- Title: Obama speech sends comfort and hope to Athens audience
- Date: 16th November 2016
- Summary: ATHENS, GREECE (NOVEMBER 16, 2016) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION CULTURAL CENTRE WHERE U.S. PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA IS TO MAKE A SPEECH VARIOUS OF AUDIENCE SEATED INSIDE AMPHITHEATRE U.S., GREEK AND EU FLAGS HANGING VARIOUS OF PEOPLE SPEAKING TO EACH OTHER BEFORE SPEECH VARIOUS OF GROUP OF REFUGEE WOMEN FROM 'MELISSA' WOMEN'S SHELTER INVITED BY THE U.S. EMBASSY SEATED AT FIRST-TIER BALCONY VARIOUS OF AUDIENCE U.S. PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA, WALKING ONTO STAGE/ AUDIENCE CHEERING / OBAMA THANKING AUDIENCE OBAMA SAYING 'HELLO, GOOD EVENING' IN GREEK / AUDIENCE CHEERING AND RESPONDING (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "In the United States and every place I've visited these last eight years, I have met citizens, especially young people who have chosen hope over fear, who believe that they can shape their own destiny, who refuse to accept the world as it is and are determined to remake it as it should be. They have inspired me." OBAMA STANDING AT PODIUM OBAMA WAVING GOODBYE AT END OF SPEECH (SOUNDBITE) (English) 20-YEAR-OLD UNIVERSITY EXCHANGE STUDENT FROM THE U.S., OLIVIA BRITAIN, SAYING: "He gave me hope, and I think given these past couple of days, especially with our election, I definitely feel like I was provided the sense of hope in that, you know, I need to go home and promote change and give that change and to keep on fighting, because, you know, it's about fighting and fostering change in our world." (SOUNDBITE) (English) CYNTHIA FREEMAN, U.S. CITIZEN RESIDING IN GREECE, SAYING: "I just feel comforted by Obama's words, he speaks like an educated man... he speaks to… but to the common citizen and I just feel very comforted by what he said. And I have to add that I know that him and President-elect Trump that they had a conversation and I think that from both sides there was a positive review of how it went between them. And just hearing Obama speak today I just so hope that he's involved in the transition of the President-elect, from what I've heard thus far it seems that there's a great chance that that might happen. So yeah I'm comforted, and yeah, I was not feeling too good last week but after this speech I felt much better. Definitely." (SOUNDBITE) (English) 26-YEAR-OLD ARCHAEOLOGIST, SAM HOLZMAN, SAYING: "Him expressing these ideas was absolutely wonderful, and you know, it's one thing to say 'spanakopita' (spinach pie) but to speak about the principles of democracy, 'nomia' (the rule of law), these ideas, was really wonderful." (SOUNDBITE) (English) 35-YEAR-OLD ENGINEER, MARIA AGATHOU, SAYING: "He has a gift, he has a gift in delivering talks and in… I don't know... touching whoever is in his audience. It was a recap of what he has done and I really think we were lucky to be here." PEOPLE LEAVING AFTER OBAMA'S SPEECH
- Embargoed: 1st December 2016 17:38
- Keywords: Obama Greece Athens speech democracy U.S.
- Location: ATHENS, GREECE
- City: ATHENS, GREECE
- Country: Greece
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00158P3M87
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Audience members listening to U.S. President Barack Obama's speech on democracy in the Greek capital on Wednesday (November 16) said it gave them comfort and renewed hope about the future.
About 1,400 students, politicians, cultural figures, young entrepreneurs and even several refugees living at a women's shelter were invited by the U.S. Embassy in Athens to listen to Obama speak.
Obama extolled the strengths of democracy from its Greek birthplace in a valedictory speech aimed at highlighting the values he sought to respect in office.
Obama said he was inspired by the young people he had met over the last eight years who consistently chose "hope over fear".
The audience cheered and applauded numerous times throughout the speech, in which Obama listed step-by-step the values of U.S. democracy that he and fellow Democrats have accused President-elect Donald Trump of violating during his presidential campaign, an implicit call on his successor to change course.
Exchange student Olivia Britain, who had attended Obama's inauguration in 2009, said that the speech gave her hope and inspired her to fight for fostering change when she returns home to New York.
Obama, who campaigned vigorously for his former secretary of state and fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton to succeed him, is fighting now to keep his legacy accomplishments on healthcare, climate change, and nuclear diplomacy alive in the face of Trump's promises to dismantle them.
Obama is on his last foreign trip as U.S. president.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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