The Barack Obama Foundation announced today that the future Barack Obama Presidential Center will be located on Chicago’s South Side. The foundation, led by close family and friends of President Obama, will be responsible for all aspects of the building, construction, design and planning processes for the Obama Presidential Center.
The president and first lady recorded a video announcing their decision to bring the Presidential Center to Chicago’s South Side. The president emphasized their deep gratitude and appreciation, saying in part, “Not only will we be able to encourage and effect change locally, but what we can also do is to attract the world to Chicago. That’s where I was able to apply that early idealism to try to work in communities, in public service. The people there, the community, the lessons that I learned they’re all based right in this few square miles where we’ll be able to now give something back, and bring the world back home after this incredible journey.”
The foundation also intends to have a presence in Hawaiʻi and at Columbia University in New York, as both are locations important to the president’s past and essential to the foundation’s future activities.
“Hawaiʻi presented a compelling and high-quality plan,” said Maya Soetoro-Ng, the president’s sister, a member of the foundation’s board of directors and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa assistant professor. “I am thrilled to tell you that the foundation also plans to establish a presence in Hawaiʻi. Our foundation team is excited to begin developing joint programs with the University of Hawaiʻi and other local partners. We are just starting the process of building a platform to advance the work of the president and first lady after they leave the White House. But I know I speak on behalf of my brother when I say we are so pleased that Hawaiʻi will be a part of it. And I’m looking forward to working with everyone in Hawaiʻi to bring this project to life.”
Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige stated, “We’re pleased that President Obama’s Foundation is planning for the president to conduct work from his home state and look forward to continued discussions about future opportunities in Hawaiʻi.”
While the foundation will work closely with its South Side neighbor, the University of Chicago, it also plans to collaborate with each of the three other finalist universities—Columbia University, the University of Hawaiʻi and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“The University of Hawaiʻi is looking forward with great enthusiasm to working with the foundation to discuss the potential for Hawaiʻi based programs, said University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner. “This is an incredible opportunity for our students, faculty and staff and the entire state and will only enrich the educational experience here at the university.”