Former United States President Barack Obama on Friday said that charting the course for a better future was going to depend on young people. He was addressing young leaders from across India at a town hall event organised in New Delhi by the Obama Foundation.

“There are all sorts of specific issues that I am going to continue to work on and plan to lend my voice to, to focus the rest of my career on,” he said, mentioning the challenges of climate change, inequality, gender disparities and the fight against the “forces of discrimination and tribalism”.

However, the single biggest thing Obama said he wanted to focus on was “lifting up and identifying, working with and training the next generation of leadership not only in the United States but across the world”.


Talking of conflicts and the fractured political situation in the world, Obama said that despite how difficult the situation might seem, “the best time to be born is now”. “Despite terrible conflicts, the world is actually less violent and more tolerant than it was,” the former president said.

“Do not sell young people short on what they can achieve,” Obama said. “Give them serious responsibilities, care about the ideas they have. If they do not perform, explain how and why they can do better.”

Among the several questions Obama answered was one from Indian gender rights movement activist Padmashali who spoke against the marginalisation of sexual minorities. “You have to find allies,” Obama said. “You should take some measure of hope by just looking at what has happened in many countries around Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues.”