Barack Obama and his family kicked off the visit to Athens with a private tour of the Acropolis on Wednesday.
Barack and Michelle Obama were joined by their two daughters Malia, 24, and Sasha, 22.
The former first lady wore a flattering khaki jumpsuit and white cardigan, with her husband looking relaxed in white chinos, trainers and a casual blue shirt.
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Some media covered the incognito visit of the Obamas in a sensationalist way:
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In 2016, during his last international trip while in office, Obama delivered a stirring, memorable speech.
He praised the birthplace of democracy and the cradle of Western Civilization by posting a video on the White House Twitter account.
The former U.S. President appeared with the Parthenon in the background saying that, “One of the great joys being a president is the ability to travel, get to know cultures and meet people. This is important not only for our national security but to also understand ourselves.”
“We have the Parthenon behind us and it was here in Athens that ideas such as democracy and the notions of citizenship and the rule of law began to develop,” Obama says.
Obama in Athens for his Foundation’s Leaders program
In Athens, the former US President will meet the 105 members of the Barack Obama Foundation Leaders program.
The meeting is taking place without the presence of the public and marks the completion of the six-month journey of the participants for 2023.
Obama will talk with them about their actions towards the development and acceleration of positive and lasting change in their communities.
Michelle and I started the @ObamaFoundation to support the next generation of leaders creating sustainable change in their communities.
This week, I'll be joining our Obama Leaders in Greece where we’ll share ideas and dive deeper into the work they’re doing. pic.twitter.com/RYhmkUO2QR
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 20, 2023
Among the 105 people selected from 75 countries is a Greek national, Elpida Kokkota, founder and CEO of the non-profit organization Mexoxo, which aims to strengthen female entrepreneurship.
The six-month Barak Obama Foundation Leaders program recognizes individuals working in the public and private sectors and in civil society who have demonstrated work in advancing the common good by emphasizing the shared values and ethical leadership that formed Barack and Michelle Obama’s vision.
By empowering them and developing leadership skills, the Foundation seeks to form a new generation of engaged citizens who will act as positive role models and create tangible solutions to the challenges facing their communities, their countries and the world at large. Participants are an international network of Obama Foundation leaders, numbering more than 800 alumni.
Barack Obama’s Greek Odyssey
Obama and his family were spotted enjoying a short vacation in the Cyclades islands in Greece before their arrival in Athens.
Local sources said that the couple had arrived in Greece on Friday, traveling incognito on a private jet, and were eventually seen on Saturday in Naousa, a picturesque fishing village on Paros island.
The Obamas were being hosted by their friends, Hollywood actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, who own a holiday home on the adjacent island of Antiparos.
Over the weekend, the Obamas and the Hanks’ enjoyed mini cruises to secluded beaches of Paros, Antiparos and nearby Ios, where they traveled by private boat.
The only photo leaked so far from the Obamas’ Greek island vacation was shared by a Twitter user who felt annoyed at how “the whole island was disrupted” by their stay on Antiparos.
Later they were spotted dining with Tom Hanks at a restaurant on the nearby island of Sifnos, famous for its cuisine.