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South Side southpaw. Happy #LeftHandersDay!

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Along with our team and the 2019 #ObamaFellows, @rob_zilla_iii is a big fan of the finished project. * He hopes it shows his former students that, even though he’s not teaching anymore, he’s still giving them an opportunity to learn from what he creates as they find their own creative voices. * “When kids look at art, I ask them: What did you like most? How would you use that element in your work? How would you say it in your voice? How can this help you find what you’re trying to do?”

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Meet Rob—the artist behind the illustrations of the 2019 #ObamaFellows. As a former art and photography teacher, Rob—known lovingly to his students as “Mr. G”—spent 20 years finding his inspiration in conversation with young people. * “Young folks have a creative way of speaking...Kids taught me how to listen.” * This year, Rob took the lessons he learned from teaching and decided to dedicate his full-time career to creating art. He teamed up with us to bring the faces of the latest #ObamaFellows class to life through illustration. See his artistic process in the next post.

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The Zulu and Xhosa necklace is one of the most iconic pieces of jewelry in South African culture. As a symbol of leadership, it became the working concept for the #ObamaLeaders: Africa logo. For @wakwatshuma, transforming traditional African design is just another day at work. Meet the artist behind the design of #ObamaLeaders: Africa at the link in our bio.

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During @BarackObama’s two terms, Rob Pruitt had a daily routine: paint a portrait of the first black president. By the time President Obama left office, Pruitt had created almost 3,000 paintings—and an artistic legacy of the administration. Read more at the link in our bio.

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They’re ready to take their civic leadership to the next level. They’re ready to change the world. Congratulations to the 200 #ObamaLeaders returning to their homes across Africa after a week of leadership development, connection, and empowerment.

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Sometimes, a little failure can do a lot of good. Today in Johannesburg, the #ObamaLeaders celebrated Failure Fest—a chance to break down some of their best ideas. The leaders had to swallow their pride, summon their courage, and bare their failures in front of hundreds of their peers. When it comes to creating lasting change, failure is part of the process. It takes resilience to stand back up after you fall down, especially when you put your heart and soul into that fight. But those are some of the most defining moments in doing the work that we do. The moments that feel like the biggest failures are when we learn how to succeed. If you can find strength in those, you can change the world.

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At #ObamaLeaders Africa, music fuels inspiration and connections. Today the acclaimed Soweto Gospel Choir joined us to celebrate the convening of 200 inspiring leaders from across the continent.

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An Independence Day favorite from our archives. Happy Fourth of July!

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Proud to call Chicago our home.

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In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, we’re sharing the thoughts, struggles, and inspirations of Obama Foundation leaders who continue to fight for LGBTQ+ equality in South Carolina, Nigeria, Eswatini, and beyond.

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A Center for the community—designed with the community.

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In honor of #WorldRefgueeDay, we’re shining a spotlight on the work of one of our 2018 #ObamaLeaders: Innocent Magambi. When Innocent was just a teenager, war broke out in Congo. As a result, he spent much of his adolescence in refugee camps across Eastern and Southern Africa. A decade later, a scholarship changed his life. For the first time, he was able to live outside the confines of a refugee camp—but he couldn’t stop thinking of the people still there. Taking what he learned at school, he went on to form There is Hope, a non-profit that provides opportunities for refugees to escape poverty and become self-reliant.

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Not all museums are about the past. The Obama Presidential Center: Coming to historic Jackson Park on Chicago's South Side

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This place will be more than a look into a president's past. It will be a glimpse into a community's future.

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Hope has a new home base.

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“Whenever the world makes you cynical, stop and think of these men. Whenever you lose hope, stop and think of these men.” #DDay

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Eid marks a time where friends and family gather to reflect on the bonds of community. To all those celebrating, Eid Mubarak!

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For these leaders in Chicago, this weekend was just the beginning. Over 100 young people from around the city began their six-month journey in the Community Leadership Corps—where they’ll learn how to tackle the challenges they care about most.

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Take a look at the courage behind community impact. These Chicagoans are some of the winners of the first-ever civic-action awards. Through their hard work, they’ve lifted up the voices of Chicago students to be more engaged and driven to make a difference in their community. Comment your congratulations below! ⬇️

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It takes courage to make an impact. Tomorrow, with the help of @chipubschools, we’re recognizing the courageous students, schools, teachers, and organizations making their voices heard to improve the city of Chicago. Stay tuned.

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Humbled. Proud. Grateful. #MemorialDay

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Low-income and first-generation college students deserve to land their dream job after graduation. One of our #ObamaFellows found a way to help them stand out through @coop.cx. Meet Kalani Leifer at the link in our bio.

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Big change starts small. Through @inourbackyards, one of our #ObamaFellows is providing a platform for passionate people looking for new ways to organize and create change in their neighborhoods. Learn more about Erin Barnes at the link in our bio.

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Moms make the world a better place. Happy Mother’s Day!

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“Being a mom means so many things—and I think I will continue to discover that for the rest of my life. It means being sleep-deprived, showered with love, showered with throw up and being equally okay with both of that. And being able to look at the situation you’re in and laugh at yourself. It’s all of the extremes.” Preethi Herman is one of the #ObamaFellows. Her career is dedicated to helping women in India make their voices heard. And this year, she’s celebrating her first Mother’s Day as a mom.

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“You can’t be perfect, the most important thing is to make progress.” This is what Edem Dorothy Ossai, one of the #ObamaScholars and a mom to four-year-old Chimamanda, told us about her efforts to ensure children in Nigeria have access to education while raising her daughter. This Mother’s Day, we’re celebrating the moms we work with around the world.

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Moms change the world. Dr. Mwansa K. Lubeya is one of them. This week, we’re honoring a few of the women in our programs who dedicate their careers to improving their communities while raising their children to do the same. As one of the #ObamaLeaders and a gynecologist in Zambia, Dr. Lubeya works to improve the health of mothers, while caring for her own five children. “Women in Africa hold up the family. If children think something sounds impossible, but they see their mom doing it, then they can do it too.”

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Get to know them. Be inspired by their work. Meet the 2019 #ObamaFellows at the link in our bio.

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From organizing for black and native climate justice in Louisiana, to providing tailored support, connections and flexible funding to entrepreneurs in Malawi, these #ObamaFellows model the powerful truth that each of us has a role to play in civic life.

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The 2019 #ObamaFellows are outstanding civic innovators – leaders who are working with their communities to create transformational change, addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems.

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On Bo-half of all of us at the Obama Foundation, Happy Easter!

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To all those celebrating Passover tonight, Chag Sameach!

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When Maria, Julia, and Yomi met at the #ObamaTownHall Europe, they discovered they were all working towards equality for women in different sectors in Greece, France, and Sweden. While their work is different, they connected over what guides them: a vision and a mission to see women fully standing in their power. (Left to Right: Julia Mouzon, France, is the Founder of Elues Locales,  a network that supports women working in local governments through programming and relationship building; Maria Gianniou, Greece, is the co-founder of Women Act to empower women to fully embrace their political, social, cultural and economic potential; Yomi Abiola, Sweden, is the Founder of The Fem League to transform the narrative of women in the world through media.)

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“We all have a role to play in changing the narrative around substance use disorders and addiction in general. Important work like this is rarely easy, but if we do everything we can to see these conditions as chronic health issues as opposed to moral failings or choices, people will be able to access the critical care they need more easily and long-term recovery will be more attainable.” On #worldhealthday, meet one of our #ObamaFellows, Navdeep Kang. At a time when more than 130 people in the US are dying after overdosing on opioids every day, Nav is leading a charge to break down the siloed ways the healthcare system treats addiction. By training doctors and nurses not only to treat physical symptoms, but to also address the underlying behavioral causes of chronic diseases, his team at Mercy Health Addiction Treatment Collaborative is saving lives in Southwest Ohio.

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Yesterday in Berlin, @barackobama heard from hundreds of young leaders from 37 countries across the European continent. He answered their questions about carrying out meaningful change with personal anecdotes about family dinners, thought on philosophy—and even a few jokes. Take a look through some of our favorite moments from the #ObamaTownHall Europe.

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As a native of a small fishing town in Denmark, Nima Tisdall got hooked on making fish farming fresh and sustainable. She co-founded the  @blue_lobster_app to make it easier and more affordable to buy fresh, locally sourced fish. See her work in pictures at the link in our bio.

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Nedgine Paul Deroly and Celina de Sola wanted to help their home communities break free of systemic poverty and violence. By providing quality education and new experiences to young people in Haiti and El Salvador, @anseyepouayiti and @glasswingi are empowering communities to change their narratives. #ObamaFellows

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“Seeing this painful contrast in opportunities for these young girls on a daily basis put me on my path to working in child advocacy.” Edem Dorothy Ossai, one of our #ObamaScholars, is working to bridge opportunity gaps for women and girls and provide mentoring opportunities for youth throughout Africa—and it all started with mobile libraries in Nigeria. Read about her work through her words at the link in our bio.

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Last month, #MBKRising brought together the growing network of MBK Communities, young men of color, and the organizations working hard to help them achieve their dreams. See some of the faces who are doing their part to improve the lives of boys and young men of color in their communities at the link in our bio.

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It’s that time of year—check out @barackobama’s NCAA Brackets at the link in our bio and see how your picks compare.

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On April 6, @barackobama will travel to Berlin for a town hall with hundreds of young leaders from across Europe. He’ll be answering their questions and learning more about how we can best support their good work. Make sure you don’t miss the #ObamaTownHall about the future of community leadership in Europe. Sign up for a livestream reminder at the link in our bio.

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Koketso Moeti wanted to channel the power of technology to amplify the voices of marginalized communities—primarily black women—in South Africa. That’s why she founded amandla.mobi, a movement of over 250,000 people working to build a more just and people-powered country. Learn more about one of our inaugural #ObamaFellows at the link in our bio.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day ☘️

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“If you don’t have a seat at the table...create a table and look for people to join it.” When #MBKRising came to a close, we asked a few of the young men of color about their biggest takeaways from the event. Read more about why this quote from Ras Baraka stuck out to Quamiir Trice as an educator at the link in our bio.

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“We started out trying to showcase how people can use technology to accelerate connection, reach and impact. We also started showcasing how anybody could become a changemaker. And it worked.” Preethi Herman, one of our inaugural #ObamaFellows, founded the She Creates Change program at the Change.org Foundation in India to unite people around her country and beyond to push for change—and to keep women leaders at the forefront. See how she does it at the link in our bio.

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At the Obama Foundation, we believe everyone has a role to play in shaping the future of their communities. To help young people in Chicago, IL and Hartford, CT get started, we’re now accepting applications for  the Community Leadership Corps—a six-month program designed to empower and train young people to make a difference. The program will include in-person trainings, online coaching, and project funding. Share this post with someone in Chicago or Hartford who should apply.

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Five years ago today, @BarackObama announced the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to expand opportunities for boys and young men of color. Read his reflections on the work of @MBK_Alliance over the years and the young leaders he met at #MBKRising in Oakland last week at the link in our bio.

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Meet Kent Mendoza from Los Angeles, CA I am a formerly incarcerated grassroots leader. I try to use my story to change the hearts and minds of elected officials to ensure that they make our communities better and that they know incarcerated people deserve second chances. In the past five years and since coming home, I have been deeply engaged and involved in local and state change.

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Meet Noah McQueen from Washington, DC Growing up, role models were scarce. I faced many challenges without really knowing what was right or wrong. As I grew older, I understood what my role in the community should be. Sitting in a jail cell, I found my true purpose: I want to help people in under-resourced and impoverished communities because I was once overlooked, too. Today, I want to serve as a living testament for kids who grew up like me to show them that anything is possible.