Obama Summit Kicks Off

The Obama Foundation is kicking off its first global summit today and Wednesday with about 500 folks attending sessions in Chicago on a variety of subjects, with the emphasis on “active citizenship” more than the specific causes Barack Obamachampioned when he was president. Obama will be joined by former First Lady Michelle, Prince Harry, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dolores Huerta, Chance the Rapper, Common, actress Rashida Jones, Melody Hobson, former Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. This will also be a gathering of major figures in the Obama administration: his Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy; U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice; Senior Advisors Valerie Jarrett and David Plouffe; top Food Policy Advisor Sam Kass; plus Domestic Policy Advisor Cecilia Muñoz. The summit is designed for people deemed by the Foundation to be rising or established leaders. Participants are from 60 nations and 27 states, with 102 participants from Chicago. About 20,000 applied for the 500 slots. Many of the Chicagoans are from the South Side communities near the future Obama Center, to be constructed in Jackson Park (more on that below). Today will be devoted to talking about problems. Wednesday will be a look at solutions to the world’s “most pressing” problems. Some sessions include: The adventure of civility; Getting women in the room where it happens; Civic tech: What’s working and what needs to change; Building entrepreneurial ecosystems in emerging markets; Redesigning civic education for the 21st century, a forum with an emphasis on the Chicago Public Schools; Building the civic leadership pipeline; Organizing and operating at scale. The main venue is the Marriott Marquis, with a dinner tonight at the Museum of Science and Industry and a concert Wednesday night at the new Wintrust Arena near McCormick Place. More here.

Tiffany D. Cross