Mayors for Peace Staff Member attended the Obama Foundation Summit

October 2017

A member of staff of Mayors for Peace Secretariat in Hiroshima was invited to attend the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit which took place in Chicago on October 31 and November 1. The Summit gathered approximately 500 civic leaders from the United States and 60 countries around the world to build creative networks, exchange ideas on themes such as what it means to be an active citizen in the 21st century, and explore solutions to common problems.

The Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, which manages the Mayors for Peace Secretariat, has been in communication with the Obama Foundation since December 2016 and discussed the possibility of future collaboration between the two foundations. This led to the dispatch of a representative to the summit.

A young staff member of Mayors for Peace Secretariat in Hiroshima, attended the two-day, immersive event, shared ideas with young community leaders from around the world, gave an introduction to and asked for cooperation and understanding of the work done by Mayors for Peace.

The Mayors for Peace representative’s trip to Chicago: October 30 (Mon.) to November 3 (Fri.), 2017

October 30 (Monday)
Meeting with the staff of the Obama Foundation

On the eve of the summit, the Mayors for Peace representative met with the International Team of the Obama Foundation, who encouraged the international attendees to make the most of the networking opportunities during the two days of the Obama Foundation Summit.

October 31 (Tuesday)
Opening Session

At the end of the session, Former President Obama took to the stage. Mr. Obama said that he was excited to have remarkable young leaders from 60 countries and from all across the United States. He talked about the high expectations he has for them to make a difference, and encouraged the participants to share their stories with each other and try to make connections during the summit.

Breakout Block 1

There were four Breakout Sessions during the summit, where participants were asked to choose from a variety of topics. Our representative chose a session titled “The Adventure of Civility,” which offered a workshop on conversation skills through activities including poetry reading, etc.

Conversation with Prince Henry

Prince Henry and young civic leaders gave introductions about their activities and talked about the challenges of cultivating leadership. Prince Henry mentioned that he gets all of his passion, inspiration and energy from young people.

November 1 (Wednesday)
Panel Discussion on Business & Society

A panel of civic leaders of corporate management discussed how workplaces and employers affect communities and the world.

Breakout Block 2

Our representative attended a session called “Building the Civic Leadership Pipeline,” chaired by Ms. Caroline Kennedy, Former US Ambassador to Japan. The panel of civic leaders including Mr. Matteo Renzi, Former Prime Minister of Italy, talked about their experiences in public service.

Our representative had the opportunity to briefly talk with Ms. Kennedy, who commended the work of Mayors for Peace. He also had the opportunity to greet Mr. Obama, who was observing the session. Mr. Obama thanked him for coming from Hiroshima to participate in the summit. Our representative also talked with one of the panelists, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and gave an introduction to and asked him to consider joining Mayors for Peace.

Conversation with Mrs. Obama

Mrs. Obama talked about the power of art and music and other topics. When asked to give an example of something that has given her hope recently, she answered that “Hope is right here in this room.”

Breakout Block 3

Our representative attended the workshop, “Foundation Design Session: Activating Emerging Global Leaders.” Participants were broken up into small groups and discussed ideas to help the Obama Foundation create new global programs. Mr. Obama dropped in on the session during the group presentation and commented that the session was a very productive one.

Breakout Block 4

Our representative attended a session called “Catalyzing Environmental Action Around the World.” The panel discussed and made presentations on their fight for environmental protections and the impact of climate change and nuclear weapons on the environment.

Closing Session

Before the session started, our representative handed a wreath of paper cranes to a member of the International Team of the Obama Foundation as a gift for Mr. Obama. The paper cranes had been offered to the Children’s Peace Monument in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

At the end of the Closing Session, Mr. Obama said that he considered the summit a success because the participants inspired each other and they inspired him. After confirming that the participants will not be alone because of the people they met at this summit, Mr. Obama concluded, “Let’s get to work!”