president obama: hola peru! (applause) asu! muchas gracias. thank you so much. thank you. everybody, pleasehave a seat. thank you, cyntia, for yourkind words and your great work here in peru inbringing people together
across generationsto meet challenges. please give cyntia a biground of applause for the great introduction. so it is wonderfulto be here in peru. i want to thank everybody atcatholic university of peru for hosting us. i want to thank thegovernment and the people of this beautiful countryfor your hospitality. audience member: i love you!
president obama:i love you, too! so, while i'm here, i'mhoping to enjoy some good food -- somepollo a la brasa. maybe a pisco sour. but i will not beattempting the marinera -- -- because i usually leavethe dancing to my wife, michelle. (laughter) she's a betterdancer than me.
but i want to thank all ofyou for being here -- our young leaders of america,both live and online, representing every countryin latin america and the caribbean. now, this is my final stopon my final trip abroad as president of theunited states. and i've had the usualmeetings with world leaders, and we've doneimportant business. but whenever i travel, oneof the things that i've been
trying to do for the lasteight years is to meet with young people. first of all, young peopleare more fun than old people. second, because today morethan half of the world's population is 30 or younger. and that means yourgeneration will determine the course of our future --as individual nations and as a global community. now, the good news is,because i've had a chance to
meet so many young peoplearound the world, it makes me very optimistic to knowthat you are going to be in charge. and that's why i wanted mylast public event abroad to be with you. i often say to young peoplein my own country: if you had to be born at any timein human history, it would be right now. if you think about all theprogress that's been made,
not just in your lifetimes,but even in the last few years, fewer people thanever around the world live in extreme poverty. scientific breakthroughs arepaving the way for cures to new diseases. more children are goingto school; more girls in particular are going toschool than ever before. people across the world aresecuring their human rights. and technology has reshapedthe world, as you can tell,
because everybodyhas their phones. at a time when earth isnow populated by more cell phones than people, you havethe power to connect with each other acrossborders, across nations. you have the tools in yourhand to solve problems that we couldn't even imaginewhen i was your age. now, even as we make allthese important strides in advancing the rights of morepeople, even as technology brings us closer together,this unprecedented change
also brings challenges. we see it in the wideninggap between the rich and the poor around the world. we see it in the forces ofextremism and division that too often tearcommunities apart. so the question for all ofus is, how can we make sure that in this rapidlychanging world, nobody is left behind and that all ofus are stronger and more prosperous?
so over the last eight yearsas president, i've worked to strengthen our relationshipwith the americas. we're more than justneighbors -- we're linked by trade and culture, andfamily and values. our students study ineach other's countries. our businesses sellgoods across borders. our tourists travelback and forth. and we've moved beyond manyof the old arguments to create a new vision for thefuture -- one that your
generation, which isliberated from old ways of thinking, can lead. during my presidency, theunited states recommitted itself to the region, inpartnership with your countries, based on mutualinterests and mutual respect. we increased trade. we stood up for democracyand human rights, fought against corruptionand organized crime. we've promoted clean energy.
we've led the global fightagainst climate change. we opened a newrelationship with cuba. i strongly believe that thiswork has to be done with governments, but it's evenmore important that it's done by people -- becausegovernment is important, but it can't solveevery problem. so we have to work togetherat a people-to-people level -- teachers, and doctors,and students, and entrepreneurs, and religiousleaders -- all trying to
find ways in which we canpromote those values of dignity and humanity andrespect that so often are threatened. and that's why we developedthis young leaders initiative. our goal is to find themost innovative young entrepreneurs, the mostenergetic civil society leaders like you, andhelp empower you with the training, and tools andconnections so you can make a difference in yourcommunities and your countries.
this network alreadyhas 20,000 people. this fall, we welcomed thefirst class of 250 ylai fellows to theunited states. this is just 100 of them. they're from every countryacross the americas. we want to help -- -- so we want to help thisgeneration with grants, seed funding, skills training. today, i'm announcing thelaunch of the latin american
and caribbean civil societyinnovation initiative hub, which is a way to virtuallyconnect civil society organizations across theregion so you can learn from each other, share your goodwork, support each other. we're investing $40million in the talents and entrepreneurship of youngpeople across the caribbean to help start your ownbusinesses and ventures. we're opening what we callthe global innovation exchange so that you canshowcase your new business
or enterprise to peoplearound the world, and that way you can connect andhopefully get resources that you otherwise didn't have. and we're moving ahead withmore education partnerships, like the 100,000strong in the americas. by the end of the decade,we want 100,000 u.s. students studying in theamericas, and 100,000 students from the americasstudying in the united states. and today, we're announcinga partnership between the u.s.
department of state, sempra,and caf, which is latin america's development bank,to fund the first innovation fund competition exclusivelybetween peruvian and u.s. colleges and universities sostudents can come together to work on climate changeand environmental science. so we're focused on thehemisphere, we're focused on the region. but it's more than justnorth america, south america. you're now part of a globalnetwork of young leaders
from africa, southeast asia,europe, and the americas who are doing amazing work intheir own communities. and while my time as u.s. president is coming to anend, this network is just beginning -- it's neverbeen more important. we need you to stayconnected, work together, learn from each other,so we can build that next generation of leadership whocan take on challenges like climate change and poverty,can help grow our economies,
make sure that womenget opportunity. make sure that every child,wherever they live, has a chance to build a good life. and i'm going to just giveyou some examples of the amazing people that areinvolved in this process. we need leaders likedr. valã©ry moise. as a young doctor in haiti,valã©ry saw firsthand how issues like acutemalnutrition -- hunger -- affected the poorestchildren in his country.
so he and a team of socialworkers and doctors started an organization calleddiagnostik group, which focuses on improving healthcare for abandoned children at the largest pediatrichospital in haiti. his goal is for the groupto become the standard for pediatric care and to expandso that he can reach even more children across haiti. so thank you, valã©ry, forthe great work that you are doing.
we need leaders likeabbigale loncke of guyana. abbigale, are you here? so after struggling to findher own grandfather home care, abbigale realized thisis a problem for so many other families, so shestarted community health care, a home care agency. she started out as a serviceto help families take care of their loved ones but nowhas a social movement that also provides training andjob opportunities for young
women in the healthcare industry. so thank you, abbigale, forthe great work you're doing. and you already heard thegreat work that cyntia is doing right here in peru. across the world and acrossthe americas, young people are taking the lead. they're seeing problems,they're seeing injustice, and they are findingways to take action. and the main message i wantyou to know is that you have
a partner in me and you havea partner in the united states government. and we are goingto work together -- -- we're goingto work together. we expect the fellowships tocontinue, but i want you to know that i will alsocontinue to be involved, even after i'm president,because i want to make sure that we continue toinvest in your success. if you succeed, not only doyour countries succeed, but
the world succeeds. and i'm very excited to seeall the great things you're going to do in the future. so, muchas gracias. let's take some questions. and now we're going tostart with some questions. i'm going to take off myjacket because it's a little hot. (laughter and applause)
i wasn't trying to get acheer out of that but -- all right, so we're goingto start with this question from this gentlemanright here. please introduceyourself as you speak. hold on, the micis not working. no, not yet. do we have a second mic? testing -- one, two, three. hold on, here's thetechnical expert.
here we go. here's another one. not yet? uh-oh. we got to try this one. one of these isgoing to work. the press: testing. president obama:oh, there you go. hey!
the press: goodafternoon, mr. president. my name is luissantiago . i'm from caracas, venezuela. i'm a ylai fellow. we're working on the firstelectronic health records platform for latin america,and i was a proud member of this chord of ylai fellows. i'm here to read a questionfrom our ylai network. there were 200 questionsposted on facebook, but
carlos david carrasco murofrom venezuela asks: in venezuela, there's a debateabout what matters most for stability, whether it'speace or democracy. how can we create a worldwhere we do not have to choose between them? both are importantfor development. thank you very much. president obama: well,it's a great question. and it's a timely question,because i think that after a
decade in which we've seenmore and more countries adopt democratic practices,you're now starting to see some of thosegains reversed. you're seeing some countriesthat are going backwards rather than forwards interms of freedom of the press, in terms of freedomof the internet, in terms of respecting politicalopposition and civil society. and there are those whoargue that democracy is incompatible withdevelopment because you need
order, you need somebodyfrom the top to tell people what to do inorder to achieve. and i would just suggestthat you look at the evidence over thelast 20, 30, 40 years. those countries that pursuedemocracy, that pursue transparency, where theirleaders are held accountable -- those are the countriesthat are doing best. those countries that arerepressive, that don't respect democracy, thatsilence critics -- they go
backwards economically. and it makes sense when youthink about it, because in this time that we live in,development is based on knowledge and innovation andeducation and new thinking and sharing of ideas. it's not based on how muchland you have, it's not based on natural resources. it's based on your people. and in a democracy, whatwe're able to do is --
people, through the freedomthey enjoy, are able to create, start businesses,start organizations, solve problems. and what's also true thenis, they're able to hold the government accountable, sowhen the government doesn't deliver for its people -- ifit engages in corruption, if its policies only benefit afew rather than the many -- people can react andrespond, and over time people get better policiesfrom their governments.
and look at what's happenedjust along the coast here in latin america. if you look at chile, peru,colombia -- all of them are growing faster, all of themare doing better because of the new openness anddemocracy that exists in these countries. and what's true here istrue around the world. now, the one thing i have tosay though is, democracy is more than just elections.
democracy is alsoa free press. democracy is alsofreedom of religion. democracy is makingsure that the rights of minorities are protected,not just the majority. democracy is rule of law andan independent judiciary. so it's a matter of allthese elements coming together. but the main thing we'velearned is that, in this knowledge-based society, youcan maintain order for a while with repressive,nondemocratic governments,
but it will rot from within. over time, those governmentsfail and those economies fail -- because when theymake mistakes, they try to hide them instead oftrying to solve them. when somebody has alegitimate criticism of a problem, it can be ignoredbecause the politicians don't have to answer. and eventually, thosesocieties end up doing much worse, oftentimes byincreasing repression as
people get more and moredissatisfied and then society breaks down. it's also true, by the way,that nondemocratic countries are much more likely toget into wars with other nondemocratic countries. democracies tend to tryto solve problems through diplomacy and dialogue. so not only is there nota contradiction between democracy and development,it is my belief that in
order, in this newknowledge-based economy, for development to besuccessful, you need democracy. i will say this onelast thing, though. democracy can befrustrating, because democracy means that youdon't always get 100 percent of what you want. democracy means thatsometimes you have to compromise. and it means that theoutcomes of elections don't
always turn out theway you would hope. and then you -- we're goingthrough that in the united states, and i'm doingeverything i can to help facilitate a successfultransition with the president-elect inthe united states. but as long as we keep ourdemocratic systems open, then the society has achance to try something new, and then it can make adecision and correct problems that they see inthe future, and progress
will continue. good. all right. let's see -- right there. yeah, you. so let's get a microphoneto you so we can hear you. and introduce yourself. by the way, i apologize,my spanish is just okay. so we're doing this inenglish, but hopefully i'm
being clear. go ahead. the press: hmr. president. i'm very glad to be here-- that you are here in my country, in peru. and for me, it's an honor tobe here in this conference. well, my question is, whatdo you think about the european union has cometogether to promote military integration in defense that-- after the victory of trump?
and do you think we haveglobal paranoia created by the media, or it's real? president obama: good. what's your name? the press: jocelyn ramirez. president obama:nice to meet you. are you a student here? the press: i'm astudent from upc. president obama: fantastic.
okay. you have someclassmates here. well, the united states issuch a big country that, after any election,people are uncertain. and i think it will beimportant for everybody around the world to not makeimmediate judgments but give this new president-elect achance to put their team together, to examine theissues, to determine what their policies will be --because as i've always said,
how you campaign isn'talways the same as how you govern. sometimes when you'recampaigning, you're trying to stir up passions. when you govern, youactually have reality in front of you, and you haveto figure out how do i make this work. the alliance between theunited states and europe, through nato,is very strong.
and the president-electtrump has already reaffirmed our commitment to nato. we actually have beenasking, under my administration, for europeto carry more of the burden of defense spending thanthey've been doing, because the united states spends alot more than some of our nato partners. and they recognize andacknowledge, i think, the need for them to spend moretime -- more resources on that.
with respect to latinamerica, i don't anticipate major changes in policy fromthe new administration. i think the work that we'vedone has been successful in establishing the strongestrelationships between the united states and latinamerica in modern history. the friendships that we'veestablished with countries like peru, the reopening ofdiplomatic relations with cuba, the investmentswe're making in trade, in environmental policy, and soforth -- all those things i
expect to continue. there are going to betensions that arise, probably around trade morethan anything else, because the president-electcampaigned on looking at every trade policy andpotentially reversing some of those policies. but once they look at howit's working, i think they'll determine that it'sactually good both for the united states and ourtrading partners.
there may need tobe modifications. i've called formodifications in certain elements of ourtrading policy. when we established theu.s.-peru free trade agreement, one of therequirements was for peru to strengthen its protectionof labor rights, workers' rights. and we did that in partbecause, with all of our trading partners we don'twant to be disadvantaged
because we're dealing withlabor that has no rights, and so it gets the lowestwages and can be exploited. but we did it also becausethat will help lift the wages and benefits andprotections that workers here in peru enjoy, becauseultimately that's good for everybody. one of the things that ireally believe is that when you pay workers well, whenordinary people are getting a decent wage and decentbenefits and decent
protections, then they havemore money in their pockets, and then they go out andthey spend that money, which is good for business, andeverybody is better off. so that's the kind ofattitude that we want to try to promote in theyears going forward. and my hope is, is thatthat policy will continue. so my message to you,though, and the message i delivered in europe is,don't just assume the worst. wait until theadministration is in place,
it's actually putting itspolicies together, and then you can make your judgmentsas to whether or not it's consistent with theinternational community's interest in living in peaceand prosperity together. okay, so what i'm doing isi'm going boy, girl, boy, girl, so that everybodygets a fair chance. okay, this gentleman righthere, in the purple shirt. the press: thankyou very much. first of all, i just want tosay thank you for being such
a great world leaderover your tenure. i truly think that you'vedone your best in making the world a better place. president obama: iappreciate that. the press: my nameis lubi jorges. president obama: whereyou are from, lubi? the press: i'mfrom the bahamas. president obama: hey. the press: i'm the son oftwo haitian immigrants
living in the bahamas. and i'm a human rightsactivist and also a radio talk show host. i filter my advocacy workthrough radio, because it's a great form ofcommunication in getting everybody involved. nonetheless, you spoke aboutyouth and us shaping the future and the direction ofthe world, and what it's going to be in thevery near future.
but i'll give you aquick example of what i experienced and then aquestion that can apply to all of us hereas young people. as a person being born tohaitian parents, immigrants, in the bahamas, there is acertain perception on you not being a native. and governments havefed on that over time. and so the averageindividual that you would come into contact with, theywould see you in a
certain light. and so the opportunities toassist then, to help your country, thenare diminished. for example, i'm tryingto bridge the gap between haitians and bahamians inthe bahamas, but government officials and otherindividuals, they would have said, well, you're fightingfor haitians to take over the bahamas --when it's not that. i just want bahamians andhaitians to live in peace in
the bahamas. and so if you had theopportunity to have all of our prime ministers andpresidents in one room, and you had one word of advicethat you could have given those leaders in regards toyoung people, and especially millennials, what wouldyou say to those leaders? president obama: well,you know, i've had that opportunity anumber of times. they don't alwaysfollow my advice.
but to your broader point-- look, we live in a world that is smallerthan ever before. because of the internet,because of modern travel, your generation gets ideasand culture and your politics fromeverywhere, right? you are listening toeverything from rolling stones, to kendrick lamar,to salsa, to reggaeton to -- -- right? so what is true in music,what's true in food is also
true in terms ofpolitics and ideas. and the great thing aboutyoung people is, is that that's made your identitiesboth national but also international. so people here are peruvian,but you're also people who care about what happensaround this continent and around the world. it means that you can beboth proud of your haitian heritage and live in thebahamas, and also be
concerned about what happensin africa, or what is happening in myanmar. that's a good thing. now, i'll be honest withyou, older people sometimes are more threatened thanyounger people by this convergence because -- youknow, now that i've got gray hair, i see what happens asyou get older -- you get set in your ways and you areafraid of things that are new. and oftentimes, politicianscan feed into that sense
that everything is changingso fast, let's go back to our old identities --identities of race or tribe or nationality. and my main advice, not justto world leaders, but more importantly to citizensaround the world is, if you're defining yourselfjust by what you're not, if you're defining yourselfjust by the color of your skin or where you were born,then you are not fully appreciating what will giveyou a strong identity and
meaning in your life, andwhat will lead to prosperity and security for everyone. and that is the values andideals that we should all promote: that we respecteverybody, regardless of what they look like. that we give everybodyopportunity no matter where they were born, whether theywere born poor or they were born rich. that we have laws thateverybody has to observe,
not just laws for one set ofpeople and then a different set of laws forother people. because the problem withthat approach -- a very narrow way of thinking aboutyourself -- is that that means almost inevitably youhave to be in conflict with somebody else. if the most important thingabout you is that you are an american -- if that's theone thing that defines you -- then you may end up beingthreatened by people from
other places, when in factyou may have a lot in common and you may missopportunities. now, i'm a very proudamerican, and my job as president of the unitedstates is to look out for american interests. but my argument to theamerican people has always been, the best way for usto look out for american interests is to also careabout what's happening in our neighborhood.
because if their house isburning down, eventually my house will burn down. the best way for mydaughters to be secure as americans is to make surethat people in el salvador or guatemala are alsofeeling some security, because if they're not, theneventually that may spill over the borders to us. and some of the challengesthat we face today are ones that no singlegroup can solve.
if you look at somethinglike climate change -- that knows no borders. if there is pollution inchina, it affects you here in peru. if we are going to make surethat the oceans don't rise so that suddenly all of thestreets around lima are two feet underwater, then it'sgoing to require everybody taking the kind ofcollective action that we talked about in theparis agreement.
so i think that we shouldall have the capacity, and governments should reflectthis capacity, to be proud of our particularcircumstance, be proud that you're haitian, be proudthat you're in the bahamas, be proud that you'rea young, black man. be proud of your particularidentity, but also see what you have in common withpeople who don't look like you or don't come fromthe same place as you do. because if we see what wehave in common, then we're
going to be able to worktogether and that's going to be good for all of us. if all we see isdifferences, then we're automatically going to be incompetition -- and in order for me to do well, thatmeans i have to put you down, which then makes youwant to put me down, and everybody stays down hereinstead of everybody lifting each other up. it's the most importantthing we can do.
all right, so it'sa woman's turn. okay, everybody is pointingat this young lady. all her friends werepointing at her, so she has something veryimportant to say. the press: welcome toperu, mr. president. president obama: thank you. the press: my name is sofia,and my friends and i are students at laboratoria. i know you have metmariana (inaudible).
do you rememberabout laboratoria? president obama:i'm sorry, what? i'm sorry. the press: do rememberabout laboratoria? president obama: yes. the press: withmariana costa? president obama: yes, yes. the press: okay, i'm astudent over there, me and my friends.
we are so lucky to bestudying over there to get a job in tech, but there areso many young people still without these typeof opportunities. so what do you recommend toopen more quality education or job opportunities foryoung people in latin america? president obama: well, theprogram you described is doing great work, andthere's a lot of good work all across latin america. one of the goals is to makesure that not only are we
providing a great educationfor people at the youngest ages -- basic reading,arithmetic, all those things -- but today you also needto have some knowledge of technology. and what we're trying to dois to work with governments and ngos to expand accessto the internet, to digital platforms. and what we also want todo then is to help design curriculum and programsthrough the internet so that
online learning isaccessible in places where previously there mightnot be opportunities. and we're seeing some ofthose investments here in peru. that's part of the broadereducational program that we have throughoutlatin america. but we can still do more. and it's not just us, it's apublic-private partnership also. so having facebookparticipate, and microsoft and google and other bigcompanies who have an
interest in an educatedpopulation -- because the more educated and more wiredthey are, the more, over time, customers are usingtheir products and their platforms. what we want to do is tomake sure that everybody, even in the smallestvillage, has suddenly this library to the world andto the best educational opportunities, even ifthere's not a big university in that small town.
and some of the learningthat we can do, it doesn't have to be four years. sometimes, a six-weekprogram could teach people coding in computers, andsuddenly right away that person has a job, and thenthey can learn more and ultimately go and geta four-year education. but oftentimes what you needis just that first step. and we're doing this in theunited states, by the way. it's not just inlatin america.
in the united states, oneof the things that we're finding is that we need toexpand computer science and literacy in the schools. we need to make sure, also,that we set up technical training systems wheresomebody who's unemployed in a city where there used tobe a big factory but now the factory is closed; orbecause of automation and robots, fewer people areworking there; those people who have lost their jobs,they may not be able to
afford to just go to afour-year university, give them six weeks, eight weeks,ten weeks of training. get them in a job right now,and then over time they can learn even more. so, congratulations. you guys aredoing good work. okay, so this isa team effort now. it's good to seethis cooperation. everybody is pointingat one person.
all right, this gentlemanright here, right in the front. the press: hello,mr. president. i'm a student representativefrom this beautiful university with thisgorgeous group of people. my name is kai. and i'm going to give alittle bit of context to my question. you see, the smartestman i know is my dad. my dad was born in cuba.
and when he was seven yearsold, he went to the united states to getan opportunity. he lived all of hisuniversity life there, from community college todoctorate, and he managed to do a lot of things becausethe usa had an open, honest towards him. today, many immigrants canbring innovation to the usa because it has still thisopen, honest policy. but the administration thatis set to go after you is
allegedly saying that itwill have a closed door policy. in your opinion, what do youthink that today the stand of the usa is for offshoreinnovators that want to leave their comfort zone tothe usa, to go to harvard, mit, yale, tofind -- to strive? and what would be thedamages of the usa closing their doors to theseyoung innovators? and a final remark, i hopeyou have two amazing last months of presidency.
well, first of all, i knowthat your father is very proud that you said he'sthe smartest man you know. i hope that malia and sashawould say the same thing about their father-- i don't know. but i'm sure thatmade him feel good. look, america is anation of immigrants. those of you who visitedamerica, if you walk in an american city -- not justnew york or los angeles, but st. louis or indianapolisor columbus, ohio -- if you
walk down the street, yousee people that look like they could be from anyplace. because the fact is, isthat except for the native american populations,everybody in america came from someplace else. all of us are immigrants. and that's been our greateststrength, because we've been able to attract talentfrom everywhere. i use this as an example:you notice that the united
states did reallywell in the olympics. now, some of that is becausewe're a big country, we're a wealthy country, so wehave all these training facilities and we can do allkinds of -- best equipment. all that is true. but you know what, china isa bigger country and spends a lot of money also. the big advantage thatamerica has, if you look at our team -- actually,two big advantages.
first, we passed somethingcalled title ix many years ago that requires that womenget the same opportunities in sports as men do. and that's why -- one of thereasons the american teams did so well is the womenwere amazing, and just because they'vegotten opportunities. right? which teaches us somethingabout the need to make sure that women and men, boysand girls, get the same
opportunities. because you do better wheneverybody has a chance, not just some. but the second thing-- you look at a u.s. olympic team and there areall kinds of different sorts of people of all differentshapes and sizes. and part of it is because wedraw from a bigger genetic pool than anybody -- right? we have people who -- theselittle gymnasts, they're
like this big. simone biles cameby the white house. she's a tiny little thing. amazing athlete. then we have michael phelps,he's 6'8" and his shoulders are this big. and that's goodfor swimming. he couldn't do gymnastics,but he's a really good swimmer. the point is, is that whenyou have all this talent
from all these differentplaces, then you actually, as a team, do better. and that's been thegreat gift of america. now, what we have to do notjust in the united states, but in all countries, is tofind a way to have a open, smart immigration policy,but it has to be orderly and lawful. and i think that part ofwhat's happened in the united states is that eventhough the amount of illegal
immigration that ishappening has actually gone down while i've beenpresident, the perception is that it has just gone up. partly this is because itused to be that immigrants primarily stayed in texasand arizona and new mexico, border countries,or in florida. and now they're moving intoparts of the country that aren't used to seeingimmigrants, and it makes people concerned -- who arethese people, and are they
taking our jobs and are theytaking opportunity, and so forth. so my argument has beenthat no country can have completely open borders,because if they did, then nationality and citizenshipwouldn't mean anything. and obviously if we hadcompletely open borders, then you would have tens ofmillions of people who would suddenly be coming into theunited states -- which, by the way, wouldn'tnecessarily be good for the
countries where they leave,because in some places like in africa, you have doctorsand nurses and scientists and engineers who all try toleave, and then you have a brain drain and they'renot developing their own countries. so you have to have somerules, but my hope is, is that those rules are set upin a way that continues to invite talented young peopleto come in and contribute, and to make a goodlife for themselves.
what we also, though, haveto do is to invest in countries that are sendingmigrants so that they can develop themselves. so you mentioned cuba, forexample, where your father fled. he left in part because theydidn't feel that there was enough opportunity there. part of the reason i saidlet's reopen our diplomatic relations with cuba isto see if you can start
encouraging greateropportunity and freedom in cuba. because if you have peoplewho have been able to leave cuba and do really well inthe united states, that means they have enoughtalent that they should be able to do really well bystaying at home in cuba. there are enormouslytalented people here in peru. i don't want all the youngpeople in peru to suddenly all go -- -- i don't want you to feel as if
you have to go to new yorkin order to be successful. you should be able to besuccessful right here in lima, right? so this is true in theamericas, it's true in europe, where obviouslythey've been flooded -- and it's been very controversial-- with migrants, some of them displaced from war insyria, but some of them just coming for economicreasons from africa. i just left meetings witheuropean leaders, and we
discussed the fact that ifwe're investing more in development in those africancountries, and encouraging greater rule of law andless corruption and more opportunity in thosecountries, then people are less likely to want to cometo germany or italy for their futures because theyfeel that they can make a future where they are. but this is an example ofwhat i was saying earlier. if we think only about, invery narrow terms, about our
borders and what's goodfor us, and ignore what's happening everywhere else,eventually it will have an impact on us whetherwe like it or not. because the world is justmuch smaller than it used to be. let's see, we got -- allright, young lady right there. go ahead, in the black. yes, you. the press: oh, my god,thank you for this amazing opportunity.
more than a question --well, i have to introduce myself first, sorry. i'm jennifer schell,and i'm from venezuela. we already talked a littleabout my country, but i just want to thank you for givingus the women's opportunity to make us feel empowered. i'm the ceo and founder ofthe trabajamama, a social initiative that promotesvalues for mothers around the world.
i'm a mother. i have a daughter, and it'sa little bit hard to become an entrepreneur. and i know that you havebeen supporting woman empowerment. you support a candidatewho was a woman, hillary. you are supported byyour wife, michelle. presidentobama: michelle is amazing. the press: i'msure, sure.
i'm sure of that. so i know how you have beentelling a lot of advice for young leaders. what i want -- specialadvice for female entrepreneurs, for those whohave to strive a little bit more, for those who aremothers who have to split their self, and ask herself,should i be a mother or should i be a professional. i truly believe that we canbe both at the same time,
but i would like to hear itfrom you -- an advice for all the women, potentialwomen that are going to become a mother, will haveour future generations. and on behalf of all my ylaifellows, thank you for this and all the fellows that arelooking -- there are more fellows looking right nowfrom their countries because they couldn't come to peru,so thank you for all the fellows that arewatching right us now. president obama: okay.
well, it's a great question. i mean, michelle probablywould have more to say about this because, you know,she's gone through it as a professional woman. but let me offer justa few observations. first of all, the leadersand the men in every country need to understand that thecountries that are most successful are going to bethe countries that give opportunities to girls andwomen, and not just
boys and men. and if you look at whichcountries are doing best -- most advanced, grow thefastest -- it's partly because you can't have halfthe population uneducated, not working, out of thehouse, not in leadership positions, and expect to beas good as a country where 100 percent of the peopleare getting a good education, and havingopportunities, and can do amazing things -- startinga business or entering into
politics or what have you. so this is not just aproblem for girls and women; men have to also recognize,this is good for you. and if you're a strong man,you shouldn't be threatened that women are doing well. you should be proud thatwomen are doing well. and families where womenhave opportunity, that means they're going to be able tobring in more income, which means the family as a wholeis going to do better.
and let's be honest,sometimes, you know, that whole machismo attitudesometimes makes it harder for women to succeed, andsometimes that is coming even from thosewho love them. so, men, those of you whoend up being fathers and you've got daughters,you've got to lift up your daughters. just telling them they'repretty is not enough. you've got to tell themthey're smart, and you got
to tell them they'reambitious, and you have to give them opportunity. so once you have the wholecountry thinking in those terms, then you need tostart having policies that can support women, and themost important thing, in addition to making sure thatgirls from an early age are getting a good education andthat they're not being told, oh, you can just do certainthings -- like engineering, that's a man's job, or beingscientist, that a man's job.
no, no -- girlscan do everything. it can't just be, you know,be a teacher -- which is a wonderful profession,but, traditionally, women sometimes are just toldthere are a few things they can do -- nurse, teacher-- as opposed to anything. so that starts -- onceyou've done that, then you have to recognize that thebig conflicts that women have in the professionalworld has to do with family and childrearing.
and for biological reasons,women have more of a burden than men do. but it's not just biology,it's also sociology, all right? men's attitudes is, well,yeah, i don't have to do as much. and even in my marriage withmichelle, i like to think of myself as a modern,enlightened man, but i'll admit it -- michelle didmore work than i did with sasha and malia.
so part of what societiescan do, though, is they can help with, for example,having smart policies for childcare. one of the hardest thingsfor professional women, particularly when theirchildren are still small and not yet in school, is who'sgoing to take care of my baby when i'm working, andhow do i make sure that they're safe and thatthey're trusted. so making sure thatgovernments have policies in
place that help. now, having a mother-in-lawwho helps, that's also very useful. but not everybody has theoption where they have family memberswho are close by. so that's an example ofsomething that we have to really work on. then we have to put pressureon institutions to treat women equally when it comesto getting loans to start
a business. up until just maybe 20 yearsago, in some places -- in the united states even -- ahusband had to sign a loan document with a bank, eventhough it was the wife's business, even if the womanwas the one making the money, it was her idea, itwas her investment, she was doing all the work. because of these oldstereotypes, you're having men co-sign.
that kind of mentality, thatkind of discrimination still exists in a lotof institutions. so we have to push backagainst those, we have to fight against those. women who are successful,you have to then fight for the younger women who arecoming behind you, and make sure that you are changingsome of these attitudes. if you are high up in abank, then you got to make sure that these policiesare good for women.
if you succeed in politics,then you have to help promote and encourage womenwho are coming behind you. so the last thing i guess iwould say would be -- i know that michelle says this toour daughters: you can be a wonderful mom and have awonderful family and have a really successful career. you may have to kind of nottry to do everything all at the same time exactly. you may have to time thingsout a little bit and have a
husband who supportstaking turns a little bit. so it may be that when thechild is very young, you're not doing something that isas hard, because having a really young child isalready really hard, and you have to sleep sometimes. but then as the child getsolder, maybe that's when you are doing something --maybe your husband is doing something that gives himmore time to support that child. so there's going to have tobe finding the right balance
throughout your life inorder to be successful. but congratulations on thegood work you're doing. all right, i've got time for-- so i only have time for two more questions. i'll call on that gentlemanup there with the glasses, in the blue shirt. no, no, right here. let him ask his question,and then i'll ask the last one. president obama: hello!
the press: it's reallyan honor to ask you this question. well, my name isalonso cornejo. i'm studying marketing at universidad san ignacio loyola. and my question is aboutwhat advice will you give to peruvian students thatthey are starting to think different, to making achange not just in peru, [but] worldwide -- make achange about worldwide.
what advice will you give? right now we live in a worldthat maybe the bad is good, and the good is bad. so what advice will you givethem to chase their dreams, make the country better --not peru, just worldwide? that will be my question. president obama: well, look,you're already doing so well. i don't know that i can giveyou the perfect advice. but i'll tell you what itell my young people who
work in the white house andwho i meet in the united states, because i thinkwhat's true in the united states is truefor you, as well. we live at a time whereyou're always seeing bad news. everybody -- bad newsgets a lot of attention. but the truth is that, insome many ways, the world is better now than it was 20years ago or 40 years ago, or 100 years ago. people are healthier today,they're wealthier today,
they're bettereducated today. the world, if you lookoverall, is less violent than it was. look at the 20th century --millions of people dying everywhere. look at latin america andthe wars that were taking place everywhereacross the continent. and so you actually areliving in a time of relative peace and historicprosperity.
and i say that so that youshould feel optimistic about the future. you shouldn'tfeel pessimistic. yeah, you're always seeingbad news, but the truth is the world is in a placewhere it can solve its problems and be even better20 years from now or 50 years from now. you have to start with thathope, that sense of optimism inside you, because if youdon't feel that way, then
you don't bother to try tohave an impact because you think, ah, every politicianis corrupt and all the governments are terrible,and people are greedy and people are mean, and so i'mjust going to look out for myself. and then nothinggets better. so you have to start knowingthat things have gotten better and cancontinue to get better. that's number one.
number two, i always tellyoung people to -- and i don't know if thistranslates well in spanish -- but i say: worry moreabout what you want to do, and not what you want to be. now, here is what i mean. i think a lot of people,they say to themselves, "i want to be rich," or theysay to themselves, "i want to be powerful." or theysay, "i want to be the president," or "i want tobe a ceo," so they -- or "i
want to be a rap star." sothey say they have this idea, but the people i knowwho are most successful, usually they're successfulbecause they found something that they really care about,and they worked at it and became really good at it. and over time, because theywere so good at what they did, they ended up beingrich, or they ended up being powerful and influential. but in the meantime, theywere constantly doing what
they enjoyed doing andlearning, and that's what made them successful. so what i would say to allof you is, find something you care deeply about. if you care about poorchildren, then find a way right now that you can starthelping some poor children. don't wait, saying toyourself, oh, someday, when i'm president of peru i'mgoing to help poor children. no, go now and find anorganization or create an
organization that is helpingpoor kids learn or be exposed to new experiences. if you care about theenvironment, don't wait. in addition to your studies,you could start having an impact right now on tryingto improve your local community, or trying to beinvolved in some of the work that's being done aroundthings like climate change. the point is that once youdecide what it is that you really care about, thereare ways for you to now get
involved and pursuethat passion. and if you pursue thatpassion and you get good at it, you're not going tochange the world overnight -- nobody does. i mean, i eventually, at theage of 45, became a senator and then the president ofthe united states, but i worked for 25 years in poorcommunities, and worked on issues. and hopefully i was doingsome good, even before i was
famous or powerful, so thatif i hadn't ended up being president i could still lookback and say, i worked on the things that i caredabout and i got something done that was important. and that, i think, is themost important advice that i have for you. all right, last question. it's a woman's turn. so all the men, you can putyour -- all the boys can put
their hands down. okay, go ahead, right there. the press: okay, first ofall, my name is melisa. i represent universidadperuana de ciencias aplicadas. besides, i'm a proudmember of upc (inaudible). and once again, i want towelcome you to this amazing country. and on behalf of this wholeaudience, i would like to thank you for thisamazing opportunity.
okay, so my questionis the following. as it is well known, duringyour presidency you have stepped up and acceptedmistakes you made yourself or maybe the teamyou're leading. and that's -- i believe thatshows how you reaffirm your belief in introspection andhow you want to leave the past behind. what would your advice to usentrepreneurs, most of us, that would like to leave themistakes -- learn from them,
step up, and leave what'sthe past in the past? thank you, president. president obama: well,you know, i don't -- you shouldn't ignore the past. you should learn from it. and you should learn fromhistory, and learn from experience. the truth is that i was --right before i came to peru, i was in europe, and istarted my trip in athens.
and i went to the parthenon,the birthplace of democracy. and you look at all thesebuildings from ancient greece, and you try toimagine all the things that were happening in that time,and it seems very long ago. but the fact of the matteris, is that humanity keeps on making the same mistakes,and we oftentimes find ourselves dealing with thesame problems and the same issues. so studying our past,studying our history, is
very, very important. but the main thing i tellyou and i tell my own daughters is, you can'tbe trapped by the past. there's a difference betweenunderstanding your past. you need to knowthe history of peru. if you live in the unitedstates, you need to know how america came about -- andthat includes both the amazing and wonderfulthings, but also the bad things. if you want to understandamerica today, then you have
to understand slavery, andyou have to understand the history of immigration, andhow the debates we're having today about immigrationaren't that different from when the irish or theitalians came and people were saying, we can't haveany more italians and we can't have any more irish. if you don't know thatthen you aren't going to understand the patternsthat we are having today. but the point is, is that wehave the power to make our
own history. we don't have to repeatthe same mistakes. we don't have to justbe confined to what has happened before orwhat is going on today. we can think differently,and imagine differently, and do things differently. the one thing that we shouldremember, though, is that even as we try to do thingsthat are new, we should remember that changegenerally doesn't
happen overnight. it happens over time. so i say that to youngpeople because sometimes they get impatient. in the united states,sometimes people say to me, oh, why haven't weeliminated racial discrimination inthe united states? and i say, well, we've madea lot of progress since i was born.
in terms of human history,if you think on the scale of hundreds of years orthousands of years -- in 50 years, the changes thathave taken place have been amazing. so you have to understandthat even though we can think differently, societiesdon't move immediately. it requires hard work, andyou have to persuade people. and sometimes you take twosteps forward and then you take one step back.
and you shouldn't bediscouraged when that happens, because historydoesn't just move in a smooth, straight line. the good news is thatwe have more access to information thanwe've ever had before. young people are in aposition to change the world faster than ever before. and i am confident that ifyou are respectful of people and you look for whatyou have in common with
humanity, if you stay trueto the values of kindness, and respect, and reason, andtrying to live together in peace, that the worldwill keep getting better. and i'll be looking forwardto seeing all the amazing things that you doin the years to come. okay? thank you verymuch, everybody.