Many young leaders all over the world have probably dreamed of meeting Barack and Michelle Obama – two of the most popular leaders of our time – at some point in their lives.
Now, the dream could become reality for 200 lucky young leaders from Asia Pacific.
The former US president and his wife will speak at the Obama Foundation’s inaugural “Leaders: Asia-Pacific” gathering in Malaysia at the end of the year.
The event will take place from December 10 to December 14 in Kuala Lumpur, just before the Obamas are scheduled to visit Singapore to speak at separate events held by The Growth Faculty.
According to the foundation’s media statement on Tuesday (Oct 15), the Malaysian event will bring together 200 emerging leaders in public and private sectors from more than 30 different nations and territories across the Asia Pacific region.
The four-day gathering will include plenary sessions, skill-building workshops and leadership development training. According to the Obama Foundation, the meetings will have an Asia Pacific perspective that is focused on values-based ethical leadership.
This is the first event in the foundation’s year-long programme, which will also see a speaker series, technical training sessions, educational workshops, action plan guidance, and support from the foundation.
Bernadette Meehan, the Obama Foundation’s chief international officer, said in a statement that the Apac region is of “great importance to President Obama given his strong roots in Indonesia and Hawaii”.
She added that the programme will have “a focus on shared values and ethical leadership”, and that it will “empower these leaders to tackle the unique challenges they face in their communities”.
The programme builds on the foundation’s work with young leaders over the past two years in Chicago and Johannesburg, and is co-designed by 21 Apac leaders at the Hawaii workshop in January with Barack Obama.
The 58-year old former US president had said at the Hawaii workshop that the foundation was trying to “promote a value-based approach to leadership development, because we believe that real leadership involves dialogue and inclusion and tolerance and a commitment to human dignity”.
Michelle Obama announced last Friday (Oct 11) that she would also be travelling to Vietnam in December as part of the foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance’s efforts to drive awareness and action on the importance of adolescent girls education.
As such, the Kuala Lumpur gathering will also include several leaders from across the region who focus on girls’ education and empowerment.
Earlier this year, Barack and Michelle Obama were both ranked eighth on YouGov’s list of Malaysia’s most admired men and women, seven places behind Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Muhamad and singer Siti Nurhaliza respectively.