 10 times I’ve been to Europe countless times But I’m as excited to be here with you as I have been ever when I’ve come to Europe because this is a different kinda trip I’m here to begin the work of the Obama Foundation in partnering with some remarkable young leaders from all across Europe who are already making amazing change to see if we can make even more amazing change You know, when I left office, or maybe a few months before I left office, I had to make some decisions about what I would do after the end of my presidency

and I knew that I wanted to catch up on my sleep (audience laughing) I had to take Michelle on vacation (audience laughing) She deserved it, putting up with me for that long But we also knew that our service wasn’t yet done I was one of the youngest presidents to be elected, which meant I was one of the youngest ex-presidents And I asked myself, all right, what’s the next thing that I can do to make the biggest impact, the most difference? And there were a whole range of issues that I care deeply about, many of which you work on I believe climate change is an existential challenge for all of humanity I believe that creating communities of tolerance and respect despite our ethnic and religious differences is vital if we are to thrive in this world that’s now been shrunk by technology and travel and migration I believe deeply in gender equality and making sure that women have the same opportunities that men do in all fields of life And that people of different sexual orientations are treated with dignity and respect and human rights I believe deeply in dealing with the growing inequality that has arisen as a consequence of globalization and technology So there are a whole range of specific issues I was concerned about and that I intended to work on But what I was also convinced of was that probably the biggest impact I could have would be to support and convene and engage and partner with the next generation of leaders Because there’s only one of me (audience chuckling) And there’s only one Michelle And if we’re gonna solve all these problems and seize all these opportunities, then the most important thing we can do is to figure out how do we continually duplicate ourselves so that we have thousands of activists and leaders And then tens of thousands and then hundreds of thousands and then millions of people who are working on behalf of the values and causes that we so deeply believe in And so the theory of the Obama Foundation is actually fairly simple If we can get young leaders like you to begin to work together, if we can provide you more tools, more resources, more attention, mentoring, maybe a little bit of inspiration, above all if we can get you to work in concert and teach and learn from each other, then you will change the world and I can sit back and relax a little bit (audience chuckling) And I know there’s a whole lot of work to be done because we live in uncertain times We’re confronted by big questions about how to organize our communities and our countries and the international order Here in Berlin, we have to recognize that this moment is full of contradictions because Europe in 2019 in some ways has achieved the pinnacle of human well-being Collectively in Europe right now, on average, you probably see the highest standards of living of any group of people in the history of the planet Wealthier, healthier, better educated The continent has largely been at peace for 70 years You have unprecedented information at your fingertips You can travel freely across borders that once were closed Our societies have made great strides to extend opportunity and educate our children, and care for the sick, and to pursue equality for people no matter what you look like or how you worship or who you love So you would think that everybody’d feel

pretty good right now And yet, what we also know is that powerful forces are threatening to reverse many of these trends The democratic institutions that helped to bring these about oftentimes have been taken for granted The planet that we live on is in danger Some of the contradictions of our economies and how we produce and dispose of goods and services continually now doesn’t appear to be as sustainable, particularly if, understandably, other parts of the world want to achieve the same kinds of standards of living as we have We’ve seen in the 21st century the re-emergence of profound religious and sectarian differences You’ve got inequality that’s been exacerbated first by the financial crisis, but as I said, some of the deeper trends of how capitalism works You’ve got social media that was once considered to be the network that would provide us greater understanding Now suddenly appears to be a tool that is used to spread disinformation and hatred and suspicion Nationalism, particularly from the far right, has re-emerged, a politics that divides us into us and them And we know where that leads Europe knows better than anyone where that leads to conflict and bloodshed and catastrophe So just as the world has choices to make, Europe has choices to make The good news is that we actually know there are solutions We know with changes in policy we can reduce inequality and we can combat climate change while still providing a high standard of living We know that if we invest in our democracies then they can work better than they’re currently working and that if we teach our children to love and listen instead of hate, that our societies can work better But we can’t do these things by sitting back and waiting for somebody else to do them We’re gonna have to do them ourselves and, more specifically, you’re gonna have to do them And what makes me optimistic is you’re already doing extraordinary work We’ve got young leaders here from across the continent who are working in government and civil society and the private sector to bring about positive change You just heard, I believe, from Flavia and Delphine and Klen who I had originally met with when they were in Amsterdam And I could not have been more impressed by the remarkable leadership that they were already showing I met earlier today with a group of young people from the audience including Jerome Where’s, he’s here somewhere, who is using technology in France to mobilize humanitarian support after disasters around the world And Elsa who’s working in Sweden to make this the first zero-food waste generation And Paul who’s working in Romania to map the distribution of political power so that government can be more transparent and ultimately more responsive to people So I hope that so far you’ve already gotten a sense that you’re not alone and that people like you are doing remarkable things In some cases in the same area and sector that you’re working in, in some cases in different sectors but are motivated by the same values and the same vision There are a lot more people like you out there who wanna build rather than tear things down and who wanna bring people together rather than split them apart But sometimes all of you are isolated and work alone or feel as if you’re working alone, and the whole then feels like it’s less than the sum of its parts Now, I’m not here to support any political party I’ve held my last political office The Obama Foundation is non-partisan Michelle would leave me if I ever ran for office again

(audience laughing) But I’m deeply invested in these values of tolerance and equality and rule of law and democracy and human rights and human freedom and human dignity And you’ve got a European parliamentary election that’s coming up It goes without saying that all of you need to vote if you are eligible And your friends do, too As Michelle and I talk sometimes and when we hear that young people aren’t voting or participating, we say to them, you would not let your grandfather or grandmother decide what clothes you wear or what music you listen to, so why would you let them decide the world you’re gonna live in and the politics that you’re gonna be subjected to? Why would you give away that power and that authority? So I’m assuming that all of you in one fashion or another are paying attention to political trends, but as we all know, casting a ballot is just the start I always used to say that the most important office in a democracy is not president or prime minister or chancellor or governor or mayor, it’s citizen Change happens because citizens are mobilized and force change And each of you in your own ways are part of that process The question now is, if you are supporting each other and engaged with each other and perhaps if we can help a little bit, can you start scaling up, doing more, building momentum, creating a new narrative, creating greater sense of possibility and a greater sense of hope? I think you can And we’ve got a huge stake in your success And hopefully the Obama Foundation will be able to help you in your work, because we’re just getting started here and we intend to work, not because, work here not based on having all the answers but rather having great confidence that if we’re interacting with an amazing gathering like this, that we’ll be able to come up with the solutions that we need, not just for Europe, but for the world So with that, I’m gonna start taking some questions Thank you very much (audience applauding) All right, and You know, because of we couldn’t fit everybody in the continent in this room, there are a bunch of people who are watching live stream or wanted to participate but couldn’t and are doing so online So actually I believe that my first question may be an online question, but I’m not sure But it’s from Conleth in Northern Ireland Am I correct about that? Or is Conleth here? There he is – My name is Conleth Burns and I’m from a small village in Northern Ireland As a young community organizer, I work to build trust and mold consensus between diverse groups of people No matter where young people are in Europe how can we show the value in compromise and the beauty in consensus? – Well, this is an interesting question I saw a group of you right before I came out and somebody, I think, asked a question that relates to this One of the challenges that I had when I was a young organizer, was I wanted change now and I wanted 100% of what I wanted And then I’d suddenly confront some politician and they’d be like well, we can’t do this and we can only do that, and maybe we can get a little bit of this done or I’ve gotta take into account this constituency that feels very differently about the issue And I’d be furious and frustrated And then I was elected to office and some young organizer would come into my office and say, “I want you to do this.” And I’d say well, you know, I can give you a little bit of this but I And so I’ve been on both sides

of the equation And one of the biggest challenges I think that we all have, and there’s no perfect formula, is how do we remain true to our values and our principles while recognizing that in democracies, in pluralistic societies, that the only way we are gonna be able to get things done is if we agree to a certain set of rules and part of those rules are that you never get 100% of what you want Because somebody else is gonna have a slightly different set of interests or a slightly different set of values And that navigating that territory in which you push for what you believe in but at a certain point you are willing to say okay, let me take this now and then build on this later That’s necessary for everyone I mean, look, when I passed the Paris, or when I helped get the Paris Agreement on Climate accomplished, I was the first one to say what we’ve done here is not adequate to meet the demands of climate science The measures that had been set, the targets that had been set by each country, even if they all met them, wouldn’t be sufficient to address the pace at which temperatures were rising and emissions were going into the atmosphere But if I had held out for us getting to where we needed to be in the science, we wouldn’t have gotten the accord And my theory was, look, if, for the first time, I can get every country on Earth, or at least I think at that time there were maybe one or two country that is didn’t sign up Now it turns out it’s only mine (audience chuckling) But that’s a whole nuther question If we can establish that principle that everybody has to address this problem and everybody has to take steps to do something about it, and that becomes the architecture that’s in place and it is measurable and people are accountable, if I can get that in place, then I’ll be able to turn up those standards each and every year as the science and the technology and what’s possible develops and we build Right? In my own country, in the United States, our pension system, what we call Social Security, when it was first passed, didn’t apply to everybody Here’s an interesting example It did not apply to domestic workers Why do you think that is? Who were domestics? Huh? – Immigrants – Many of them were black people They were I guess immigrants brought a little while, way back There was a whole different way of how they came over So the South, the southern politicians, they wanted to exclude as a part of reinforcing racial discrimination and segregation laws in the South, they wanted to exclude certain portions of it Now, you could argue that Franklin Roosevelt should have said well, I’m not willing to pass this unless I can get those workers Or you can say, you get that set up, given those particular political constraints at that time, and then over time those biases were eliminated How we think about those compromises is something that each of us have to take responsibility for We can’t, as I said, there’s no formula There may be certain issues in which we say to ourselves, no, I’m sorry, this, on this I cannot compromise Right? And each of us may have certain issues like that

I’d like to think that if there was a proposal that today said, we can, you know, pass a wonderful law that is gonna reduce poverty but this particular group of people is excluded from it, I’d like to say today, knowing what we now know, the basis of our society today, I actually think I’d have to say no, I’m sorry, we can’t pass that ’cause that violates now a principle that we’ve established We’ve set a higher threshold We’re not gonna go backwards on that So no matter how wonderful this new social program might be, I’m not gonna abide by that On the other hand, I know from experience in passing the health care law that I had to work on in the United States, that that was not the ideal health care program that I wanted to set up It’s what I could get at the time and if I could establish the principle that everybody gets health care and get 20 million people more health care, even if 10 million still hadn’t gotten it, that’s what I’m gonna do now And then I’ll fight some more later for the other 20% So to go back to the point that was made by Conleth, what’s true for me when I was a president or an elected official, it’s gonna be true for you as well, even within your own organizations And one of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States, maybe it’s true here as well, is a certain kind of rigidity where we say ah, I’m sorry, this is how it’s gonna be and then we start sometimes creating what’s called a circular firing squad where you start shooting at your allies because one of them is straying from purity on the issues And when that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens So I think whether you are speaking as a citizen or as a political leader or as an organizer, whether you’re in the nonprofit space and civic space or you’re in the political arena, you have to recognize that the way we’ve structured democracy requires you to take into account people who don’t agree with you And that, by definition, means you’re not gonna get 100% of what you want But you should take some time to think in your own mind and continually refine and reflect what are my core principles? Because the danger is if you don’t know what your principles are, that’s when you compromise your principles away So you have to know ahead of time, here’s what I’m willing to compromise on, here are the things that I’m not You can’t set up a system in which you don’t compromise on anything, but you also can’t operate in a system where you compromise on everything, everything’s up for grabs That requires a certain amount of internal reflection and deliberation Okay Now with that, from here on out I’m just gonna call on people (people chattering) I think you should know in advance that I will not get to every person (audience chuckling) So forgive me for that, all right? But I’m just gonna try to get as many people as I can I’ll start with you And there should be microphones Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about, very short, what you’re doing and then, and by the way, you don’t have to ask a question You can also give me an idea, make a comment If it’s a speech, make it a short one (audience laughing) – Thank you so much I’m very honored to be here My name is Anna Oudra, I’m from Latvia, and I’m a journalist But in Washington, D.C I was advocating for Baltic States in the U.S. Congress – Wow – So explaining to U.S. Congressmen the issues that are important for us in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania And my question is that these days I think a lot of international agreements are being broken and sometimes international alliances are being talked about in a light way But for us in such small countries it’s so important to be part of secure and strong long-term alliances – Right – So my question would be, what the leaders of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania could do, how, in a better way we can communicate to make sure that everyone understands the importance of these alliances? And also, this might be a bit silly, but could you sign

this piece of paper with your famous phrase, “Are you part of, are you ready to go”? (Anna giggles) – I can I’ll do that afterwards – Okay, thank you so much – Okay You know, after World War II and the tragedy that engulfed Europe and then engulfed the world, we set up a set of international institutions The U.N., you know, Bretton Woods, World Bank, et cetera And the idea was, I think, a recognition that you had to have some sort of international order to try to mitigate against a repeat of those tragedies And you had NATO and other alliances that were established, in part, because of the emerging Cold War Those institutions weren’t perfect Oftentimes the participants, including my own country, operated hypocritically within those institutions and the declarations and charters were often violated or ignored, but they did create a structure and a set of aspirations so that small countries, defenseless peoples, vulnerable groups could appeal to the ideal and the the principle and take that charter or piece of paper and say look, this is what you said And that gave some leverage, some force to the argument that over time improved the situation And then obviously with the fall of the wall and the end of the Cold War, you then saw this blossoming of excitement and opportunity Ah, now we’re really gonna live up to all these ideals And as I said before, we unfortunately, I think, stand at a crossroads now, a time where we took for granted some of that progress Didn’t tend to our democracies and our alliances and our international institutions as well as we should have, didn’t update them and adapt them to new circumstances And as people started feeling insecure or frustrated because of economic changes, technological changes, demographic changes, we got this backlash and reaction to that order So our challenge now is how do we refresh and renew these ideas With respect to the alliances that the Baltics are part of, I’m assuming you’re referring to, for example, NATO, as president I was very clear that there were no junior or senior members of NATO and that Article IV and Article V means what it says and that it has to be not just talked about with nice phrases but there have to be planning and work done to prepare for the possibility of mutual defense And so we implemented a whole range of exercises and planning to reflect that I can’t say exactly what the United States and NATO is doing right now I recognize that there are some strains I think that the most important thing that countries like Estonia, Latvia, you know, other Baltics can do, is to continue to reflect internally the values of democracy, freedom, rule of law, so that when it speaks on the world stage and it speaks in international forums, it has credibility and it is able to then say look, we are doing what we pledged and promised to do in this charter and in this document, and we expect you, the larger countries that are signatories to this, to do the same I think when there’s back sliding internally then you have less moral force in that argument I would also say, though, that no matter how much all the countries in NATO or any other alliance believe in that alliance

in the abstract, it’s always better for us not to have to test it And that means, for example, that the stronger that Europe as a whole is, the more that the work that all of your peers here are doing, the more that the European Parliament is reflecting on, or is reflective of the values of democracy and rule of law and so forth, that inoculates, you know, it strengthens the European project, it strengthens NATO, and it serves as a defense, a non-military defense but a defense against potential encroachment So I think it’s important not to separate military alliances The strength of Europe over the last 20, 30 years has not been because there were a bunch of missiles fired It was because, thankfully, it was because ideas won And if we start losing the ideas, then we’re gonna have problems no matter what All right (people chattering) Okay Gentleman right there in the blue Yeah, right here I’m looking, no, I’m looking at you Yeah, that’s right, so But we need a mic – Yes – There you go – Thank you, Mr. President It’s a great pleasure to be here My name is Ahmed Abdirahman I’m from Sweden with Somali background I really admire you I know the night you were elected I was in Sweden and cried like a baby (chuckles) – Well, you were a baby (Ahmad and audience laughing) (audience applauding) What are you talking about? He said he cried like a baby You were like, you were like 8 years old Of course You were probably hungry (audience laughing) Or needed a nap (Barack laughing) Anyway – Thank you I run an NGO called The Global Village and our biggest work is called Jarvaveckan where we gather politicians, political leaders, the Parliament, civil society, NGOs, everybody together in a suburb where I live which is disadvantaged where 90% of the population have foreign backgrounds and we try to build bridges between the majority of Swedes and the new Swedish people And the issue that we are facing in Sweden and also, of course, all over Europe, is how do we break that segregation? How do we break that we and them narrative that is literally holding back Europe and particularly in Sweden’s opportunity to succeed? For example, just 10 years from now 30% of the working age in Sweden will be foreign born I assume that will be the same thing across Europe So how do we break that we and them? How do you create the new narrative? And you have succeeded that in the U.S And another question to you, sorry guys, is that how do you deal with being a part of two worlds and always being heckled by both sides when you’re trying to build a bridge? Thank you so much And if you come to Sweden, we hope to see you there of course Thank you – Okay, excellent (audience applauding) I am gonna establish a rule of just one question But those were excellent questions Look, obviously migration issues are driving a lot of the political turmoil here in Europe and in my home country And the first thing I would say is that you probably have some better answers than I do because of the fact that you are working in a specific community with specific people face to face and so often the way that you arrive at ideas of breaking down these barriers is on the ground, human to human, as opposed to abstract ideas So I should be asking you what works and you should be sharing, you and others who are working on these issues, should be sharing what seems to work and what doesn’t I’ll make some general observations, though The first is that it’s important for all of us to admit that in every society

there is some temptation, tendency to separate people who are more like me and less like me That’s not unique to white Europeans You know, my father’s from Kenya You go to Kenya, the Luos think the Kikuyus are always out to get them And the Kikuyus think, ah, the Luos they talk but they’re lazy I’m not gonna hire them And you go to the Middle East and, you know, when everybody gets here, suddenly oh, you know, we’re all Arab You go back home, ah, these people, those people Right? So one thing to recall is that this is a universal phenomenon because humans are fairly primitive and we’re still wired to only be able to process, like, knowing about 150 people (chuckles) in our brains And so now suddenly we’re in cities with strangers that we don’t know and we’re asked to trust them and it goes against some of our impulses And the reason I say that is because I think if you don’t acknowledge that then there’s gonna be a certain arrogance in how you approach these problems and the problems won’t get solved That’s point number one We all have some of these biases inside of us It’s not just, you know, those people Right? If we start with that premise, then I think what that means is that we have to find ways to have a humane, intelligent, thoughtful, orderly immigration process that is grounded in our better selves and our better values And we’re gonna have to figure out how do we make the people who are already in a country feel comfortable with newcomers And that requires education and exposure and reducing fear on the part of people who are already there It also requires some levels of adaptation from the people who are coming in And I think organizations like yours can help to identify those mechanisms that can help both sides In the United States, immigration has always been controversial and, at some level, immigrants adapted to the norms of the existing society so that if you look at how the Irish, for example, were talked about in the United States, whoa It’s as bad as anything, you know, Irish no need apply There was a time where the Irish and Jews and Italians, they weren’t considered white They were considered aliens, foreigners Then they got absorbed Now, black folks never got absorbed (chuckles) Right? That took a little bit longer And so some of the assimilation that inevitably takes place is gonna take a little bit longer, but some of those principles still apply And I worry sometimes when as we think about how to deal with the immigration issue, we think that any moves towards assimilation of newcomers to the existing culture is somehow betrayal or a denial of people’s heritage or what have you I mean, the truth of the matter is is that if you’re gonna have a coherent, cohesive society, then everybody has to have some agreed-upon rules And they’re gonna have to be some accommodations that everybody makes

And that includes the people who are newcomers The question is, are those fair? Should we wanna encourage newcomers to learn the language of the country they’re moving to? Of course Does that mean that they can never use their own language? No Of course it doesn’t mean that But it’s, you know, it’s not racist to say ah, if you’re gonna be here, then you should learn the language of the country that you just arrived at Because we need to have some sort of common language in which all of us can work and learn and understand each other It gets more sensitive, obviously, around religious issues That becomes more challenging And I don’t have, you know, simple solutions to all of that But I guess what I think we have to do in order to push back against just, you know, what are clearly racist motives of some, we can’t label everybody who is disturbed by immigration as racist You know, that’s a self-defeating tactic You push away potential allies, people who maybe they just haven’t thought about it They may be good people who are well meaning They just don’t understand it but if they’re exposed to new information and they’re meeting people who are from other countries and they understand the nature of these different traditions and they see that others are eager to work with you, then suddenly they go ah, okay And, you know, some of the work that was done in Switzerland and other places where you mobilize people to say look, this is not who we are and to appeal to their best natures, shows that the majority of Europeans don’t want to think of themselves as mean or ungenerous or racist, just like the majority of Americans don’t wanna think of themselves in that way But if the only thing they’re hearing is either people who are making them afraid or people who are saying you’re racist, (chuckles) then they don’t feel as if they’ve got room to find their better selves And we have to continually find ways to speak to them And a lot of that happens face to face which is why organizations like yours ends up being so important You do have to figure out how do you link the work that you’re doing on a local level with broader political efforts to push back against discriminatory, unjust legislation And then so the micro has to work with the macro in order to be successful All right You had another question but I don’t remember what it was That was such a Right here – It will be actually an easy question because the answer will be a yes, we can (Barack chuckling) My name is Louis-Xavier I’m from Paris I started three years ago a simple network of shopkeepers that accept to offer services, free services to homeless people They open the door and the homeless people can come and charge their phone, go to toilet, heat some food in the microwave Simple stuff, you know – Yeah – We use lists, physical lists with all the address, the directions, so they can go and recreate social link It’s an easy way for a resident to involve themselves, sorry In three years we have around 1,000 shops in France and it started in Seattle, in London, Madrid, and other cities My question is, how can you maybe, can you and your team actually help us and do this international calling for every shops and enterprise so they’ll open their doors – So the answer is yes, we can – Yes, we can and thanks (audience laughing) (audience applauding) – Excellent All right Well, first of all, I wanna congratulate you on a great idea The second thing I wanna say is this is a perfect example of how, if all of you are organized and in communication with each other, one good idea in one place can then start disseminating, start spreading to other places And we can certainly help I can publicize hey, here’s a great example of somebody, a small business that has started something and is now becoming a movement

But I’m not the only one that can help There are 300 and something people here who all have small stores in their communities that may be interested in something like this as well So part of our goal here is in some ways to highlight good work that’s already being done But also to identify good ideas, best practices, great tactics, great strategies, good stories to tell, and make sure that everybody now knows them and is able to steal your good ideas because the nice thing is, – With pleasure – is that you know, great ideas like this are ones where I’m assuming you’d be happy if more and more people were doing it, huh? – And we started a little cookie factory – Those are cookies for me? – Yeah – Homeless people who are employed and they do organic, good cookies It’s lots of butter, it’s French, in our country – Of course (audience laughing) – It’s for you and your family (audience applauding) (speaking in a foreign language) – Ah (audience laughing) I can’t wait But I shouldn’t talk with my mouth full All right, let’s see I’m just canvassing Since this young lady’s almost standing up here, then I guess, go ahead Don’t worry, I know that, I see some people in the back I’ll get to you, yeah, yeah – Okay – Don’t worry Just need a microphone back there – Down here – Yeah – Thanks a lot It’s a great pleasure to be here My name is Sima, I’m from SINGA, SINGA Deutschland, one of the co-founders of SINGA here And actually my question is maybe a bit more personal I feel how nervous I am now speaking – It’s okay, just because there are all these cameras right on you (audience laughing) – No big deal – And everybody, there are millions more people watching Don’t feel nervous at all – No pressure, yeah, okay (audience laughing) (Barack laughing) So yeah, I really liked what you were speaking about earlier about finding compromise And you said something about having these sort of internal reflections in order to sort of see, find your balance, I guess And in the last year or so I’ve been looking more into topics of mindfulness And I was curious to know if you have any sort of personal mindfulness practice, for instance meditation or something else? And as a sort of secondary part to that, if you feel that there’s any space for more mindfulness in politics to be able to lead to more peaceful politics – Well, I definitely think that there’s some politicians who could use some meditation (audience laughing) There’s no doubt about that (audience applauding) (Barack laughing) I can think of a few who, you know, just sit there for a little bit (audience laughing) and reflect (Barack laughing) Find some inner peace No, let me broaden the question a little bit I mean, I will tell you that I don’t have a regular meditation practice But I have my own tools, I guess, to take me to a certain place For example, you know, particularly when I was your age I did a lot of writing and that would serve as a similar process for me where I would still myself And if I was writing well, it would take me out of myself, right? You become egoless a little bit by just reflecting on the circumstances and world around you Some people obviously prayer offers that And meditation’s another tool But I would broaden the point Somebody asked me about this earlier, what advice would I give myself when I was a young organizer? And one of the things I said was I think sometimes we are so driven to get the work done and there’s so much work to be done And typically in our various organizations and our various efforts, we’re understaffed and overburdened and certainly under-financed, and sometimes we’re isolated and we feel guilty

if we’re not working 24/7 because look at the people who we’re working with who need so much and, you know, we need to help them And just a reminder that you can’t help them effectively if you’re not taking care of yourself in some fashion And that means simple things like sleep (chuckles) or time with friends or organizing and scheduling days or blocks of time where you can just think or read or get new ideas or meditate or, you know, whatever it is that you need I think organizing yourselves to do that and getting in those good habits or working out, getting some exercise, things like that end up actually clearing your mind, you’ll be more effective, you will interact with people better, you’re less likely to have your work influenced by your bad moods You’re more likely to listen and be open to other people’s experiences, right? So all these things that may seem as if they’re for you, could actually end up being for them You know, Michelle is very clear about this when she talked about parenting She came to a point, particularly when our children were small, I was traveling a lot because I was doing politics and we had two small kids, and Michelle was still working and she was going a mile a minute And obviously she’d feel like oh, I’ve gotta do everything for my kids And she talks about how there came a point where she realized, you know, if I don’t do something to just calm myself down and be able to feel okay, I’m gonna start taking it out on the kids You know, not in terrible ways, but I won’t be as good of a mom So she then started scheduling certain things that she had to do to get her head straight And I think that that’s true for everybody You know, even as president, I was a pretty busy guy, I gotta say But I worked out every morning I mean, I was pretty religious about it I was in the gym And people knew, unless there was an actual literal emergency, that you had to block out that time in the morning when I was gonna be working out And if I did not have a workout, I was gonna be cranky (audience chuckling) But I knew that if I was gonna be able to sustain the pace I was sustaining over the course of eight years, I needed to have at least that And the same, I did the same thing, by the way, it’s not just when you talk about what’s good for you Part of it is also social You have to make time for friends or partners or something that brings you some joy ‘Cause if you’re disconnected from, you can’t organize a community if you don’t have a community (chuckles) You know, if you’re all like oh, I’m out there, I’m gonna pull people together to help work together Then you go home and you’re all lonely eating by yourself, you got no friends, what do you know about getting people organized? So you’ve gotta have some social network that can support you And so as president, for example, my staff knew that I would eat dinner with my children at 6:30, with my wife and children, at 6:30 every night Again, unless there was an actual emergency or I was traveling, I was at the dinner table And then, you know, I’d work until two in the morning afterwards, but that block So part of what you have to do is be intentional about how you organize your time that way Anyway, all right Let’s see I promised that I would turn this way Yes, you You do need a mic Who’s got a mic? Here we go Go ahead – Hi, Mr. President – Hi – I meant hi

– How are you? – I’m good, how are you? – Very good – That’s good My name is Katharina Schulze I’m a member of the Bavarian State Parliament here in Germany for the Green Party And I was running for office after I was volunteering in Michigan for your campaign 2008 – Way to go, here, here – So, we already met (audience chuckling) – Boom (audience applauding) That’s what I’m talking about – Yeah – Proud of you – Yes, so it’s good to see you again – Good to see you! (Katharina laughing) – And I have a personal question How do you deal with all the hate against you and your family and your personal beliefs? And do you have any advice for us as young leaders how to deal with this? Because as far as I see it now, doing politics for 10 years, it’s getting harder and more and more And you already talked about internet and social media and the big dream about what all the good things this will bring for us and now we see also the negative consequences And what would be your advice for us to, like, deal with this negative (Barack sneezes) in your own life and in the, bless you – Thank you – And in our communities or in our parties or wherever we are active? – You know, that’s a great question (audience applauding) So first I’ll answer sort of the personal question, how do I deal with it and then I think there are some broader implications that are worth us considering I did not, I did not read about myself I did not watch TV about myself I, first of all, whatever the news was saying about me, I already knew I mean, whatever the topic was, I was there (audience laughing) So (laughing) they couldn’t give me actual information that I didn’t know The most they could do is provide me with an opinion And, you know, sadly I think that our media has become so splintered and certainly social media has become so splintered, that people’s opinions were almost predictable, right? You pretty much knew before you even said anything what one group was gonna say versus what the other group was gonna say So it almost didn’t matter what I was doing It was just an occasion to go back and forth between the warring sides, right? I advised Michelle and my mother-in-law, you know, don’t watch cable news shows They’re designed to get you mad That’s what their purpose is Social media is worse They’re designed to make you click And the entire algorithm and business model is if you can inflame, provoke, anger people or cat videos, then people will go (chuckles) that was a joke (audience laughing) Cat videos are very popular (audience chuckling) Then people will click And that then means for advertising revenue for the companies So for me, creating a better filter, personal filter, was important Now, obviously the danger is then if it’s, you’re so filtered then you don’t get any good feedback, right? And I was fortunate enough that I had a staff So I said well you watch it (chuckles) And then you tell me if there’s something that we’re hearing back that indicates a genuine issue or genuine problem, something we didn’t think of, a legitimate critique, then let’s discuss it So you can’t completely isolate yourself And I recognize not everybody has the luxury of having a staff So you, in your issues, whatever you’re working on, may feel obliged, okay, I’ve gotta follow what the chatter is on social media in order for me to be informed and to see how well our message is getting out, which then suddenly you have all these trolls who are sending you terrible information And even if you say to yourself, these are just trolls and losers in their underwear in a basement somewhere and who just decided they wanna just be mean, it’s not gonna, it doesn’t mean you’re not affected I recognize that But I do think at least you should be able to at least break the habit

that I suspect all of you of a certain generation have of constantly checking and renewing That has less to do with you needing to get information to do your work and has more to do with the fact that you’ve been addicted, like everybody else, to this device It’s designed to make you addicted And by the way, I’m not saying something that is, this isn’t a conspiracy It’s a well-known fact, right? Apps are designed and these social media outlets are designed to maximize your use and amount of time on them And we’re all victim to it So you have to somehow break that while still being able to take in external information So that’s the personal point The general point I would make is that we are collectively, all of us, going to have to find ways in which we improve the conversation on the internet and in social media And it’s gonna be difficult to do I do not believe that there’s an effective way to censor disinformation Because if you start getting into a situation like has happened in the Chinese government or in Russia where the government’s deciding what is appropriate and what’s not and basically they have control, they’re the filter, the potential for abuse is obviously high So what that means is is that we’re gonna have to design ourselves and find ways in which we create pockets of sanity and kindness and truth (chuckles) and then build those out And we have to find ways to make those entertaining and those interesting to people And I think that is actually an interesting project collectively for groups like all of you to engage in, to have a, what sometimes the technology people call a hackathon to brainstorm about how do we build lily pads of sanity and reason on the internet that we can then slowly grow? Because I do believe that part of what’s driving our politics in a negative direction is the information overload that is coming in through social media You know, if you look historically, each time there’s been a big breakthrough in media technology, whether it was the printing press or the radio or television, you actually saw those tools creating upheaval, in part, because of the nature of the media And this is no different And by the way, it’s gonna get worse with AI because you’re gonna start seeing If you think fake news is bad now, what you’re gonna start seeing is the ability to duplicate people’s speech and figures so that it’s, distinguishing what’s true and what’s not is gonna become even more difficult So one of the things that I think in the Foundation we’re looking at is how do we join, let’s say, a conversation and a convening of this group with technologists and start coming up with strategies? And by the way, the strategies, not every one is gonna work right away So we may have to try a whole bunch of different things to see what is it that is able to penetrate and attract attention? And we’ll have to test it And I’m always trying to figure out by talking to my daughters All right, like, how long is your attention span? I know you won’t listen to me more than 10 minutes but if, I (chuckles) I’m only half joking on that one But, you know, look, Sasha’s 17 She has a different relationship with the phone and how she gets information than I do Than I do, and I have one, but I’m not,

I don’t live in it the same way she does So we’re gonna have to find ways to think about information and basically take it back from these dominant, very strategic operations Some of them are state-sponsored, some of them are sponsored by business interests The platforms themselves, just by nature, are not designed to how do we foster the most, you know, enlightened democratic conversation They’re designed to how do we get the most clicks So you have these large, both business interests, political interests, that are being very strategic about this space, and we don’t have, I think, the same kind of strategic thinking around this space, which is part of the reason why sometimes it feels as if we’re not communicating effectively relative to, say, right wing groups getting their message out to their constituents in this time All right Okay, I haven’t, I don’t think I’ve gotten this side So I think this side needs a little attention Yeah, go ahead Yes, I called on you (audience laughing) You seem surprised – I didn’t see you because of the light – I see, okay Yeah, that makes sense – Now I can see better Hi So my name is Jelena and I come from Croatia I’m not sure is it a speech or a question, but I’ll be quick – That’s fine – I will speak from the segment of a private sector, social innovation and social entrepreneurship Little bit about me I run a social enterprise called Family Tales We create fairy tales for children based on their life experiences, trying to solve their problems It started as a business just like turning parents’ love stories into bedtime stories for their kids – That’s nice – Until I wrote a first fairy tale for a child who didn’t have a parent Since then I wrote about 150 fairy tales for orphans by myself – Oh, that’s wonderful – And I’m teaching others to do the same – That’s great – And I decided to stop the business part and just to try to build a cure for these children and turn what I’m doing into official therapy methodology And I’m working on it And nothing on that path didn’t frustrate me, not the lack of money funding and all these like regular stuff But the lack of understanding from government and bureaucracy is something that it’s, few times almost caused me like giving up because you come to the point where you can do everything but if you don’t have a support from your government, you can’t implement your innovation into this world Because many times and in many segments the world is not practical for social change and for social innovation So my question would be, and it may sound a little bit naive, is there a way to trigger that change in the government to make them to start understanding how important it is to give us the support other than becoming an activist? Because I don’t think I can do that Maybe I can Apparently you can motivate people (chuckles) (audience chuckling) After your answer, maybe – Well, look, I mean, I do believe that you can become an activist You’re already an activist in some ways because what started as you doing something commercially, you became passionate about it and now you want the world to know how children can be helped through what you’re doing and that’s activism And the question then is, is there a way for you to interact with government and have them recognize that this may be a useful tool? Yes, you’re gonna have to be active So sorry It’s too late You’re already down that path Look, there are a couple of ways to get governments to be more responsive One is, I already spoke about, you vote Even better than voting is to have a platform ahead of politicians voting so that you ask them questions and force them to respond and make commitments And then you vote (chuckles) So that they feel some pressure

to follow through on the commitments that they’ve made But even when you have well-meaning politicians and elected officials representing you, there’s still gonna be frustrations around government because look, governments are human institutions and they’re big and there are a lot of people involved I always tell the story, the first week that I became president, I was in a meeting with the Secretary of Defense at the time who had been there a very long time He had been in Washington and served seven presidents And I said, you know, I’m the new young president I say what advice do you have for me in terms of what I should expect? He said, “Mr. President, you now have “a little over two million people working for you “and a budget of $1 1/2 trillion “One thing you can know for certain “is that every minute of every day “somebody somewhere is screwing up “Somebody somewhere out of those two million people “is doing something really stupid right now.” Which is true Because, look, it’s just a big organization And even a well-run organization, you’ve got people out there and there’s gonna be frustration and bureaucracy and sometimes there are rules that are set up that seem like sensible rules Right? So you pass a law we don’t want somebody in government just giving somebody a contract without first confirming that the money’s being well spent Well, that’s a sensible rule, except okay, how do we determine that the money’s not well spent? Now we gotta have a bunch of committees and processes and application forms And all of these flow from a good idea but if you have a good idea and you’re trying to get government to act and now it’s six months or a year and you’re still waiting, it can seem frustrating And I will say, by the way, Europeans, you guys like a lot of rules and a lot of meetings (audience laughing) And you’ve got a lot of governments It’s hard to keep up sometimes (chuckles) Okay, you got the Commission and you got the Parliament and you got this and you got that When I used to come over for meetings, I’d be like didn’t I just meet with them? No, that’s a different thing This is this (audience laughing) Okay, and everybody’s talking for a long time (audience chuckling) So, you know, I understand that frustration But the point I’m making is, in addition to electing good people, one of the things that you can do, I think, is encourage and work with governments to identify where are bottlenecks, where are inefficiencies that could potentially be solved and then finding allies to help improve processes inside of government So rather than just complain, one of the things you can do is to find some, you know, smart young politician who’s a progressive and wants to try new things and say hey, how ’bout let’s put these application processes online and so that before I come down to the office, you can tell me ahead of time what information I need to bring Right? Just simple things, that can increase in sophistication over time but can make government work better The point is, I think sometimes we think of the government as this thing that is separate from us But if we’re active citizens, then part of our job is not just to get government to respond to us, it’s also to improve the government Make it work better so that the person who comes after us trying to get something done won’t have the same frustrations Right? And that, I think, requires somebody on the inside as well as somebody on the outside You’ve gotta have people on the outside pushing and then you’ve gotta have people on the inside who are willing to be pushed And it means that when you’re interacting with government, having constructive ideas If you come, if you experience a frustration, then the next time you’re with a Parliamentarian or some government official

who you’re trying to get action from, you should say to them in a, not in a mean way Not like you guys are terrible and stupid, but say, you know, I just want you to know that like I had to wait for six months and maybe if, why is that? Is there something we can do? I have an organization here I can be supportive and, you know, helping you just make this office work better in this issue that we care deeply about and I’m sure you do too Right? So there may be ways But you have to take some ownership over that All right Let’s see Yes Right here – Me? – Yes, yes No, no, no, no Well, you know what? I’ll call on you just so you don’t feel depressed but this young lady I had called on first – All right, she’s got– – Is that fair? – Yes – Yes, I think it’s fair – Hi – Hi Oh, no, no, no, no See, bad, I, nobody– (audience laughing) – He gave me the microphone I’m sorry – Yeah, yeah, this one right here I didn’t even see you having your hand up (audience chuckling) – Hi, again from me also It’s a pleasure to be here My name is Koubra I’m a writer and an activist and I’ve been an activist for 15 years, half my life And over the course of the last years I realized that we all know how the human brain works You present a problem and then we come up with the solutions – Well, that’s how it should work I’m not sure that’s how it actually works but that’s okay – And what drives us to see things differently, what drives us is to have a different world, to strive for a different world So we come up with all these solutions to different problems that we come across and all the time, you know, we try to create, I would try to create solutions for larger problems But over the course of the years I realized that maybe what we’re only doing is fixing a system that in and of itself is broken And what I’m missing is questions like who’s our society designed for? What kind of people do we think about when we design our society? (audience applauding) And over the course of the years I realized that trying to solve problems might also be a way to keep the system working And I wonder, do we need more or different conversations on how we want to design society more generally? And also think about conversations like, we have no idea what it’s like to live in a just world We have no idea what it’s like to live in a world that does not discriminate based on gender, race, economic status, and so on and so on We have no idea what the future looks like So we constantly come up with solutions, constantly try and change things, and I wonder, do we need a different conversation? Should we stop fixing problems or maybe not stop fixing problems but while also we’re doing it, also think about larger questions so that we can come up with true visions Not only visions that have a solution for a time span of five years, but long-lasting, sustainable solutions (audience applauding) – Well look, I mean I think This is an age-old debate, what you just described Right? Which is you start off in an imperfect world, all right? What I used to call the world as it is Like fish in a bowl, sometimes we are trapped by just what we see around us It’s hard for us to get outside of that bowl and to imagine an entirely different set of possibilities And it may be that the world as it should be requires a completely radical set of new institutions and new ways to think about human relationships and of an entirely different paradigm Right? But here’s the thing is in the world as it is there’s a child that’s hungry right now And in the world as it is, there are some migrant families that are behind barbed wire And in the world as it is, I’ve got a young man who wants

to work but can’t find a job Our task, at least I view my task, as being how do I navigate between the world as it is and the world as it should be and I’d like it to be? And by definition what that means is that I have to keep one foot in reality even as I’m imagining something better And yes, that may constrain what I consider to be possible But this is why I’m not a philosopher I’m not a theoretician There is a role for them to play also To write and to think and to completely free themselves from the constraints of the world as it is And I respect that I want thinkers like that who are out there But in the meantime, I’m here In the mud, in the dirt And so there I do have constraints And I have to continually guard against thinking okay, only this is possible, when, in fact, if I was bolder, more would be possible But the one thing I would caution about is thinking that, ’cause I saw everybody doing this thing The one thing I would caution about is thinking somehow that change in societies happen quickly or happen because you think boldly Societies are somewhat sticky And what that means is that everybody, you know, we grow up in, surrounded by all kinds of social structures and expectations and habits and norms and customs When you start trying to radically change things quickly, the track record has not been great It hasn’t been So let’s imagine, for example, we’ll just take an example This wasn’t one you used but I’ll just use an example Right now global capitalism is creating large-scale inequality We’ll set aside the issue of environmental sustainability for a second Let’s just talk about economics It is creating large-scale inequality and that inequality is accelerating And it’s true in every society It’s true between countries It’s true within countries And it seems to be getting progressively worse And part of that can be explained by the fact that the more technologically driven the economy is, the more redundant labor is and can be replaced It means that if I have the ability to leverage the technology, I now have a global market I can make huge amounts of profit very quickly I don’t have to employ as many people And that gives me a huge share of society’s productivity versus somebody who is unskilled and only has their labor to offer, right? So we could have a long discussion about that Now, what do we do about that? It is certainly true that we have to If we we don’t figure out a way in which all people feel as if they’ve got a stake in the economic order and can support families and feel productive, then political chaos eventually will reign And we’ll see backlash and radicalism from the right and the left and resentments will grow So we’ve gotta figure this out But I would say that some societies are doing better than others Hey, if you go to the Scandinavian countries, they’re not perfect, it hasn’t eliminated inequality but you know what? Actually it’s done pretty good (chuckles) And it’s not that radical, you know Basically their solution has been, we’ll tax people more, (chuckles) we’ll tax the rich people more and then we will give better public services to the people

who are not as rich Now, has that eliminated completely groups that are being discriminated against? Of course not Does that, has that accommodated immigrants who are viewed as well, that’s, this program shouldn’t be for them? Of course not So that’s not a radical change That’s not a perfect change But it’s better than societies that don’t have these issues I tell you, if you are a single mother in the United States right now who’s poor, it’s a lot harder for you to get decent child care and help raise your child than it is in Finland And that difference is significant So the question then becomes, yes, we have to continually re-imagine maybe even something larger than that, something completely much more radically generous towards each other, but in the meantime, I’d like to see improvements And I know you don’t necessarily disagree with this My only point is, I think we have to be careful in balancing big dreams and bold ideas with also recognizing that, typically, change happens in steps And if you wanna skip steps, you can Historically what’s ended up happening is sometimes if you skip too many steps, you end up having bad outcomes Not always, but sometimes Oh, I promised that I would call on that gentleman right there – Thank you And by the way, one of your staff just came up to me and said this was gonna be the last question, so make it good (audience chuckling) – Oh, wow – No pressure And also said make it quick otherwise you would miss your flight (audience laughing) But you know that would be pretty cool to make Obama miss his flight by asking a long question (audience laughing) So my name’s Nick I’m a Brexit migrant based in Berlin now and working for Ashoka which is a global community of social entrepreneurs (audience applauding) And we have a, we have a bigger bit crazy vision of actually empowering every citizen as an agent of positive change And my question to you regarding that would be, how can we give every child as young as possible the chance top find their power to change the world? So how important do you think that is that at a very young age and how can we do it? – You know, I think it’s really important It turns out that habits of, habits of participation and voting and involvement, there’s a direct correlation between people who start early and young and what they do in adulthood And if we are teaching young people their power early, they will sustain that power over the long term I mean, Michelle and I talk about with our daughters, we were actually relatively strict parents, I have to confess, in the sense that we tried to give them structure But we always would talk to them as if they were adults, as if they weren’t stupid about what we were doing So, you know, we wouldn’t just say, go to bed because you have to go to bed We’d say well, you know, go to bed ’cause you get cranky when you’re tired and tomorrow you’ve gotta go to school and so forth and so on And then they’d, if they had an argument, we’d say okay, you know, give us your best argument And since they were six, usually we’d win the argument ’cause they hadn’t thought (audience laughing) things through that much But what that did was it, right, it teaches independence of thinking and a sense of, okay, I’m being listened to and I’ve got the ability to make an argument The same is true in our public life, in our schools, in our civic settings And I think that kind of empowerment

is critically important And the earlier you start, the better it is And one of the things that we’re gonna be interested in doing is working with groups like all of yours to think about how do you communicate, not just with your peers, but also with the people coming behind you because those are gonna be your future voters, your future constituents, your future leaders And starting that conversation earlier rather than later You know, the Friday movement that’s been taking place around climate change is (audience applauding) A lot of those people can’t vote, right? They’re too young to vote yet But they know what’s going on And they’re making change And those habits and that sense of power that they are developing now, that’s gonna carry over for the rest of their lives So it’s something that I think is very much on our agenda and we’re gonna want to strategize and think about how we can approach that, how we can do it Okay? Good Even though I said last question, I always take one extra one So gentleman right here (audience applauding and cheering) Oh, he’s got, what, you guys, you guys know this guy? – That’s my team – That’s your team You got your crew – Mr. President, my name is Danny Gyamerah I’m Chairman of Each One Teach One and it’s probably the largest black-led employment organization in Germany – Excellent – We have about 8000 books by people of African descent and we strive to empower youth and do anti-discrimination work and so on – Excellent – And I want to ask you if you can help us to start a 10 million civil society fund for people of African descent because we have the knowledge, we have the people but we don’t have access to funding It would be really great if you could come here and support us in doing that – Well, I tell you what (audience applauding) So first of all, I wanna hear more about the work you’re doing And second of all, as is true for all the groups that are here, I recognize that, you know, yeah, okay, I wanna hear Obama’s advice and ideas, blah, blah, blah, but you know what I really could use is a check (audience laughing) I’ve been there No, I get it But, what I will, what I will commit to all of you is that as we develop a pool of donors who are interested in these issues, hopefully we can create a consortium that, as it learns about what various organizations are doing, we can say oh, you’re interested in this? Well, Reach One Teach One’s doing great work You should contact them Or oh, you’re interested in climate? This organization’s doing great work and we can channel those resources Keep in mind that we’re not just focused on Europe, so it’s great work that you’re doing on behalf of the African diaspora in Europe but we’re also working in Africa (chuckles) where they also would like some financial support So we’re, and Asia and, right? So in each of these areas, part of what we’re doing, and sprinkled among you, by the way, are some donors who have been listening and watching this process that we’ve engaged and invited to be inspired by all of you, part of our goal would be to set up essentially a clearinghouse for philanthropic efforts regionally so that you all have direct access I don’t even have to necessarily be an intermediary, in which you have more access to talk to and directly work with people who are interested in supporting the work that you’re doing ‘Cause I’ve been on the other side trying to raise money And it’s, you know, sometimes it’s hard I was talking to some donors earlier about the fact that, you know, the safe thing to do is ah, I give to a museum or I give to a, you know, hospital or I give to a well-established charity because there’s no possibility of controversy

And I said to these donors, I said look, admittedly if you fund and engage with social activists who are trying to bring about systemic change and re-imagine how society might work together, there are probably some more risks involved because it’s harder ‘Cause in some cases it hasn’t been done before I mean, we haven’t been confronted before with a situation where we had to stop the planet from getting completely burned (chuckles) We haven’t dealt before with some of the issues that we are dealing with or we haven’t dealt with them wisely and well before So we’re creating new models So there’s gonna be some risks involved But if you don’t want to see a continuation of current trends, if you want to actually see progress, then you have to invest, just like venture capitalists invest in start-ups, you have to invest in folks who are trying new things And yes, there’s more risks, but there’s also most upside And I truly believe that My belief is, investing in you is our best investment And what I can do more than anything, I think, is to spotlight, highlight, bring attention to the work you’re doing, and occasionally maybe, you know, give a little inspiration But your work will speak for itself and will potentially, I think, not only inspire donors but, more importantly, change the world (audience applauding) So thank you very much, everybody It was good to see you Thank you! Thank you!