By Bernadette Meehan, International Programs

President Barack Obama poses for a photo in front of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, Burma, Nov. 19, 2012 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

On March 19th, President Obama will head to Singapore to meet with emerging leaders from Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. He will have the opportunity to hear about the work they’re doing in their communities, and to discuss what the Obama Foundation can do to support their journeys to create change. They will also brainstorm about how emerging leaders across ASEAN countries can work together to promote sustainable growth. …


By Bernadette Meehan, International Programming

In the year since I started working at the Obama Foundation, our International Team has traveled to Germany, Indonesia, Colombia, Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria, China, and India to meet with hundreds of young leaders looking to create change in their communities. We met with leaders who are already making an impact and those who are interested in becoming more involved in their communities but aren’t sure how; students who have started their own organizations; and impassioned young people who want to change their world.

I have been so inspired by every one of these young…


By Bernadette Meehan, International Programs, Obama Foundation

This year, President Obama has hosted events with young people in Germany, Indonesia, and Brazil; now, he is going to India.

As one of the most culturally, religiously, linguistically, and ethnically diverse nations on earth, India’s democracy shows us the collective strength of engagement within and across communities. Most of India’s 1 billion people are under 35 years old, an engaged and passionate generation that includes Members of Parliament, Village Sarpanchs, scientists, artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, and civic leaders who are finding innovative ways to create positive change across India — change that benefits…


By Bernadette Meehan, International Programs, Obama Foundation

Earlier this year, ahead of President Obama’s trip to Berlin for the Obama Foundation’s first international event, I wrote an email to let people know that the Foundation will be actively involved in supporting young leaders around the world as they seek to improve their communities and create change at a local, national, and global level. Giovanni Anzola-Pardo, Director of International Affairs at La Salle University in Bogotá, Colombia read my email and wrote to me about it.

As one of the organizers of a summit on peacebuilding, Giovanni was working with seven…


By Evie Freeman, Digital Analyst, and Manon Murray, Editorial Associate, Obama Foundation

Last week, the Obama Foundation’s chief digital officer, Glenn Brown, wrote that the first step towards restoring “the original promise of the Internet, one of openness, inclusion, and a great leveling of opportunity to be heard,” is to talk about it.

Glenn kicked off a conversation on this topic with a few open questions on models of good digital citizenship, which people or organizations exemplify digital citizenship, and what questions or topics should drive this conversation. And you answered.

We spent the past week reading through your thoughtful…


By Glenn Brown, Chief Digital Officer, Obama Foundation

Last time I posted here, I called for your help with the Obama Foundation’s work on digital citizenship, about what it means to be a good citizen online.

The original promise of the Internet was one of openness, inclusion, and a great leveling of opportunity to be heard — and with all that, a healthy, genuine competition between different points of view.

Going online was supposed to help us learn across differences, to face challenging new information, and to connect with people from wildly diverse geographic, cultural, and ideological backgrounds — in…


Michael Strautmanis, Vice President of Civic Engagement for the Obama Foundation, shared some life lessons with the University of Illinois College of Law Class of 2017. Read his inspiring message:

The year was 1994 and I was preparing to carve my place in the world as a newly-minted University of Illinois graduate.

Thinking back to that day, I have to be honest with you: I was kind of scared. I remember trying to convince myself — and everyone around me — that I knew what I was doing.

I guess I must have been pretty convincing. After all, unlike a…


On May 25, President Obama and Chancellor Merkel will join young leaders for a conversation about civic engagement at the Brandenburg Gate.

By Bernadette Meehan, International Programs, Obama Foundation

In his famous Day of Affirmation Address, Robert F. Kennedy called youth “the only true international community.”

While in office, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to dozens of countries with vastly different political systems, languages, cultures, and religions. No matter where they traveled, they made time to meet with young people — at town halls, entrepreneurship summits, civil society roundtables, and girls’ education events. …


By Glenn Brown, Chief Digital Officer, Obama Foundation

In March last year, President Obama appeared at South by Southwest Interactive with a specific mission:

The reason I’m here really is to recruit all of you. It’s to say to you as I’m about to leave office, how can we start coming up with new platforms, new ideas, new approaches across disciplines and across skill sets to solve some of the big problems that we’re facing today. Because, I’ve said this before, I said this at the State of the Union, the most important office in a democracy is the office of citizen.

https://www.youtube.com/user/sxsw

Sitting in the audience, I took President Obama’s challenge to heart, perhaps a tad…

The Obama Foundation

“I’m asking you to believe. Not in my ability to create change — but in yours.” President Barack Obama

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