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Former US President Barack Obama points out features of the Obama Presidential Center as he participates in a roundtable discussion and community meeting at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago, Illinois, USA, 03 May 2017. EPA/TANNEN MAURY
Former US President Barack Obama points out features of the Obama Presidential Center as he participates in a roundtable discussion and community meeting at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago, Illinois, USA, 03 May 2017. EPA/TANNEN MAURY

Obama unveils design of his future library and presidential museum

The center will be used to "train the next generation of leadership, the Michelle Robinsons of today and the Barack Obamas of today."

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The former President of the United States unveiled Wednesday the design of his future library and presidential museum, an ambitious architectural project in Chicago, Illinois, from which he hopes to continue his mission of finding and training young political leaders.

The Barack Obama Presidential Center, to be located in the vast Jackson Park in the south of Obama's favorite city, will occupy more than 1.8 hectares and will consist of three buildings: a museum, a forum and a library.

The museum, a high building with a modern design, will be the most outstanding element of the project run by the Obama Foundation, which is expected to cost at least $500 million and will be completed by 2021.

What we want to do was create something for the future

 "When Michelle and I started talking about the Presidential Center, we were really firm that what we want to do was create something for the future," Obama said Wednesday during the project presentation in Chicago.

The former president said that presidential libraries, which are centers dedicated to spreading the legacy of each US president, are often conceived as "a monument to the past" and also to the "ego" of each leader.

Obama said he is "interested in having displays and exhibits that can teach young people about, not just my presidency, but all the people who led to my presidency, the process of struggle and the process of overcoming" that allowed him to win a historic election in 2008.

"And so there will be a museum embedded in the library, because, let's face it, y'all wanna see Michelle's dresses," Obama joked, adding that there will also be "some of the campaign posters and maybe there will be some artifacts from the White House and the presidency."

"Those are all interesting things to pull people in and give them a sense of what this has been all about," he said, stressing that the center will be used to "train the next generation of leadership, the Michelle Robinsons of today and the Barack Obamas of today."

"What we want this to be is the world premiere institution for training young people in leadership to (help them) make a difference in their communities, in their country and in their world," Obama added.

Obama earlier said in April, that the priority in his life after the presidency would be to find talented young people with a passion for community work and give them the tools they need to achieve their goals.

However, his return to public life after stepping down from presidency in January has sparked criticism, particularly as it is expected that he will charge $400,000 for a talk on Wall Street in September for trading and investment company Cantor Fitzgerald.

This cost, which doubles that of President George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, is equivalent to Obama's annual salary as president and has earned him disapproval from two prominent US progressives, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. 

 

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