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Obama to urge rejection of ‘authoritarian politics and policies’ in speech

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Former President Obama will accept an award for ethics in government next week and deliver a speech detailing the “challenges and opportunities facing our country.”

Obama will receive the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government during a ceremony on Sept. 7, the school and Obama’s office announced Thursday.

“Next week, President Obama will offer new thoughts on this moment and what it requires from the American people. He will expand upon several of the themes from his summer address, including that America is at its best when our democracy is inclusive and our citizens are engaged,” Katie Hill, the communications director for Obama, said in a statement.

{mosads}“He will echo his call to reject the rising strain of authoritarian politics and policies,” she continued. “And he will preview arguments he’ll make this fall, specifically that Americans must not fall victim to our own apathy by refusing to do the most fundamental thing demanded of us as citizens: vote.”

The university said tickets will be required to view Obama’s remarks, but they will not be available to the general public. The speech will be streamed online, and a limited number of tickets will be made available to University of Illinois students.

The university’s Douglas Award has been given since 1994 to honor the late Sen. Paul Douglas (D-Ill.). The prize is given to an individual who contributes to “the understanding and practice of ethical behavior in public service,” the school said.

Obama, a Chicago native, is the 28th recipient of the award. Past recipients include the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Obama’s speech in Illinois will appear to follow up on his remarks in South Africa, where he warned that “strongman politics are ascending suddenly,” and that “those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.”

The former president, who has remained largely out of the political spotlight since leaving office, is expected to become more politically active as November’s midterms approach.

Tags Ethics John Lewis John McCain

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