Barack Obama Explains New Presidential Center in Letterman Netflix Interview

By Aaron Brophy 1/15/18 |

Barack Obama on David Letterman's new Netflix program — screencap via Netflix
Former U.S. president Barack Obama used his high-profile appearance on the debut episode of Netflix's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman interview program to explain the vision behind the soon-to-be-built Obama Presidential Center.

According to Obama, the Presidential Center will be used to inspire young people. Overseen by the Obama Foundation, the former president's charitable venture, the Presidential Center will be built on Chicago's south side. Construction is expected to be completed by 2021 and the project will include a museum, forum, plaza, library and athletic centre.

Obama said he wants the facility be be used to train leaders.

"I had to ask myself what will be most impactful? What will be most useful?" Obama told Letterman. "What I realized was that the thing that I could uniquely do is work to train the next generation of leaders to bring about change.

"During my presidency we traveled all around the country and all around the world and we made a habit of me having town halls with young people. Some of them had already accomplished remarkable things. And they'd meet each other and trade ideas and excite each other and stay in contact and over time we had networks of hundreds of thousands of these young leaders around the world and around the country and we thought, 'How can we make that more systematic?'

"So really it's designed to be a hub for young people who want to learn how they can have an impact to convene, get trained, get mentored, get supported."

Obama said it wouldn't just be a place to train people for a life of politics. If young people used what they learned there to support their communities that would be valuable, too.

"Not everybody's going to march or go into politics," he said. "They might go into their local community and do something good. They might encourage their friends and neighbours to learn about the issues and vote.

"We're social animals and if we see others who are volunteering they may think, 'Maybe, I'll volunteer.' They see others voting, 'Maybe, I'll vote.' If they feel as if there's a community around them that says this is the norm for us to feel like we have a say in our lives and we can connect with people even if they don't look exactly like we do, or worship in the exact same way, or have the same sexual orientation, but we have these common interests involved and that's the habits of the heart that we've developed."

Watch Obama discuss The Obama Presidential Center


* is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.