Barack Obama town hall updates: Former US president tells youth not to feel limited if they want bring in change

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Barack Obama town hall updates: Former US president tells youth not to feel limited if they want bring in change
  • 17:37 (IST)

    Do not feel limited by one way of bringing change, says Obama

    Obama urged the young leaders to do what is satisfying to them and what is the best way to deploy their talent for reforms. "There are so many different ways to bring about change, to do good, and to help people. No one should feel limited to one way of doing it," he added. 

    "The key is to find what is right for you and not just what feels as if you are having the most impact, but what is giving you the most strength and satisfaction," Obama said. "Those small steps of courage, those single steps, will make India better and the world a better place," he emphasised. 

  • 17:30 (IST)

    Automation, globalisation will be global challenges to employment, Obama predicts 

    Obama said that there would be concerns about job creation in the near future. He pointed out that the unemployment rate in the United States is now low thanks to some policies that he put in place as president, but he said that change was afoot. He said that the global challenge that people will face is globalisation and automation. He added that India will keep generating blue collar and manufacturing jobs, but that every country, no matter how advanced, will have a deficit in the percentage of jobs available in the marker.

    He said that governments need to be more responsive and respond to this fact that there is a need to build models that will facilitate the transition to a new model to create jobs despite automation. "You have to be in front of change rather than resisting change," he said that he urged teachers who were resisting changes to the traditional model, saying that certain changes were needed to promote employment and job creation. 

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    17:15 (IST)

    Barack's 'Thanks Obama' moment: 

    "When I was president, we set up global entrepreneurship summits," Obama said casually. When reminded by an audience member that GES 2017 happened in Hyderabad yesterday and that it was a "very good model," the former president exclaimed "Thanks Obama," referring to a popular meme associated with the leader and his presidency, as said by Washington Post

  • 17:09 (IST)

    Find out what it is that people are concerned about, Obama tells youth leaders

    "If you've spent time listening and finding out what it is that people themselves are concerned about, you will shape your efforts and your agenda in a way that people will be responsive to," Obama said at the town hall in New Delhi. He said that some of his biggest detractors in his presidency were his supporters, rather than his opposers. He said that he constantly told his staff to develop a thick skin to criticism for the sake of bringing about change. "If we walk away with some better, take it!" he said about taking criticism in stride. 

  • 17:04 (IST)

    You can't be a purist if you want to bring change, says Obama  

    It is harder to bring about change in the present political climate because "there is so much noise," Obama acknowledged at the town hall. "Conflict, sound bites and tweets get more attention in the media and there is no dialogue," he said. "There is just a constant contest for attention across social media and airwaves," he asserted, saying that constructive debate was losing relevance in social media and broadcast. 

    Obama urged the audience to listen to the other side of the spectrum on the issue they were fighting for. He said that they should go forward to hear their opinion and start a discussion. "People who are not responsive or on the other side of the issue you believe in, you can reach them," he said, adding that it was the only way to convince them, compromise and bring about reforms. "You can't be a purist if you want to bring change. You will never get a 100 percent of what you want. You will never get a 100 percent of justice," he said, advocating incremental change. "That is how change works in nature, That is how change works in societies," he emphasised.

  • 16:59 (IST)

    Recap: Obama emphasised the power of the people in his townhall as well at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 

  • 16:55 (IST)

    "Empower young people once they are involved," Obama urges leadership on including youth in organisations

    Obama gave the example of political parties, saying that one of the things he saw in his travels around the world is that political parties have "really old people who have been there forever." He said that he was a proud member of the Democratic party, "but we have members who have been in the party since I was in school." Over time, if you have been a leader for too long in the same spot, you start losing touch, you get set in your ways," he added. "What is true for political parties, is true for every organisation," he added, saying that it is important to mentor youth and empower them once they are involved in society. 

    He acknowledged that millennials get a bad rap worldwide, and that "people have to earn their stripes," but young people shouldn't be sold short. He emphasised that they should be given responsibility and that if they mess up, they need to be told what they do wrong, reiterating the need for mentoring youth and giving them responsibility. 

  • 16:40 (IST)

    Think about allies that are available to you to mobilise change, Obama tells transgender rights activist 

    When asked by a transgender activist what the sexual minority of transgenders could do to have their voice heard when homosexuality isn't decriminalised, when the "State is against minorities" and when the transgender protection rights bill is not being discussed, Obama said that the community needs to "find their voice and make it heard to articulate their views and tell their story." He believes that the community needs to do this, so that the public can see your humanity. 

    He also spoke of the role of allies to promote and give backing to causes. Giving an example, he said that whether the issues were climate change or public health, the task would be to find an intersection between these issues. He told the activist to speak with women's groups, groups who focused on prevention of sexual assault and other alliances, once that happens, it was a matter of applying political pressure and mobilizing public opinion. "And this is going to take time," he added, saying that change would come only with determination.  

  • 16:28 (IST)

    "Change is hard, do not get discouraged," says Obama

    "Know ahead of time that change is hard, so you are not getting discouraged. Try to break up your efforts into bite-sized manageable pieces," Obama advised to his audience of over 300 young Indians. He also made it a point to remind the youngsters to take time to have some fun, only then can they maintain the balance to have change. 

  • 16:21 (IST)

    Watch the Obama's town hall in New Delhi live here: 

  • 16:19 (IST)

    Obama reiterates his point that there has never been a better time to be a young person than today in his townhall in New Delhi

  • 16:18 (IST)

    Technology can be a force for social good, says Obama  

    Obama said that technology can be a force of social good, but it can also lead to isolation. He said that due to search algorithms, their preconceived biases are reinforced by technology, and they are never forced to interact with someone who has a differing opinion. "There need to be conversations that force you out of your comfort zone," he said, adding that the Obama Foundation is working towards forcing people to engage with people that they would normally not meet or empathise with. He wants the foundation to work towards the betterment of communities offline. 

  • 16:13 (IST)

    India needs to focus on disease prevention and prenatal care for mothers, says Obama

    The world has never been healthier, Obama said, but there is a lot that can be done in India, he said. He said that rather than focusing on healthcare, we should focus more on preventing diseases. "The more you can emphasise prevention, the better off you will be." He added that development of science and technology can prevent diseases from taking root in the first place.

    He added that investments in basic prenatal care for mothers can bring huge returns in terms of overall health and wellness in the nation. "Since we are in Delhi, we must mention clean air as well," Obama quipped, adding that vaccinations and nutrition were other avenues India must focus on. Regarding food, Obama said, "not only do people need to have enough to eat, but they have enough variety in their diets." He added, "My hope would be that unlike developed countries, developing countries would consume more locally grown organic products and provide benefits to farmers. " 

  • 16:04 (IST)

    There's never been a better time to be a young person, says Obama 

    "There have never been more powerful tools to drive change, to make a difference, than today. There's never been a better time to be a young person than today," former president Barack Obama said today. "As troubled as the times are, As difficult as the world can seem...The world is a much better place today," he emphasised, adding that global life expectancy has grown 20 years, childhood mortality has been cut in half and marriage equality is acceptable in many places now. He said that 

    He added that many people started without money, power and other privileges, and many of them were very young. He gave the efforts of Martin Luther King Jr, saying that he was barely 20-25 years old when he began activism against segregation. "Your efforts matter," Obama concluding, opening the stage for questions from the audience.

  • 15:57 (IST)

    Obama commends the work of Trisha Shetty, founder of SheSays, an organization that’s providing tools and resources to support tens of thousands of women. Find out more about her work here: 

  • 15:51 (IST)

    Youth Ki Awaaz founder Anshul Tewari introduces Barack Obama. Find out more about his work here: 

  • 15:46 (IST)

    Young Indians are going to shape the world: Obama in 2015

    Barack Obama had addressed a similar townhall gathering at Siri Fort in New Delhi on 27 January, 2015. At the meet, he said, “Young Indians like you aren’t just going to define the future of this nation, you’re going to shape the world.”

  • 15:42 (IST)

    Recap: Obama on the US-India alliance and democracy at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit

  • 15:39 (IST)

    Modi says "it was a pleasure" to meet former president Barack Obama 

    "It was a pleasure to meet, once again, former President Barack Obama, and learn about the new initiatives being taken forward under his leadership at the Obama Foundation and his perspectives on further strengthening India-US strategic partnership," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted. 

  • 15:33 (IST)

    Here's what Obama had to say about collaborations between India and the United States at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit

  • 15:28 (IST)

    Watch the live feed of Barack Obama's Town Hall India when it begins here: 

  • Read more here ">

    15:24 (IST)

    Recap: What Barack Obama said about Modi, Manmohan and Trump

    Hailing the special relationship that India and the US share, former US president Barack Obama opened the day two of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2017 in New Delhi on Friday. The former president also weighed in on the Narendra Modi versus Manmohan Singh debate, saying both had India-US relations in mind. Obama discussed India's role in the international arena and his relationship with Modi even as he spoke about the dangers of technology.

    "America and India are alike, being defined by many different languages, dialects genders and orientations…every caste, colour and creed," Obama said highlighting what is common between the two nations. Through the day, eminent personalities such as Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, among others, will discuss India’s rise on the global stage. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was among the dignitaries as well. Obama also discussed the partnership between the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy. "We can help chart course for a better future, especially when democracy is itself being questioned."

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Former US president Barack Obama will address a town hall in New Delhi on Friday, the Obama Foundation has said.

Former US president Barack Obama laughs after answering a question during a leadership summit in New Delhi. AP

Former US president Barack Obama laughs after answering a question during a leadership summit in New Delhi. AP

Obama, who arrived in New Delhi in India on Thursday, also addressed the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.

At the town hall, the former US president, in his first visit to India after demitting office in January, will interact with nearly 300 young leaders drawn from various parts of the country.

"The town hall will expand the conversation about what it means to be an active citizen and make an impact and how the Obama Foundation can support emerging leaders in this effort," the foundation said in an update.

Obama is also likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Obama said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit that India needs to cherish and nurture its Muslim population that is integrated and considers itself Indian. It is an idea that needs to be reinforced, he added.

Obama said he had emphasised the need for religious tolerance and the right to practice one's own faith during closed-door door talks with Modi during his last trip to India in 2015.

The 44th US president, who held office between 2009 and 2017, had made similar comments during a public interaction on the last day of his visit as president, which had come against the backdrop of controversy over religious conversions.

During his five-day trip to Asia and France, Obama is also likely to have meetings with the leaders of China. While this town hall for youngsters has become a signature event that Obama has become known for worldwide during his eight years in office, his trip may garner particular attention for more political reasons.  Given that many foreign countries are still uncertain about US president Donald Trump's foreign policy, PTI reports that leaders may look to his predecessor to help explain America's current direction.

This year, President Obama has also hosted events similar to Friday's event in New Delhi in Germany, Indonesia, and Brazil.

With inputs from agencies


Updated Date: Dec 01, 2017 17:49 PM

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