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Obama: Greece's impact on Western history and messages to young people

Featured Obama: Greece's impact on Western history and messages to young people

The remarkable impact of Greece on European, Western and world history was mentioned by the former US president, Barack Obama, addressing the more than 100 fellows of the "Obama Foundation Leaders" program, which rewards the new generation of leaders.

In a packed room at the Wyndham Grand Athens hotel located in downtown Athens, Barack Obama received a standing ovation from the audience, talking about how eager he is to see everyone who attended change the world. "I'm most excited about the prospects, combined with what you do individually, of making connections that will last throughout your career, across borders, across continents."

The former US president referred - among other things - to the effects of the war in Ukraine not only in terms of the destruction of the country, but also the food crisis in Africa, energy, climate change and democratic values throughout the world. people.


In this context, he made special reference to Greece, stressing that it is admirable how a small country had such a great contribution to world culture.

Underlining the importance of hosting this event in the Greek capital, Barack Obama said: "Greece is not the most fertile land, it is full of stones. At the same time, it is not the largest country in the world. Considering the profound impact Greece has had on European, Western and world history, it is something to be admired. This is partly to do with the fact that Greece was and is a crossroads, between East and West, North and South, with shipping and trade helping to spread ideas."

"The power of brainstorming, comparing values, and sharing stories pushes your imagination in ways that are ultimately indicators of progress," he pointed out.

The super power he would like to have

With over 100 Obama Leaders program scholars in front of him, the former US president had a short conversation with his sister and Foundation advisor Maya Soetoro, during which he recalled his childhood, emphasizing that he has a " package" with very good memories. Of particular interest was his answer to a question about what superpower he would like to have: "I used to say I wanted to speak every language in the world, even aliens or dolphins. Now google translate has come to do that job, so I would choose the super power of being able to sleep just one hour every night at night and feel and function well."

Immediately following the panel of four alumni with Barack Obama, the former president of the United States in the role of journalist asked a series of questions to Martina Kolesarova from Slovakia, head of the Pontis Foundation, the largest non-profit organization in Slovakia, Kelvin Tan from Malaysia, founder of project ID which promotes student leadership, Chipo Zhou from Zimbabwe, founder of Opihc a strategic communication company based in South Africa and Thuba Sibanda from Namibia, head of PAY which promotes sports in education .

During the conversation with the four young people, Barack Obama sent clear messages of courage in a world "that is cruel", but - as he said - "you are not alone and that should inspire you, that inspires me".

“When some of that magic goes away and you feel let down, it's not just going to happen to you. That's the nature of your job. The good news is that you are not alone," he noted.

Obama leaders

This meeting marked the completion of the six-month journey of participants from 75 countries in the 2023 program, with the former US president talking to four Obama leaders about their actions in the direction of development and acceleration of positive and lasting change in communities their.

It is worth noting that the event was prefaced by the Greek Obama leader Anastasia (Elpida) Kokkota, founder and managing director of the non-profit organization "Mexoxo", which aims to strengthen female entrepreneurship.

As highlighted, "Mexoxo" was created in 2013 and is a non-profit organization that supports the socio-economic development of women in Mexico, the USA, Nepal, Liberia and Greece through educational activities on the subject of entrepreneurship.

The program

The "Obama Foundation Leaders" program identifies individuals who work in the public sector and private sectors and in civil society, which have demonstrated work in promoting the common good with an emphasis – as pointed out – on shared values and ethical leadership, which were the vision of Barack and Michelle Obama. Through empowering them and developing leadership skills, the Obama Foundation aims to raise a new generation of active citizens, a new generation of leaders, who will act as positive role models and create tangible solutions to the challenges facing the world.