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Obama’s first public address post presidency


New York, April 24 (IANS) Three months after leaving the White House, former US President Barack Obama will deliver his first public remarks of his post-presidency on Monday, a media report has said.

Obama is slated to speak with young leaders in his adopted hometown of Chicago, CNN reported.

The event at the University of Chicago was billed by his office as a "conversation on community organising and civic engagement" and a part of Obama’s goal to "encourage and support the next generation of leaders".

The former President wanted to have an event where he could speak directly to young people, a source close to Obama told CNN.

Three hundred students from universities around the Chicago area were invited to attend the event.

Obama would take the stage with six students, and while they would ask questions of one another, they were not expected to take questions from the audience, the source told CNN.

The 44th President’s public appearance would also come just days ahead of the 100-day mark for President Donald Trump.

A spokesperson did not say whether Obama planned to address specific current events, but the highly anticipated gathering would provide an opportunity for him to weigh in publicly on his successor’s first months in office.

A source also said Obama did not intend to confront Trump on policy, CNN reported.

One issue that was clearly on the former President’s mind was the ongoing Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, his landmark health care law.

He defended the Affordable Care Act on its seventh anniversary in March, saying in a statement: "Health care is not a privilege for a few, but a right for everybody."

On Sunday, Obama spoke at a roundtable discussion with young men from the Chicago Create Real Economic Destiny program, which aims to provide job skills and positive connections to at-risk youth.

He made that appearance at the invitation of the program’s founder, Arne Duncan, who was Education Secretary under Obama, CNN reported.

"President Obama listened to the young men’s stories and shared some of the challenges that he faced growing up," Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis said.

"He expressed that he was optimistic about their potential to positively contribute to their communities and support their families because of the services provided in the program."

For the most part, Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama have stayed clear of the public spotlight since leaving the White House.

The former President has been spotted playing golf and vacationing on a private island in the Caribbean, but his schedule has been kept tightly under wraps.

The Obamas were penning memoirs, landing a deal with Penguin Random House that could yield them tens of millions of dollars.

The couple plans to live in Washington until their younger daughter, Sasha, graduates high school in 2019.

Obama was also slated to appear with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin in late May and was due to accept an award in Boston prior to that.

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