tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN November 20, 2016 5:54am-7:01am EST
[cheering] president obama: we need leaders like abigail. are you here? [applause] president obama: after struggling to find her own grandfather home care, she realized that it was a problem for some many other families so she started a community health care and home care agency. she started it as a service for families to take care of their loved ones, but now it is a social movement that provides job opportunities for women in the health care industry. so, thank you, abigail. [applause] president obama: you already heard the great work that cynthia is doing in peru, across the world and across the americas, young people taking
-- are taking the lead. problems, they are seeing injustice, and they are finding ways to take action. the main message i want you to know is that you have a partner in me and in the united states government. and we will work together. [applause] [cheers] president obama: we are going to work together. we expect the fellowship to continue, but i want you to know that i will continue to be involved, even after i am president, because i want to make sure that we continue to invest in your success. if you succeed, not only does your country succeed but the world succeeds. i am very excited to see the great things you will do. let's take some questions. i am going to take off my jacket, because it is a little hot.
[cheers] [laughter] president obama: i was not trying to get a cheer out of that. someone grab this? thank you, mike. we will start with this gentleman right here. please introduce yourself. hold on, the microphone is not working. not yet? do we have a second microphone? hold on, here is the technical expert. here we go. here is another one. yet? uh-oh.
here we go. we will try this one. one of these is going to work. >> testing. president obama: there you go. here we go. >> finally. [applause] >> good afternoon. i am here from venezuala. we are working on a platform for in latin america, and i am a proud member of the fellows. i am here to read a question from our network. there were 200 questions on facebook. so carlos asks, in our country, there is a debate on what matters most in our democracy? how can we create a world where we do not have to choose between them? both are important. thank you, very much. president obama: that is a great question and a timely question, because i think that after a
decade in which we have seen more and more countries adopt democratic practices, you are now starting to see some of those gains reversed. you are seeing some countries going backwards rather than forwards in terms of freedom of the press, freedom of the internet, in terms of respecting political opposition and civil society. and there are those that argue that democracy is incompatible with development, because you need order. you need somebody from the top to tell people what to do in order to achieve. i would suggest that you look at the evidence over the last 20-40 years.
those countries that pursue democracy, transparency, where the leaders are held accountable, those are the countries that are doing best. those countries that are repressive, that do not respect democracy, that silences critics, they go backwards economically. it makes sense when you think , in this timeuse that we live in, development is based on knowledge and innovation and education and new thinking and sharing of ideas. it is not based on how much land you had or natural resources, it is based on people. in a democracy, what we are able
to do is -- through the freedom people enjoy, they are able to create and to start businesses, what is also true is they are able to hold the government accountable, so when the government does not deliver where the people, they engage in corruption. if policies only benefit if you -- a few, people can react and overtime they will get better policies from the government. look at what has happened on the coast here in latin america. you look at chile, peru, colombia -- all of them are doing better and going faster because of a new openness in the democracy that exists. what is true here is true around
the world. the one thing i have to say is, democracy is more than just elections. democracy is also a free press, it is also freedom of religion, it is making sure that the rights of minorities are protected, not just the majority. it is rule of law. and an independent judiciary. it is a matter of all of these elements coming together. but the main thing we have learned is that in this
knowledge-based economy, this society, you can maintain order for a while with a nondemocratic government, but it will rot from within. over time, those governments fail and those economies fail, because when they make mistakes they tried to hide them instead of solving them. when somebody has a legitimate criticism of a problem, it can be ignored because politicians do not have to answer. and eventually those societies will do much worse, often times by increasing repression as people get more and more dissatisfied and the society breaks down. it is true that nondemocratic countries are likely to get into wars with other countries. democracies try to solve problems through diplomacy and dialogue.
not only is there a contradiction, it is my belief that in order in this new economy for development to be successful, you need democracy. i will say one must think. -- last thing. democracy can be frustrating, you do not always get 100% of what you want. it means sometimes you have to compromise and it means that the outcomes of elections do not always turn out the way you hope. then, and we are going through that in the u.s. and i am doing everything i can to facilitate a successful transition with the president elect, but as long as we keep our democratic systems open, then the society has a
chance to try something new and you can make a decision and correct problems they face in the future and progress continues. alright. let's see. [applause] president obama: you? let's get a microphone to you. introduce yourself. i apologize, my spanish is just ok. we are doing this in english, but hopefully i am being clear. go ahead. >> i am very glad you are here in my country. for me, my question is, what do you think about the european union coming together to promote military integration in defense after the victory of donald trump? do you think we have global
paranoia or created by the media or is it real? president obama: what is your name? [indiscernible] president obama: nice to meet you. you are a student? >> yes. [cheers] president obama: you have some classmates here. the united states is such a big country that after an election people are uncertain.
i think it will take -- i think it will be important for everybody around the world to not make the media judgments -- immediate judgments, but give the new president elect a chance to examine issues, to determine what their policies will be, because what i have said is the way that you campaign is not the way you will govern. we are trying to stir up passions, but when you govern you have reality in front of you and you have to decide, how will i make this work. the alliance between the u.s. and europe through nato is very strong.
and the president elect, donald trump, has already reaffirmed our commitment to native -- to nato. we have been asking for europe to carry more of the burden of defense spending than they have been doing, because the united states spends a lot more than some of our partners. and they recognize the need for them to spend more resources on that. with respect to latin america, i do not anticipate major changes in policy from the new administration. i think the work we have done has been successful in establishing the strongest relationships between the united states and latin america in modern history. the friendships we have established with peru, the reopening of diplomatic relations with cuba, the investments we are making in trade and environmental policy and so forth, all of those i expect to continue. there are going to be tensions
that arise come up probably around trade more than anything else. because the president elect campaigned on looking at every trade policy into potentially reversing some of those policies. but once they look at how it is working, i think they will determine it is good for the united states and its partners. there may need to be modifications, i have called for modifications and elements of our trading policy. when we established the free trade agreement, one of the requirements was for peru to strengthen their protection of labor rights, and we did that in part because with all of our trading partners, we do not want
to be disadvantaged because we are dealing with labor that has no right and so they get the lowest wages. we didn't also because -- did it also because it will lift the wages and protections that workers here enjoy. because ultimately, that is good for everybody. one thing i really believe is when you pay workers well, ordinary people getting a decent wage and benefits and protections, then they have more money and they go out and spend that money, which is good for business and everybody is better off. that is the kind of attitude we want to promote in the years going forward. my hope is that that policy will continue. my main message to you and what
i delivered in europe is, do not assume the worst. wait until the administration is in place and is actually putting policies together and then he can make your judgment as to whether or not it is consistent with the international community's interest in living in peace and prosperity together. [applause] president obama: alright. ok. so, what i am doing is i am going boy, girl, so everybody gets a fair chance. right here in the purple shirt. [cheers] >> thank you very much. i want to say thank you for being such a great world leader.
i truly think you have done your best in making the world a better place. president obama: i appreciate that. thank you. where are you from? >> i am from the bahamas. i am the son of two haitian immigrants and i am a human rights activist. i do advocacy work on the radio, because it is a great form of medication. you spoke about youth and us shaping the future and to the direction of the world and what it will be like in the near future. i will give you an example of what i experienced and a question that can apply to all of us young people. there is a perception on you not being a native.
that youge individual would come into contact with would see you in a certain light and so the opportunities to assist your country are diminished. for example, i am trying to bridge the gap. but government officials want to say -- you are fighting the haitians to take over the bahamas. i just want people to live in peace in the bahamas. if you had the opportunity to have all of our prime ministers and presidents in one room and you have one word of advice that you could give those leaders with regards to young people, especially millennials, what would you say to those leaders? i have had those opportunities a number of times and they do not always follow my advice. but to your broader point -- we live in a world that is smaller
than ever before. because of the internet and modern travel, your generation gets ideas and culture and your politics from everywhere. you are listening to everything from rolling stones to, you know, kendrick lamar to, you know, salsa, reggae, so what is true music, what is true food is also true in politics and ideas. the great thing about young people is that has made your identities both national but also international. people here are peruvian, but you are also people who care
about what happens around this continent and around the world. it means that you can be both proud of your haitian heritage and live in the bahamas, and also be concerned about what happens in africa or what is happening in myanmar. that is a good thing. i will be honest with you, older people are threatened than younger people by this convergence. now that i have gray hair, i see what happens as you get older. you get set in your ways. you are afraid of things that are new. and often times, politicians can feed into that sense that everything is changing so fast,
let's go back to our old identities. identities of race or tribe or nationality. and my main advice, not just to world leaders but world citizens, to citizens around the world, if you are defining yourself by what you are not, just by the color of your skin or where you were born, then you are not fully appreciating what will give you a strong identity and meaning in your life and what will lead to prosperity and security for everyone. that is the values and ideals that we should all promote, that we respect everybody regardless
of what they look like, that we give everybody opportunity no matter or they were born, whether they were born poor or they were born rich. we have laws that everybody has to observe, not just laws for one set of people and then laws for a different set of people. the problem with that approach, a very narrow way of thinking about yourself, is that means you have to be in conflict with somebody else. the most important thing about you is that you are an american, if that is the one thing that defines you, then you may end up being threatened by people from
other places when in fact you might have a lot in common and miss other opportunities. i am a very proud american, and my job as president of the united states is to look out for american interests, but my argument to the american people is the best way to look up for american interests is also to care about what is happening in our neighborhood, because in their house is burning down, eventually my house will burn down. the best way for my daughters to be secure as americans is to make sure that people in el salvador or guatemala are also feeling somewhat security, because if not, that may spill over the borders to us. and some of the challenges that we face today are one's that no single group can solve. you look at something like
climate change, that knows no borders. if there is pollution in china, it affects you here. if we are going to make sure the oceans don't rise so suddenly all the streets around lima are two feet underwater, then it will require everybody taking the kind of collective action we talked about in the paris agreements. so i think that we should all have the capacity, and governments should reflect this capacity, to be proud of our particular circumstance, be proud that, you know, you are haitian, be proud you are in the bahamas. be proud you are young black men. be proud of your particular identity, but also see what you
have in common with people who don't look like you or don't come from the same places you do. because if we see what we have in common, then we will be able to work together, and that is good for all of us. if all we see is differences, then we are automatically going to be in competition. in order for me to do well, i have to put you down. which then makes you want to put me down. and everybody stays down here instead of everybody lifting each other up. the most important thing we can do. [applause] president obama: so it is a woman's turn. ok. everybody is pointing at this young lady. all of her friends are pointing at her because she has something important to say. [cheers] >> welcome to peru, mr. president. my name is sophia, and my friends and i are students. you have met mariana.
do you remember [indiscernible] marianna acosta? i am a student over there. we are so excited to get a job in tech, but there is so many young people without our type of opportunity. so what do you recommend for more quality education or opportunity for people in latin america? president obama: the program you described is doing great work, and there is a lot of good work across latin america. one of the goals is to make sure that not only are we providing a great education for people at the younger stages, basic reading, arithmetic, all those things, but today, you also need to have some knowledge of technology. and what we are trying to do is
to work with governments and ngo's who expand access to the internet, to digital platforms, and what we also want to do then is help design curriculums and programs through the internet so that online learning is accessible in places where previously there might not be opportunities. we are seeing some of those investments here in peru. that is part of the broader educational program that we have throughout latin america, that we can still do more. it is not just us. it is a public-private partnership also. in facebook, microsoft, google, other big companies who have an interest in an educated population because the more educated and the more wired they
are, the more overtime customers are using their products and their platforms. what we want to do is to make sure that everybody, even in the smallest village, has suddenly this library to the world and the best educational opportunities, even if there is not a big university in that small town. some of the learning that we can do, it doesn't have to be four years. sometimes a six-week program could teach people coding and computers, and suddenly right away that person has a job, and then they can learn more and ultimately go and get a four-year education. but what you need is that first step. we are doing this in the united
states, by the way. it is not just in latin america. in the united states, one of the things we are finding is we need to expand computer science and literacy in the schools. we need to make sure also that we set up technical training systems where somebody who is unemployed in a city where the used to be a big factory but now the factory is closed, or because of automation and robots, fewer people are working there, those people have lost their jobs, they might not be able to afford a four-year university. give them six weeks, eight weeks or 10 weeks of training. get them in a job right now, and then overtime, they can learn even more. so congratulations, you guys are doing great work. [applause] president obama: all right. ok. so this is a team effort now.
it is good to see this cooperation. everybody is pointing at one person. this gentleman right here, right in the front. [applause] >> hello, mr. president. i am a student of this beautiful university with a gorgeous group of people. i will give context to my question. the smartest man i know is my dad. my dad was born in cuba. he went to the united states to get an opportunity. he lived all of his life there from community college to doctorate, and he managed to do a lot of things because of the open arm policy towards him. today many immigrants can make the immigration, because there is still this open arm. but now they are saying they will have a closed-door policy. in your opinion, what do you think that today, the stand of the usa is for offshore innovators for people that want
to go to harvard, m.i.t., yale, and what would be the consequences to this closed-door innovative? president obama: thank you, thank you very much. [applause] president obama: first of all, i know your father is very proud you said he is the smartest man he ever knew. i hope that my daughters would say that. [laughter] president obama: america is a nation of immigrants. those of you who visited america, if you walk in an american city, not just new york or los angeles but st. louis or indianapolis or columbus, ohio, if you walk down the street, you
see people that look like they can be from any place, because the fact is except for the native american population, everybody in america came from someplace else. all of us are immigrants, and that has been our greatest strength because we have been able to attract talent from everywhere. i use this as an example. you notice united states did really well in the olympics. some of that is because we are a big country, a wealthy country, so we have all these training facilities and we can do all kinds of equipment, all of that is true. but you know what, i mean, china is a bigger country and spent a
lot of money also. the big advantage america has if you look at our team, actually two big advantages, we have something called title ix. many years ago that requires women get the same opportunities in sports as men do, and that is why -- [applause] president obama: one of the reasons the american team did so well is the women were amazing. and because they have got opportunities, right, which teaches us something about the need to make sure women and men, boys and girls get the same opportunities, because you do better when everybody has a chance, not just someone. but the second thing when you look at the u.s. olympic team, and there are all kinds of different sorts of people of all different shapes and sizes, and part of it is because we draw from a bigger genetic pool than
anybody, right? we have the gymnasts that i like this big. simone biles came by the white house, she is a tiny it'll thing. amazing athletes. and we have michael phelps who is 6'8", and his shoulders are this big, and that is good for swimming. he couldn't do gymnastics, but he is a good swimmer. the point is, when you have all these talent from all these different places, then you actually as a team do better, and that has been the great gift of america. now, what we have to do, not just in the united states but in all countries is to find a way to have an open, smart immigration policy, but it has to be orderly and lawful. i think the part of what has
happened in the united states is that, even though the amount of illegal immigration that is happening has actually gone down while i have been president, the perception is that it has just gone up. partly this is because it used to be that immigrants primarily stayed in texas and arizona and new mexico, border places and florida, now there are immigrants in parts of the country where they didn't used to be immigrants, and it makes them concerned. who are these people, and are they taking our jobs and opportunities and so forth? my argument has been that no country can have completely open borders, because if they did, then nationality and citizenship wouldn't mean anything. and obviously if we had completely open borders, then you would have tens of millions
of people who was suddenly becoming into the united states, which by the way would necessarily be good for the countries where they leave, because in some places like in africa, you have doctors and nurses and scientists and engineers who would all try to leave, then you have a brain drain, and they are not developing their own countries. you have to have some rules, but my hope is that those rules are set up in a way that continues to invite talented young people to come in and contribute and to make a good life for themselves. that we also though have to do is to invest in countries that are sending migrants so that they can develop themselves. you mentioned tuba, for example,
where your father fled. he left partly because they didn't feel there was enough opportunity there. part of the reason i said let's reopen diplomatic relations with cuba is to see if we could encourage greater opportunity and freedom in cuba. if you have people that could leave cuba and do really well in the united states, that means they should have enough talent that they could do well by staying at home in cuba. there are enormously talented people here. if they do, i don't want the people in peru to suddenly -- [applause] president obama: i don't want you to feel as if you have to go to new york in order to be successful. you should be able to be successful right here in lima. [applause] president obama: so this is true
in the americas, it is true in europe where obviously they have been flooded, and is very controversial with migrants. some of them have been displaced from war in syria, but some are just coming for economic reasons in africa. i just meeting -- left meetings with european leaders, and if we do invest more in those african countries and encouraging greater rule of law and less corruption and more opportunity in those countries, people are less likely to want to come to germany or italy for their futures, because they can feel they can make a future where they are. but this is an example of what i was saying earlier. if we think only about very narrow terms about the borders and what is good for us and ignore what is happening everywhere else, eventually, it will have an impact on us whether we like it or not, because the world is much
smaller than it used to be, all right? ok. let's see, you got a -- [applause] president obama: all right, young lady right there, in the black, yeah. yes, you. [cheers] >> oh my god, thank you for this amazing opportunity. more than a question -- i have to introduce myself first. i am from venezuela. i just want to thank you for talking about the women's opportunity. i am the ceo of [indiscernible] it moves values for women. i have a daughter. it is a little bit hard.
you have seen support of women empowerment. you supported a candidate who was a woman, hillary. you were supported by your wife, michelle. president obama: michelle is amazing. [cheers] [applause] >> i am thrilled that you have a lot of support. some special advice for female entrepreneurs, for those who have to strike a little bit more, and should i be a mother or should i be some professional, i totally believe we can be both at the same time, but i would like to hear it from you. advice for all potential women who will become mothers, the opportunity. on behalf of all my fellows, thank you for this amazing opportunity.
there are more fellows looking because they could not come to peru, so thank you to all of the fellows watching us right now. president obama: great question. [applause] president obama: michelle probably would have more to say about this because, you know, she has gone through it as a professional woman, but let me offer a few observations. first of all, the leaders and the men in every country need to understand that the countries that are most successful are going to be the countries that give opportunities to girls and women and not just boys and men. now that -- [applause]
president obama: and if you look, if you look at which countries are doing best, most advanced, growth the fastest, it is partly because you can't have half the population uneducated, not working, out of the house, not in leadership positions and expect to be as good as a country where are hundred percent are getting a good education and having opportunities and can do amazing things starting a business or entering into politics or what have you. so this is not just a problem for girls and women. men have to also recognize this is good for you. and if you are a strong man, you should not be threatened to that women are doing well. you should be proud that women are doing well, and families where women have opportunity, that means they will bring in more income, which means the family as a whole is going to do better.
and let's be honest, sometimes that whole machismo attitude makes it harder for women to succeed, and sometimes that is coming even from those who love them. so men, those of you who end up being fathers, you have got to lift up your daughters. just telling them they are pretty is not enough. you have got to tell them they are smart and tell them they are ambitious and give them opportunity. [applause] president obama: so once you have a whole country thinking in those terms, then you need to start having policies that can support women, and the most important thing in addition to
making sure the girls from an early age are getting a good education, and that they are not being told, oh, you can only do certain things. engineering is a man's job or being a scientist, that is a man's job. no, no, girls can do everything. you cannot -- you can be a teacher if you want, wonderful profession, but sometimes women are told there are a few things they can do, nurse, teacher, as opposed to anything. once you have done that, then you have to recognize the big conflict women have in the professional world has to do with family and childbearing. for biological reasons, women have more of a burden than men do, but it is not just biology but also sociology. men's attitudes as well, i don't have to do as much. even in my marriage with michelle, i like to think of myself as a modern enlightened
man, but i will admit it, michelle did more work than i did with sasha and melia. so part of what society can do is they can help with having smart policies for childcare. one of the hardest things for professional women, particularly when their children are still small and not yet in school is, who is going to take care of my baby when i am working? how do i make sure that they are safe? making sure that governments have policies in place that help, you know, having a mother-in-law who helps is also very useful. but not everybody has the option where, you know, they have family members who are close by. that is an example of something
we have to really work on. then we have to put pressure on institutions to treat women equally when it comes to getting loans to start a business. you know, up until maybe 20 years ago in some places, in the united states even, a husband had to find a loan document with a bank even notice for his wife's business. even if the woman was the one making the money, it was her idea, her investment, she was doing all the work, because of these old stereotypes, that kind of mentality and discrimination still exists in a lot of institutions. so we have to fight against
those. women who are successful, you have to then fight for the younger women who are coming behind you and make sure that you are changing some of these attitudes. if you are high up in a bank, you have got to make sure that these policies are good for women. if you succeed in politics, if you have to help remote and encourage women who are coming behind you. so the last thing i guess i would say would be -- i know that michelle says this to our daughters. you can be a wonderful mom and having a wonderful family and have a really successful career. you may have to kind of not try to do everything all at the same time exactly. you have to time things out a little bit and have a husband who supports taking turns a little bit. so it may be that when the child is very young, you are not doing something that is as hard,
because having a really young child is already really hard, and you have to sleep sometimes. but then as the child gets older, maybe that is when -- maybe your husband is doing something that gives him more time to support that child. there will have to be finding the right balance throughout your life in order to be successful, but congratulations on the good work you are doing. [applause] president obama: i have got time for -- i only have time for two more questions i will call on that gentleman up there with the glasses. no, blue shirt. wait, wait, wait. let him ask his question.
>> hello, mr. president. it is really an honor to ask you this question. i am studying marketing. [cheers] >> and my question is about what advice will you give to peruvian students that they are starting to think different. what advice is will you give in a world where the bad is good and the good is bad? what advices would you give them to chase their dreams, make the country better, not peru, just worldwide? that would be my question. president obama: you are already
doing so well, i don't know that i can give you the perfect advice, but i will tell you what i tell my young people who work in the white house and who i meet in the united states, because i think what is true in the united states is what is true for you as well. we live in a time where you were always seeing bad news. bad news gets a lot of attention. but the truth is in so many ways, the world is better now than it was 20 years ago or 40 years ago or 100 years ago. people are healthier today, they are wealthier today, they are better educated today. the world, if you look over all, is less violent than it was. look at the 20th century. millions of people dying everywhere.
look at latin america and the wars that were taking place everywhere across the continent. so you actually are living in a time of relative peace and historic prosperity. and i say that so that you should feel optimistic about the future. you shouldn't feel pessimistic. you are always seeing bad news, but the truth is in a -- the world is in a place where the world can solve its problems and be even better 20 years from now or 50 years from now. we have to start with that hope, that optimism inside of you. if you don't feel that way, you don't bother to try to have an impact. you think, god, every politician is corrupt, all the governments are terrible.
people are greedy, people are mean, so i have just going to look out for myself, and then nothing gets better. you have to start knowing things have gotten better and can continue to get better. number two, i always tell young people, and i don't know if this translates well in spanish, but i say, worry more about what you want to do and not what you want to be. here is what i mean. i think a lot of people, they say to themselves, i want to be rich, or they say to themselves, i want to be powerful, or i want to be the president, or i want to be a ceo, or i want to be a rap star. so they say, they have this idea, but the people i know who are most successful usually they are successful because they
found something that they really care about, and they worked at it and became really good at it, and over time, because they were so good at what they did, they ended up being rich or they ended up being powerful and influential, but in the meantime, they were constantly doing what they enjoy doing and learning, and that is what made them successful. so what i would say to all of you is find something you care deeply about. if you care about poor children, then find a way right now that you can start helping. don't wait. don't say, someday when i am president of peru, i will help were children. find an organization or create
an organization that is helping poor kids learn or be exposed to new experiences. you care about the environment, don't wait. in addition to your studies, you can start having an impact right now on trying to improve your local community or trying to be involved in some of the work being done around things like climate change. the point is that once you decide what you really care about, there are ways to now get involved in pursuit of that passion. -- and pursue that passion. if you pursue that and get good at it, you will not change the world overnight. nobody does. i mean, i eventually at the age of 45 became a senator and then president of the united states, but i worked for 25 years in
poor communities and worked on issues, and hopefully i was doing some good even before i was famous for powerful so that you know, if i hadn't ended up being president, i could still look back and say i worked on the things that were important. that, i think is the most important advice i have for you. [applause] president obama: all right, let's question. it is a woman's turn. all the men, you can put your hands down. it is a woman's turn. ok, go ahead right there. right there. >> ok, first of all my name is felicia. [cheers]
>> i am a proud member of [indiscernible] >> once again, i want to welcome you to the country, and on behalf of the whole audience, i would like to thank you for the amazing opportunity. you have stepped up and accepted mistakes that you made yourself or maybe the team that you were leading and i believe that shows how you reaffirm your belief in how you want to leave the past behind. what is your advice to us that would like to leave some mistakes, learn from them and let the past be the past? thank you. [applause] president obama: well, you know, you should not ignore the past, you should learn from it. you should learn from history. and learn from experience.
the truth is that -- you know, right before i was in peru, i was in europe, and i spoke of my trip in athens. i went to the parthenon, the birthplace of democracy. you look at all these buildings from ancient greece, and you try to imagine all the things that were happening at that time and it seems very long ago, but the fact of the matter is that humanity keeps on making the same mistakes. we oftentimes find ourselves dealing with the same problems and the same issues, so studying our past and studying our
history is very, very important. but the main thing i tell you and i tell my own daughters is you can't be trapped by the past. there is a difference between understanding your past -- you need to know the history of peru. if you live in the united states, you need to know how america came about, and that includes both the amazing wonderful things but also the bad things. if you want to understand america today, you have to understand slavery and you have to understand the history of immigration, how the debates we are having today about immigration are not that different from when the irish or the italians came and people were saying, we can't have any more italians and we can't have any more irish. if you don't know that, you will not understand the patterns that we are having today.
but the point is is that we have the power to make our own history. we don't have to repeat the same mistakes. we don't have to just be confined to what has happened before or what is going on today. we can think differently and imagine differently and do things differently. but the one thing that we should remember though is that, even as we try to do things that are new, we should remember that change generally does not happen overnight. it happens over time. i say that to young people because sometimes they get impatient. in the united states, when
people say to me, why haven't you eliminated racial discrimination, but we have made a lot of progress since when i was born. if you think of hundreds of years or thousands of years, within 50 years, the changes that have taken place have been amazing. so you have to understand that, even though we can think differently, societies don't move immediately. requires hard work, and you have to persuade people. sometimes you take two steps forward and then you take one step back, and you shouldn't be discouraged when that happens. because history doesn't just move in a smooth, straight line. the good news is that we have more access to information than we have ever had with more.
with humanity, if you stay true to the values of kindness and respect and reason and trying to live together in peace, the world will keep getting better, and i will be looking forward to all the amazing things that you do in the years to calm. ok, thank you very much, everybody. thank you. [applause] president obama: thank you. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪ [lyrics in spanish] ♪
>> next, live, your calls and comments on washington journal. and the newsmakers with washington congressman adam smith, ranking smith of the arms services can -- committee. and after that, daniel carrillo discusses the economy and financial regulation. always been a great admirer of america and a student
of american history, particularly the history of its african descended people. >> tonight on q&a, and author talks about his memoir "never look at an american in the eye." formed this impression from watching cinema, westerns specifically where the cowboys would gather together in a bar and exchange a few words and we never understood what they were saying but then they would tear each other down and start shooting. my uncle formed an impression that that is what americans would do to you, shoot you, if you looked at them in the eye. >> tonight, at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's q&a. >> this morning, the president of the alliance for justice and the representative from the judicial crisis network discusses the future of the supreme court. and later, a representative from
the atlantic council talks about transatlantic relations, and the future of nato. as a wii, we will take your calls and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. washington journal is next. host: good morning. president obama is in peru today for the closing session of the a-10 conference. it is his final foreign visit as president before leaving the white house on january 20. he returns early tomorrow morning. and then on tuesday, the president will issue the medal of freedom awards to the nation's highest civilian honors to 21 individuals, including bill and melinda gates, actor robert redford, actress sicily tyson, singer diana ross, and veteran sportscaster villanova scully. it is sunday, november 20, and we begin this morning with the intersection of broadwa