What’s Barack Obama been up to since he left the White House?

By Nicola Irwin

Former president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are preparing to welcome hundreds of people to Chicago for the inaugural summit of the foundation which bears their name.

The Obama Foundation will bring community leaders from around the world together for an exchange of ideas on common problems.

“We want to inspire and empower people to change the world,” Obama said in a YouTube video detailing the summit.

But what has Obama been up to since he moved out of the White House in January, other than kite-surfing in the Virgin Islands?

Obama was honoured with the JFK Profile In Courage award.

The awards were set up in 1989 by the family of the late president John F Kennedy to “recognise and celebrate the quality of political courage that he admired most” and as detailed in his Pulitzer-prize winning book Profiles In Courage.

Obama was praised for “inspiring young people across the country to enter public service” and for consistently reflecting “the definition of courage” which JFK wrote of in his book.

The citation explained that Obama “upheld the highest standards of dignity, decency and integrity, serving not just as a political leader, but a moral leader” from his campaign to his last days in office.

He’s hung out with other former presidents.

(LM Otero/AP)

Obama was on stage with Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George HW Bush and George W Bush at a hurricane relief concert in Texas. It was raising funds for relief efforts from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

And it seems the former presidents spend a fair bit of time in each others’ company.

Before the hurricane benefit, golf fan Obama was spotted with Clinton and George W Bush at the Presidents Cup golf tournament in New Jersey. Golfing great Phil Mickelson managed to get an epic selfie with the trio.

He’s become besties with Prince Harry.

Obama apparently quizzed Harry on his relationship with American actress Meghan Markle during the Invictus games in Canada – something only a friend could do. The two attended the wheelchair basketball together at the September event and even met up at Kensington Palace in May.

Harry is also one of the guests heading to the Obama Foundation Summit. His office has said he will highlight the Full Effect project in Nottingham, supported by his Royal Foundation, which aims to inspire youngsters to move away from youth violence and gang-related activities.

He’s been travelling for the foundation.

Berlin, Chicago, Jakarta, Washington DC. The former president has been meeting with young leaders around the world to get their take on hot issues to inspire his next move and the work of the foundation.

He even gave a shout-out to four German youngsters ahead of his visit to Berlin in May and students at McKinley Tech in Washington DC, where he made a surprise visit.

He gave a speech at the Gates Foundation in New York, introduced by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, talking about “changing the world”.

He quoted Nelson Mandela after the violence in Charlottesville.

Obama’s choice of wise words from Nelson Mandela hit a chord with people on Twitter where it became the platform’s most popular post.

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion…” he posted. He used follow-up posts to complete Mandela’s quote.

Obama’s post of compassion and love was seen in direct comparison to President Donald Trump’s reaction. Trump was criticised across the political spectrum for his initial response in which he said “many sides” were involved.

He’s not strayed too far away from politics.

(Steve Helber/AP)


Obama rejoined the campaign trail delivering speeches in support of Democratic candidates Ralph Northam in Virginia and Phil Murphy in New Jersey – the only two states holding governor elections this year. Voters return to the polls on November 7.

Although he never referred to his presidential successor, Obama made reference to a “better kind of politics” in his speech at a Northam rally.

“We’ve got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonise people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage,” said Obama, the Washington Post reported.

“So the question for you tonight for the next 19 days: Do you want a politics of division and distraction, or do you believe in a better kind of politics?”

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