Prince Harry Is Interviewing Barack Obama About the Future for the BBC
Here are five topics they could discuss.
On Dec. 27, two stars will align. One is former US President Barack Obama. The other: Prince Harry of Wales.
The hype surrounding their interview is warranted. Both individuals are prominent public figures who are leading the way on global issues through their respective foundations, the Obama Foundation and the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
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A teaser video released Sunday shows chummy banter between the two leaders, with Obama asking Harry if he should speak in a British accent and Harry warning Obama not to pause too much while talking. But the teaser also begs the question: which serious topics will the two discuss when the full interview is released in a week and a half?
Teen Vogue reports that topics of discussion will include the work of Obama’s foundation, as well as his memories of his final days in office. The Obama Foundation’s mission is to “equip civic innovators, young leaders, and everyday citizens with the skills and tools they need to create change in their communities.”
Likewise, Global Citizen is a movement that empowers individuals to take action in their communities to help end extreme poverty and achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. You can join us in taking action here.
Here are five other global topics the two could do well to discuss:
When it comes to the fight against HIV/AIDS, which affects more than 35 million people around the world, Obama and Prince Harry are on the same team. Obama, for his part, was the first US president to introduce a comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which he did in 2010. Similarly, Prince Harry has worked to reduce the stigma surrounding the disease — one of the best ways to improve health outcomes for people who suffer from it. In December of last year, Harry joined forces with singer and Global Citizen Rihanna to get HIV tests while they were both in Barbados on World AIDS Day.
As both leaders have shown in the past, speaking about the disease is a critical first step toward eradicating it. Let’s hope they take a moment to acknowledge the importance of continuing to fight for an AIDS-free generation.
2/ Environmental protection
Much of the news coming out of the environmental sphere in the past year has not been promising. In the US, efforts to deregulate environmental policies, shrink national monuments, and ditch the Paris Agreement threaten to further distance the world from achieving the thirteenth Global Goal for Sustainable Development: climate action. In the UK, the ‘Brexit’ has many worrying that the country may fall short of the European Union’s ambitious climate directives, which it had previously adhered to.
Will Obama and Harry discuss the need for sustained environmental action in both countries?
3/ Encouraging young boys of color
Harry’s Royal Foundation has worked with kids in poor communities in Nottingham to decrease gang violence and marginalization. The Obama foundation is doing similar work in poor communities in Chicago through the My Brother’s Keeper program.
What lessons have the two leaders learned through working with these populations? How can youth violence be reduced in poor, predominantly black and brown communities?
4/ Mental Health
Mental health is a topic that both Barack Obama and Prince Harry have worked tirelessly to bring awareness to. In 2016, as a “lame duck” president, Obama passed the “21st Century Cures Act,” which removed barriers to access for mental health care.
Prince Harry’s foundation also advocates for mental health services through the Heads Together initiative. Can Obama and Harry spearhead national discussions on mental health in their respective countries?
5/ Youth leadership
The youth are the future. If there’s one topic that most unites the two leaders it’s a deep-seated belief in the promise of future generations to create lasting, sustainable change.
Obama’s foundation calls itself an “experiment in citizenship for the 21st century.” The Royal Foundation endeavors to “create lasting change in targeted areas and geographies.” Both foundations do this by engaging and inspiring youth around the world.
While the populations and the methods they use to serve these populations differ, their missions align in always being forward-looking. Their interview on Dec. 27 offers the first of what could be many opportunities for collaboration on these issues and more.