Obama to host pro-democracy forum in NYC next month
Former President Obama announced on Monday that his foundation will host a two-day “Democracy Forum” next month in New York.
The event’s first day will include a mainstage lineup of pro-democracy activists from across the globe, including the former president, which will be followed by a day of smaller cohort meetings among Obama Foundation leaders.
The foundation will host the event in partnership with Columbia University and the University of Chicago on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18.
“At a time when democracy is under threat around the world, what gives me hope is the potential of the next generation of leaders,” Obama wrote on Twitter. “I couldn’t be more excited to announce the @ObamaFoundation’s global convening focused on the ideas that are essential to our democracy.”
Obama said the forum will explore issues such as strengthening democratic institutions, fighting disinformation and promoting inclusive capitalism.
“We hope this event gives everyone who believes in democracy the confidence that they can help make it stronger,” he wrote in a note to supporters. “Because if we want democracy to flourish, we will have to fight for it, we will have to nurture it, and we will have to demonstrate its value, again and again.”
The event will come days after the midterm elections, where Democrats are defending razor-thin margins in both chambers of Congress.
Some Republican candidates have made election integrity a cornerstone of their campaign platforms after former President Trump claimed without evidence that he lost the 2020 presidential election because of mass electoral fraud.
A new Axios-Ipsos poll released on Monday found that a substantial minority of Americans from both parties feel that if their party does not take control of Congress in next month’s elections, it is likely because of election fraud.
That belief was more prevalent among Republicans — at 39 percent — than Democrats — 25 percent — according to the poll. About twice as many Republicans as Democrats feel it is highly likely that this could be the case.
The Obamas since leaving office have latched onto pro-democracy causes.
Michelle Obama in 2018 founded a nonpartisan organization, called When We All Vote, that aims to increase voter participation.
The former president, meanwhile, has in particular taken aim at threats posed by disinformation, one of multiple topics expected to dominate at his foundation’s newly announced event.
“What does still nag at me, though, was my failure to fully appreciate at the time just how susceptible we had become to lies and conspiracy theories, despite having spent years being a target of disinformation myself,” he said during a speech in April.