Obama to start post-presidency public life Monday in return to Chicago

April 21 (UPI) — Although he was virtually a daily public speaker for close to a decade, former President Barack Obama has remained almost entirely out of the public eye since he left office in January. That will change Monday.

The 44th president of the United States is set to make his first post-White House appearance at a public event in his hometown of Chicago on Monday.

Since departing the White House on January 20, Obama has stayed silent — even as the maneuvers of President Donald Trump‘s administration have conjured up all kinds of conversations nationwide. He has been on an extended vacation in the South Pacific for weeks — even spending time on a yacht with a number of major celebrities like Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen.

Monday, Obama will speak at the University of Chicago — where he will speak about civic engagement and community organizing at the school’s Logan Center for the Arts, the former president’s office said Friday.

The event will be a homecoming for Obama for multiple reasons. Aside from growing up on the city’s South Side, the former president was also once a law professor at the university.

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“On Monday, Barack Obama will build on commitment to encourage [the] next [generation] of leaders driven by progressive change in U.S. around the world,” Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis tweeted Friday.

Obama celebrated consecutive election victories in the Windy City, in 2008 and 2012, and delivered his farewell address there on January 10. He returned for a low-profile visit in mid-February to discuss plans for his presidential library in Jackson Park, which is set to open around 2020.

“He’s really excited to go back to Chicago and have a conversation about community organizing and civic engagement,” Lewis said.

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“I’m immensely proud that his last speech as president was here in the city of Chicago, and his first major address in his post-presidency is here in the city of Chicago,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served as Obama’s first White House chief of staff, said. “It reflects his emotional — as well as his intellectual –commitment to this city, and seeing this city as his home in that effort.”

Obama has made seven posts via Twitter since his presidency ended, but hasn’t delivered any public remarks at an established event, as he will do Monday. The former commander in-chief — who will receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in Boston next month — is not expected to discuss the Trump administration in his address, likely due to political concerns.

It is common practice for former U.S. presidents to continue speaking publicly after they leave office. In fact, they make a good living with it. Former President Bill Clinton commands up to $200,000 per speech and George W. Bush upwards of $175,000. It’s unknown how much Obama is set to earn for his speaking engagements.


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