MEETING PRESIDENT OBAMA
Last week, our Founder Alan attended a ‘Town Hall’ event in Berlin with President Barack Obama. Invited by the Obama Foundation to represent Scotland, social enterprise, and the fight against water poverty, the event highlighted the challenges, aspirations, and issues facing leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Those in the room were 300 young leaders from diverse countries, ethnicities, and economic backgrounds but they were all united by a common thread: a commitment to improving their communities, countries and the world in areas from civic leadership and open democracy to integrating refugees and ending violence against women.
The Obama Foundation is guided by the core belief that ordinary people working together can change history and their mission is very much in line with ours - to empower people to change their world for the better. The event was designed to ignite conversation about what it means to be an active citizen in today’s Europe and help advise how the Obama Foundation can help support emerging leaders in this area of work. Core to the President’s message was that he was asking us “not to believe in my ability to bring about change – but yours” - a vote of confidence that bore so much weight for all leaders in the room.
For Alan, the event fostered a feeling of hope and optimism that almost mirrored the emotions of his 18-year-old self - ”a naïve and eternally optimistic politics-obsessive who stayed up all night to watch Barack Obama become the US President in 2008”. With the uncertainty of Scotland’s place in the world, and in Europe in particular, similar to the economic climate of 2008 we are once again in a time of crisis.
“The future of Europe lies with these young leaders, and the Foundation wants to help them advance and scale their work. It was extremely beneficial to hear how the Foundation can best support these young leaders, who already are doing inspiring work to advance positive change, hand in hand with their communities.”
This was the take-home message of the event. While Brewgooder’s mission is to make a positive impact on the lives of those in water poverty around the world, we left the event with a profound feeling of responsibility to ensure that Scotland’s voice is not lost on the European or global stage, but heard and recognised rightly by our peers as the global leaders we always have been, we are and we will be.
Being surrounded by fellow changemakers in the presence of the 44th President of the United States has given us even more drive to achieve our goal of bringing consistent clean drinking water to 1,000,000 people, but also desire to help start conversations and create connections that will benefit young people who want to leave the world in a better place than they inherited it, that would rather build solutions than walls, that would rather celebrate the reality of a diverse, interconnected world, than hide from it for fear of its complexity.
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