NEW: President Obama will make his first real public appearance in Chicago on Monday, and to a familiar audience: young community organizers
— Gregory Korte (@gregorykorte) April 21, 2017
Former President Barack Obama will speak to young people at the University of Chicago on Monday, returning to the city for what will be his first public event since leaving the White House.
Obama and young leaders will hold a conversation on civic engagement and discuss community organizing at the university’s Logan Center for the Arts, his office announced Friday.
Hundreds of people are expected to attend, chosen from area universities that were given tickets for distribution, said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president. About six young people will appear on stage with him for the 11 a.m. discussion, he said.
The event will be a homecoming for Obama on multiple levels. He formerly taught constitutional law at the U. of C., and his family has a home nearby in the Kenwood neighborhood. He gave his farewell address in January in the city that launched his political career. And the discussion with students lets the former president, who came to Chicago to work as a young community organizer, fulfill one of the commitments he set out for his post-presidential years: to engage and work with the country’s next generation of leaders, Lewis said…
No tickets remain for distribution to the general public, but the event will be televised. Former first lady Michelle Obama is not expected to accompany her husband on the trip, Lewis said.
The participants on stage with Obama are expected to range from high school to college to recent university graduates. According to Lewis, they have all been chosen and are from the Chicago area, but their names were not released Friday…
Obama has been writing his memoirs amid a succession of celebrity-filled vacations intended to allow him and the former first lady to decompress. Reports have had him as far away as Tetiaroa, a French Polynesian island once owned by Marlon Brando.
Now, the timing of the Chicago event suggests an increasing public profile for the former leader. On May 7, he will be in Boston to receive the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Profile in Courage award. It’s being called the centennial award because Kennedy was born 100 years ago.
What else is on the agenda, as we wrap up the week?