Former President Barack Obama will host a “town-hall” in New Delhi Dec. 1, meeting with hundreds of young Indian leaders from across the country.
The event is being organized by the Obama Foundation, created in 2014 to continue the popular president’s work after he left office. The Foundation is headquartered on Chicago’s South Side, where Obama worked as a community organizer before beginning his political career.
“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,” noted the Obama Foundation in a press release announcing the town-hall meeting in New Delhi.
“Most of India’s one 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 the world.”
“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,” stated the Obama Foundation.
Participants for the forum were chosen via an application process, in which applicants were invited to tell their stories of how they were leading change in their communities.
“Young Indians like you aren’t just going to define the future of this nation, you’re going to shape the world,” Obama told a group of youngsters at a town-hall meeting at the Siri Fort in New Delhi on Jan. 27, 2015. The former president was visiting India for Republic Day celebrations via an invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This year, the Obama Foundation has hosted similar events in Germany, Indonesia, and Brazil. The town-hall meeting in New Delhi comes on the heels of the Obama Foundation’s inaugural summit held last month in Chicago.
Featured speakers at the Chicago summit included Trisha Shetty, founder of the Mumbai-based organization SheSays, which aims to empower men and women to stand up against sexual abuse; and Bangalore native Sanchana Krishnan, who has battled with bi-polar disorder since she was a child, and has founded Living Stories, a portal allowing people with mental health issues to share their stories and get the support and help they need.
“I have been incredibly impressed by the young people we are getting to know around the world. Trisha and Sanchana represent a generation of leadership that is focused on working with their communities, not just for them,” said Obama in a press statement.
“It is this community-based change that will empower young leaders to make their neighborhoods and nations live up to their potential. I can’t wait to hear more about the unique initiatives young Indian leaders have started in their communities,” said the president.