Former President Barack Obama holds 1st public event since leaving office

CHICAGO -- Former President Barack Obama shared his message of civic engagement with young people in Chicago on Monday during his first public event since leaving office.

Obama received a warm welcome at the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, where he was joined on stage by six young leaders for a discussion on civic engagement.

The former president was joined on the stage by leaders from Chicago area schools for a discussion on how to get young people more involved in civil affairs.

Obama began the discussion by describing his work in Chicago as a community organizer and how it laid the foundation for his future political career.

"This community gave me a lot more than I was able to give in return because this community taught me that ordinary people working together can do extraordinary things," he said.

Obama described issues facing the world and how he believed young people needed to get involved in order to solve them.

"What are the ways in which we can create pathways for them to take leadership, for them to get involved? Are their ways in which we can knock down some of the barriers that are discouraging young people about a life of service?" Obama asked.

The former president asked each of the six students on stage what was discouraging young people from civic engagement and what could be done about to resolve those issues.

The Monday morning discussion was ticketed and by invitation-only. Only 300 tickets were given out to students from different schools across the Chicago area.

The event was Obama's first major public appearance since leaving the White House and concluded a two-day trip to Chicago. Sunday night, Obama was at a fundraiser for his future library and before that he spoke privately to a group of young people about gang violence, job skills and employment.

Obama will also hold several high-profile events in the weeks to come, some in the U.S. and some in Europe.
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