Obama Foundation to Host Leadership Program Design Workshop

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President Barack Obama is photographed during a presidential portrait sitting for an official photo in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As part of the Obama Foundation’s efforts to inspire, empower and connect emerging leaders around the world, the foundation will host a leadership program design workshop in Hawaiʻi for 22 emerging leaders from across the Asia Pacific from Jan. 4 to 7, 2019.

The young leaders—who represent 16 countries and territories from across the region—will participate in a workshop to help the Obama Foundation design its future Leaders program in the Asia-Pacific region.

This effort will build on and connect with the foundation’s inaugural international leaders program in Africa that launched in 2018 and brought together 200 emerging leaders from around the African continent for a one-year leadership development and civic engagement training initiative.


The foundation is hosting the event in Honolulu given President Barack Obama’s deep ties to Hawaiʻi, as well as the unique position of Hawaiʻi, both geographically and culturally, in the Asia Pacific. To signify the importance of Hawaiʻi in the foundation’s regional programming, two of the 22 emerging leaders participating in the design workshop are from Hawaiʻi. The workshop will be held at the Imin International Conference Center, in cooperation with the University of Hawaiʻi.

“Hawaiʻi has long played an important role in President Obama’s life and the foundation is excited to fulfill its long-stated commitment to engaging Hawaiʻi in our regional programming,” said Foundation CEO David Simas. “The role of Hawaiʻi as a bridge between East and West makes it a natural place to bring together rising leaders from across the region in dialogue about its future.”

Participants will engage in leadership development sessions and hands-on design workshops focused on identifying the unique needs, challenges, and opportunities of emerging leaders in the region and how the foundation can best support them in their development. The participants will have the chance to engage with President Obama as part of the design work. This event will also draw together key stakeholders from the Hawaiʻi community as part of the Foundation’s broader commitment to engagement in Hawaiʻi going forward.


“Our hope is that rooting this Asia-Pacific program in Hawaiʻi allows the leaders to navigate across their diverse communities, cultures and perspectives to understand our world so they can work together to create a shared vision for the future of the Asia-Pacific region,” said Foundation Chief International Officer Bernadette Meehan.

The Obama Foundation Leaders program is one of a number of leadership programs the foundation launched in 2018 to help the next generation of leaders across the world better engage and serve their communities.

To learn more about the workshop, including a list of leaders, visit

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