Obama Foundation to Start the Asia Pacific Leaders Program in 2019

The program aims to train young leaders in the region so they can address issues like climate change, human rights and good governance.

By Peyton Jefferson, Contributor

Former president Barack Obama announced during a design workshop in Hawaii late Sunday night that the Obama Foundation will launch an Asia-Pacific Leaders program in 2019. The program will be dedicated to training young leaders in the region.

The program will build on the groundwork set up by the Foundation’s inaugural international Leaders program in Africa, which recruited 200 leaders across the continent for a year-long leadership development training initiative.

“[The Asia Pacific] is a place of tremendous diversity and natural resources and rising economic and political power,” Obama said, addressing 21 participants from 16 different countries and territories across the region Sunday night. “So today, I’m pleased to announce that this year we’re going to bring our next regional leaders program here in the Asia Pacific just as we did in South Africa.”

Through this program, Obama hopes to educate participants about the necessary skills for strength and development, as well as address issues such as climate change, human rights, and good governance.

“Part of what we’re going to be trying to do with the Obama Foundation is…to promote a values-based approach to leadership development, because we believe that real leadership involves dialogue and inclusion and tolerance and a commitment to human dignity,” Obama said. “I’ve also heard more than once from them about the value of connecting to one another, how they’re sharing ideas, making relationships, and building the types of movements that can move the world forward.”

Through both the Africa and Asia-Pacific Leaders programs, Obama aims to inspire, empower, and connect people in an effort to help change their community and the world.

“You talk to [these leaders] and you will be reminded about how much talent and energy these young people have…and how ready they are to get moving building even bigger, more impactful organizational efforts than they’re already doing,”Obama said. “And that, by the way, is another good reason why we’re in Hawaii. Growing up here, I experienced firsthand how people from different backgrounds can learn from one another and work together to create a thriving community.”