Leadership & World Change with Barack Obama

Leadership & World Change with Barack Obama


(upbeat music) – You started as a community organizer and rose to be president,
you understand the power of moving people along, even
people who aren’t necessarily on your bus when you start. Talk to us a little bit about
how you think of movements around the world and
the power of those now and what leaders can learn from them. – Well, I’d make a couple of observations. Number one is that most big change, most
human progress is driven by young people who don’t know any better and figure, why can’t we
do something different? Old people get comfortable or cranky or protective of their
status or set in their ways, there’s a reason why if
you look at, for example, here in the United States,
the Civil Rights Movement, the leaders of those
movements were in their 20s, Dr. King was 26 when he
started, 39 when he was killed. And if you canvas the world, oftentimes, that is the impetus, people asking, in ways that I think are familiar to many, not why not, or not why, but why not? Why do things have to be the way they are? So that’s point number
one that young people, I think, can make an enormous difference. Number two is that because most of us now either live in democracies or countries that purport to be democracies,
because we have won the battle of ideas that says governments and our common efforts have to be rooted in the legitimacy of people,
there is more power than ever in people being able to band together and collectively push for initiatives that are gonna make change in their lives. That’s something that,
for most of human history, was unimaginable, that is one
of the amazing transitions that has taken place and you will notice that even in autocracies today, there is the at least the pretense of democracy because people believe that governments that are rooted in people
are more legitimate and that’s a battle we won
and now have to make real wherever we can, that’s point number two. Point number three is simple math. In most places, if you
wanna get something done, whether it’s a smarter
climate change policy or healthcare for people or more funding for girls’ education, you’ve gotta have a majority
of people supporting it, you gotta have votes, you have to have the allocation of resources
and that requires mobilization and a game of addition
rather than subtraction. And the fourth point I would make would be the internet
now has turbo charged the capacity for us to develop movements in ways that we had not imagined before. Now, the last thing I’ll say
so that I don’t sound like I’m still in the US
Senate and filibustering. (laughs) Is I guess a smaller
point but a profound one that I tried to reinforce
with my staff at every level of my public work and
continue to do to this day, I actually think organizing, mobilizing, starting movements starts with a story. And you can’t create a story
that moves large numbers of people unless you are
able to listen and hear to the story of the person next to you. The story of your neighbors,
the stories of your coworkers, the stories of your
community, the story of people who are not like you,
and so one of the things that I think is important
is for us to learn how to listen to each
other and learn how it is that we came to be who we
are, think the way we do, because that understanding
of other people’s stories is how you end up ultimately forging bonds and creating the glue
that creates movements. Every great movement, you
think about Gandhi in India. It started with his
understanding of India’s story and his own story and seeing
Indians in South Africa discriminated against and recognizing that there were traditions
and myths and a power in those stories that ended up driving out the most
powerful empire on earth. It wasn’t guns. And increasingly, that will be the case and certainly, that will
be the case if we’re able, if we wanna move forward the
sustainable development goals that we’re talking about,
is we’ve gotta be able to tell a story not only to big donors or politicians,
but also to, for example, people here in the United
States who may feel like, look, I’ve got my own problems, why should I be worrying about somebody on the other side of the world? – Yeah I have to say, when
we got into philanthropy and particularly studied global health, we were stunned at the
progress, we’d had no idea and it’s kind of amazing, if
you ask even very well-educated people what’s happened with vaccination, what’s happened with HIV,
they don’t know the positive story and a little bit, the
news is always gonna focus on the setbacks, ’cause that’s
what happened that day, the gradual progress
doesn’t fit that paradigm and even people who raise
money for these causes, I have to say, sometimes
even some of the material we create is talking about
the peace that remains as though it’s never improved. Do you have any thoughts on
how we get this more positive sense of progress going and
how we would get that word out? – Well, look, you’re talking to somebody who for seven years
tried to get the word out that things were going pretty good. (laughs) And nobody, at least
about 40% of the country didn’t believe me until I
was gone and then suddenly they believed it, they
said, things are great. (laughs, applauding) So with that caveat, I’d make a couple observations. One, you’re right, Bill, there
is the nature of the media and maybe just the human
brain, is to fasten on what’s wrong, not on what’s right, and I’m not sure we’re gonna
be able to change that. Visual displays of a fire are much more interesting than
just a building sitting there and so the fire’s gonna make the news, the building’s sitting there nicely and people are walking their
dogs in front of it and stuff, that will not make the news. So I don’t think that we can
count on conventional media necessarily to spread the word, this is, though, where
the power of the internet has not, I think been harnessed
the way it needs to be, particularly when we
think about young people and young audiences. Malia and Sasha consume
information differently than I do and I think that those of
us who’ve been involved with policy work are still putting out these reports with pie
charts and this and that and that’s not interesting to them. But stories and visual
representations of progress can go viral. There’s a hunger for it. It’s just that we don’t
systematically think about it and so I think when the
three of us were talking awhile back, I mentioned
that one of the areas that I’m deeply interested
in is how do we build sort of a digital platform
whereby people can go to find out what’s happening
that is moving the progress on issues and then active
them, because I heard somebody, I think maybe Trevor,
saying an important point, I’m very interested in
how online communities can move offline, how this
incredible power to convene through hashtags and tweets and
this and that and the other, eventually leads to
people meeting each other and talking to each other,
and I think that we have not fully tapped that as a
way of spreading the word about progress that has been made. I also think it is
important for us to put some friendly pressure on
leaders to tell good stories and to make sure that we don’t, that we aren’t so rigid in
our partisanship or ideologies that we are not willing
to acknowledge and share when somebody who might be
of a different political persuasion has done something really good, even if it runs contrary to our short-term political interests. I always used to say, as
big as the differences were between me and my
predecessor, George W. Bush, that what his administration
initiated with PEPFAR was a singularly important achievement that we needed to sustain and build on. I didn’t think that
somehow detracted from me to say that somebody from
another political party did something really smart and really good and deserved credit for it,
and I feel as if these days, within our political circles, that’s a hard thing for people
to bring themselves to do. (audience applauding) – One of the things that Bill
and I had the great privilege of doing when you were in the White House late in your presidency
was spending a little bit of casual time on a Saturday night and your daughters were
in and out of your home, Malia and Sasha, and
you’ve been to our house earlier this summer and
saw Rory and Phoebe, two of our three in and out of our house, our daughter Jen is here in the front row. – Jen’s like, thanks Mom. – Yeah sorry, you weren’t home that night. But she’s about the age of your daughters. – That’s our job, to embarrass
you, that’s what we do. – Exactly, I just did
it, job none right there. But Jen’s about the age of your girls, a little bit older, but
how have you and Michelle thought about talking to your children about being leaders in the
world and taking up this mantle of what needs to be done in the world? – Well what we’ve tried to
communicate their entire lives is that each of us has responsibilities. When they were small, the
responsibilities were small, like say when you wanna go potty and then. (laughs) As you get older, your
responsibilities grow. But part of what we I think
tried to communicate is that being responsible is
an enormous privilege, that’s what marks you
as a fully grown human, is that other people rely on you, that you have influence,
that you can make your mark, that if you do something
well, that that will improve other people’s lives,
that the kinds of values that we’ve tried to instill, many of them, your basic homespun values
like kindness and consideration and empathy and hard
work, that those are tools by which you can shape
the world around you in a way that feels good. And so what we’ve tried
to encourage is the sense that it’s not somebody
else’s job, it’s your job, and I think that’s an ethic
that they’ve embraced. Now they will choose to
participate in different ways because they have different temperaments, different strengths, I
think one of the mistakes that we sometimes make is
to think that there’s just one way of making a
difference or being involved. If you are a brilliant engineer, you don’t have to make a speech, you can create an app that
allows an amplification or the scaling up of something
that is really powerful. If you are somebody who
likes to care for people, you don’t have to go out
and lead the protest march, you can mentor some kids or work at a local health
clinic that is gonna make a difference, so there
are a lot of different ways in which to make a contribution
and we try to emphasize that to them as well, and then
the third thing that we try to encourage is what I
mentioned in my earlier remarks, which is that you have to be persistent. I always tell people that
my early work as a community organizer in Chicago taught
me an incredible amount but I didn’t set the world on fire. I got some public parks for
communities that needed them, I started some after-school programs, we helped set up a job training program for people who had been laid off of work but those communities
weren’t suddenly transformed, they still had huge problems. But I took that experience
and then I was able to build on it and I think
so often, we get impatient because change does not look as if sometimes it’s not as
discernible or immediate or impactful as we had
imagined in our minds. And we get disappointed
and we get frustrated. For me, by the way, that’s advice in life and not just in social
change, I assume occasionally there was a bug in the software Bill did. – Every now and then.
– Every once in awhile. And oh, we gotta patch it again? This is annoying. (laughs) – I heard it a little
differently than that. – I wasn’t known for my patience. – I didn’t hear, oh darn. (laughs) Bill, did you have one last question? – So this week, part of the
reason we’re all in New York is the United Nations is meeting and in some of these global institutions that were created right
after World War II, World Bank, World Health
Organization, UNICEF, they’ve been key partners
for many of these causes and yet there’s definitely a cynicism about their bureaucracy, their efficiency, and their ability to change. In fact, with very few
exceptions like Global Fund and GOBI, we haven’t had any new ones, so over the next 10 or 20 years, do you think these global
institutions in terms of reform or creating new ones, for
pandemics and climate change, can they step up to play the
role we need them to play? – Well. Let me first of all say
that the biggest problems we confront, no one nation
is going to be able to solve on its own, not even a nation as powerful as the United States of America. There are times during my
presidency where I was attacked for not claiming that
we could go on our own, as if that was an expression of weakness. No, I believe that the
United States is in fact an indispensable nation, and
that many of the initiatives and much of the progress that we’ve made could not have been done unless
we underwrote those efforts and I’ll use as an example
our handling of Ebola, which in retrospect, I think a lot of historians would argue was one of the, if not the most effective emergency public health
intervention in history. We had to create the architecture
and the infrastructure and send our military in to create runways where the Chinese could then
land planes to deliver goods and we had to provide
guarantees to the Europeans so that if they sent health workers, they could feel some
assurance that they could be med-evaced out if they got infected. So I take great pride in
what the United States can do but if we’re talking about climate change or global migrations spurred
on by drought or famine or ethnic conflicts, we’re not gonna be able to
solve those things by ourselves and as you indicated, Bill, if we get an airborne pandemic, unlike a slow-moving, disease
that’s difficult to transmit like Ebola, if we haven’t
built ahead of time some structures to deal with this, millions of people could
be adversely impacted. So number one, you have
to start with the premise and believe that multilateral institutions and efforts are important,
and you don’t have to cede all your sovereignty or, it
doesn’t make you less patriotic to believe that, you just have to have some sense and read.
(laughs) So that’s point number
one, point number two is that in fact, there
are problems with existing multilateral institutions,
not surprisingly, they were designed post-World War II for the most part and they
couldn’t have anticipated everything’s that happened. There is bureaucracy and
inertia and resistance to reform so it is important for
every country, every leader, to be honest about the need for reform and not simply think narrowly about, well, I wanna keep certain
numbers of slots or votes or this or that, at least
on many of the issues where there shouldn’t be a
big ideological controversy. Reforming the security council, that’s something that goes to
core geopolitical interests and is a huge, difficult,
and perhaps unachievable goal anytime soon. On the other hand, making
sure that the WHO works well and that we have a
sufficient security trigger when a pandemic or something else happens, that is achievable and it
shouldn’t be controversial, it’s just a matter of digging
and getting the work done. When it comes to girls’ education, there may be cultural
resistance in some places to actually getting it done,
but generally speaking, there aren’t that many folks
who will explicitly say, I’m sorry, we don’t wanna
educate our girls and women. As a practical matter,
they may, you may see that in certain countries, but at
the level of our multilateral institutions, there should
be a broad consensus and so what I would hope for is that we come up with concrete plans in those areas, oftentimes with respect to the
sustainable development goals are areas where there is a
consensus on at least the aims, if not always the means,
and think about how can we improve delivery systems,
how can we improve their operations on a day-to-day basis. But ultimately, the
last point I would make, that requires leaders
to feel as if it matters and is important. That in turn requires the
public think that it matters and is important because unfortunately, what you discover is that most politicians and elected leaders are
followers and not leaders. They’re called leaders, but
most of the time, they follow. They see what do their
constituencies care about, and they respond. And one of the biggest challenges
that we’ve had is that, and I speak most intimately
about the United States, the general public responds
with enormous generosity when they see a specific
story of a child who’s hungry or somebody who’s been
stricken by a flood. But when it comes to just a
general knowledge or interest in development funding, not
only do they not know much, but they oftentimes
have a negative reaction because their view is,
we’ve got a lot of needs here at home, why are we
sending money overseas? Sadly, it is one of the
only areas where Democrats and Republicans agree
in the United States, is on foreign aid, and repeatedly, you’ve seen public opinion
surveys where people wildly overestimate what
we spend on foreign aid, they think 25% of the federal budget is going to foreign aid and helping people other than folks in their
towns and their communities. So the need for public education
in the ways we talked about that tell a good story,
that point out that this is actually a bargain,
that connect what we do with respect to development to security, not in a perfect
correlation, but to say that, look, if you’ve got failed states, then generally, some of
that’s gonna spill over on us. If you have economies that are failing, ironically, if you are
concerned about immigration and mass migration, it’s
really a good investment to make countries work
so that people can eat, ’cause then, it’s not like
they’re dying to get on a dinghy and float across an ocean if the place, the country where they
were born and they loved was functioning, so
thinking about ways in which we describe this, both as
an economic imperative, a environmental imperative,
a security imperative, the more we can influence public opinion, the more you’ll see politicians respond. That doesn’t mean that there
is not an enormous role to play for NGOs,
philanthropy, and so forth, but, and I’ve said this
to both Bill and Melinda, even with the incredible generosity and enormous skill with
which they’ve deployed their resources over the years, the US budget’s still bigger. – Absolutely, a lot bigger.
– A lot. – This notion that you
can, that I hear sometimes from young people, that you
can work around government and work around politics
because it’s too messy or it’s corrupt or it’s, I
just don’t like those folks or what have you, I’m sorry,
guys, that’s not gonna work. If you wanna get done
what you’re talking about, you will have to combine
effective philanthropy and technical know-how and
smart policy engineering with getting your hands
dirty trying to change public opinion and trying
to ensure that the people who are in charge of the
levers of power are responsive. And that will require
work and I guarantee you you will be disappointed at points, but what a glorious thing
it is to responsible for saving the world,
that’s your responsibility. And ours.
Thanks.

100 thoughts on “Leadership & World Change with Barack Obama

  1. 《自願被微軟綁架的台灣政府》重點:一年13億,台灣政府養活了微軟帝國。
    https://www.twreporter.org/a/software-microsoft-tw-government

  2. The only time you can fit more evil into a single room is during a (closed, naturally can't have the normals knowing whats being dictated for their futures) session of the bilderberg group.

    Bill Gates is a eugenicist and mass murderer who openly calls for the world population to be reduced quite significantly, which wouldn't be a problem if he wasn't in such a prime position to ENSURE THAT IT IS REDUCED.

  3. you know this entire comment section is completely and utterly controlled by the PR people, not a single negative top comment in sight and when such controversial figures are involved? I call bullshit.

  4. https://www.heartfull-mind.org/organization/friends and too obama had have its mistakes…we too..mee too…but easy…the evolution has al in its her hand…haha

  5. Trump is concise and straight to the point. This guys elaborates a lot. And listeners lose interest afterwards

  6. American presidents are only good for Americans, not for others. They all have same mentality towards muslims world. They only create problems for others undoubtedly.

  7. 5:50. He said Gandhi’s nom violent movement drove the British out of India. WROOOOONNNGGG. WW2 drove them out. They couldnt keep india anymore. They were broke. Thats why they ran away in a span of 3 months which led to a disaster. Millions of people died…

  8. Obama is a high achiever in delivering outcomes and articulation. A very rare person. Also he exudes a warm and friendly personality. Great physical look and smartly dressed as well. Almost perfect human being. We are all one human race and on a same platform although we are different – come together as one with love and caring. Those who are very naughty and commit crimes – there are laws that will punish these people accordingly.

  9. Can you guys say what amendment is required in parliamentary policy to get that Obama again, we want to see that goakeeper again. From Bangladesh big Salute for You Obama

  10. ریدی تو کوس و کون مردم امریکا و اروپا ، مادد کونی بتون گفتم پول برای شما ارزش داره زنا زاده برای من حمال شدن شما مهمه

  11. When the rich rob the poor it is business, when the poor fight back it is violence. Let you good people of the World understand human behavior in the words of H. Tubman. She admitted to have freed a thousand slaves and added that she would have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves. Youths; do they really know how valuable assets they are to a weeping and bleeding world? Sirs wear the shoes of this famous soul by righting what seems a herculean task.

  12. Wow, I forgot what real learning looked like. This is why I used to listen to his speeches like podcasts while I was working out at school. I forgot how much more intelligent President Obama is than Donald Trump

  13. Obama is good speech. Very good thots salliantally movment slogen keep a smille massage to all of young leedar, youth, around the warld.

  14. Good morning friends, how are you ? Are you gain our energy in regularly it is good in my life .what they will give to me limitless received. What a good help from UsA really greatest achievement .thankyou one an all . Good help created by mentors . Yshk viswanatham MscBed.

  15. Des sieges qui savent contourner la forme humaine..et des mots qui doivent avoir beaucoup de sens.

  16. "medevacked out" what's this phrasal verb mean?
    despite that, I could understand it from the context.

  17. We need a civil rights for tha world our blue planet earth. Cos 87%welt won by 1%people and another 99% people got 13%welt.

  18. Obama answers everything in very general terms without much substance. A 29 min long video and you are pretty much none the wiser about what practical things he would do to solve world problems. "Tell good stories" was all I could ascertain.

  19. Did you know Gandhi discriminated against Southafrican (real one )? It wasn't Gandhi it was Bose who hammered the British Government via military coup in world war 2. People then marched because they knew Indian army is no longer loyal to the British.

  20. The only way to not get convinced by President Obama is not to listen to him. If you listen to him, you will be convinced one way or the other. When it comes to speaking, He's a god.

  21. i never see someone feel free in speaking like Obama , you can not like him but everybody believe in his outspeaking

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