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Watch: President Obama shares the vision of the presidential center

President Obama speaks on a panel. In the background is a board that reads, "CHICAGO." It is a bright blue color with the Chicago map on the right side.

Watch President Obama share his vision for the Obama Presidential Center during a surprise visit with supporters and stakeholders—a vision for a public space that will honor history, help revitalize the South Side, and connect people throughout the community.

President Obama and Chicagoans share the vision of the Presidential Center

The President's surprise visit followed remarks by Obama Foundation CEO David Simas and Chief Engagement Officer Michael Strautmanis, who thanked community members for their support and feedback on plans for the Center, updated neighborhood groups and others in the community about next steps in the city and federal review processes of the design, and shared information about Obama Foundation programming initiatives.

You can learn more about the future Obama Presidential Center here.

Highlights from President Obama's Remarks

“...I got my start right here. This is where I became a man. This is where I learned how to work in communities. This is where I came to the belief that when you involve people and engage people and empower people, that good things happen..."

“...This is where I learned how to organize. This is where I was baptized. This is where I met my wife, who grew up about a mile from here. This is where my children were born. This is where I purchased my first house. This is where I won my first political race. This is where I lost my only political race. This was the base from which I was able to launch a U.S. Senate race. And this was the foundation upon which I ran for president..."

"...And what we also said to ourselves is, how do we give back? How do we make sure that this center, this museum, is a tribute to not us, but a tribute to all the people and the forces and the community that helped to make this so special?   How do we make sure that it is a museum that is consistent with the extraordinary collection of museums we have along this lakefront? How do we enhance historic Jackson Park so that it becomes a vibrant, vital place for families and our young people and matches the extraordinary activities that so often we see in other parts of the city but don’t always see here?  How do we shine a light on the history of this community so that all of Chicago comes to appreciate the contributions that have been made here? How do we make sure that the community benefits from our presence?..."

“...Not only do we expect this to be the kind of museum that makes Chicago and the South Side proud – a companion to the Museum of Science and Industry so that you have a Museum Campus South that can match with the Museum Campus downtown – but the enhancements that we are going to be bringing to the park, the landscaping, the facilities, the gardens, Michelle’s gardens, the ability for us to partner with schools, the ability for us to fill this magnificent part of the city up with people and life and activity, is something that I’m hoping generations of Chicagoans are going to enjoy for years to come, and it will potentially be an anchor for the kinds of renewal and economic activity and opportunity that so many of you have worked for for so very long..." 

You can watch President Obama's full remarks here. (Opens in a new tab)